SAINT MARK’S DAY 25th April 2019

On April 25th Venice celebrates Saint Mark’s Day, the patron saint of the city.

It is a feast  particularly appreciated by Venetians people and characterized by a very beautiful and ancient custom: this day coincides with the so-called Rosebud Festival (Festa del Bòcolo), on the occasion, men traditionally give a single red rosebud (bòcolo in Venetian dialect) to their beloved as a symbol of their endless love.


Saint Mark’s relics

Saint Mark became the city’s saint patron after the arrival in Venice in 828 AD of his relics, that were adventurously stolen from Alexandria. Initially, the relics were placed inside the Doge’s Palace, waiting for the construction of the new basilica. In 1063, the Doge Domenico Contarini commissioned the construction of the current Saint Mark’s Basilica to host the Evangelist’s remains. The relics were placed inside the crypt until 1811, when were definitely moved under the high altar. Since then, the crypt has been used only as a burial place for the Patriarchs of Venice.


Saint Mark’s Bell Tower

Saint Mark’s Day had also an important connection with the history of Saint Mark’s bell tower, called by Venetians the paron de casa (the “house owner”). The foundation of the 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall Saint Mark’s bell tower, began in the 12th century. Almost a thousand years later, on 14 July 1902, the tower collapsed ruinously. The reconstruction started on 25 April 1903, with the laying of the first stone, and the day of Saint Mark of 1912 it was officially inaugurated.


Venice’s gardens

If you are in Venice on these days, don’t miss to visit one of the five hundred gardens. In spring, the rose, the undisputed sovereign of Venetian gardens, offers to the visitors romantic blooms and picturesque views. To find out more, take a look at this article by the writer Mariagrazia Dammicco or choose one of the many qualified tourist guides that will be able to reveal you the legends and secrets of this thousand-year-old city.


From: “DeTourism”


The Venice Lagoon reveals, to those who want to look for them, the most incredible places, that for centuries have witnessed some of the most significant events in the history of the Serenissima. That is the case of the Lazaretti: two small islands where ships, with all their crew members and cargoes suspected of being infected with the plague, were detained before entering the city. In the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo (New), in the Northern Lagoon, people spent forty days in isolation (here is where the term quarantine was born) for a preventive purpose; in the Southern Lagoon, the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio (Old) was a real place of detention for those found to have plague. After the XVII century their aim was changed to military use during French and Austrian domination. Since the 1970’s they’ve been mostly abandoned. Now, thanks to various Venetian associations, the islands are open to the public again.


The island of Lazzaretto Vecchio

The lazaretto on the island of Santa Maria di Nazareth, near the Lido, was established by the Venetian Republic in 1423 as the first permanent plague hospital in the world. It seems that the term lazaretto, later adopted to indicate a hospital for patients infected with infectious disease, derives from the corruption of Nazaretum, the ancient name of the island. From April to October extraordinary public openings are organized on Sundays. Next special openings of the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio will take place on April 14th and May 12th. After the summer, the island opens to the public on Sunday 22 September and Sunday 6 October, reservations open in June. All the tours are in Italian. If you need another language, make sure to ask for it.


The island of Lazzaretto Nuovo

Every weekend until October 27 the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo can be visited with a two-hour guided tour. The tour includes a historical-archaeological path inside the perimeter walls and a nature walk, the trail of the saltmarshes, inaugurated just a week ago. It is an itinerary that allows you to observe the most precious lagoon environment, the saltmarshes, vegetated mud flats that are submerged by the very highest tides, today at risk of disappearing. The trail, about a kilometre, follows the old route of the sentinels, and climbs onto the nineteenth-century bastions, giving great views of the whole panorama of the lagoon.


Art exhibitions, events, dance and theatre: if you are interested in arts & culture, there’s no shortage of things to do in Mestre!

  • M9, the museum of the 20th century, aims to take visitors on an interactive journey through the Italian history of the last century. Every Sunday morning at 11.30 the museum offers guided tours both for the permanent and for the temporary exhibition The Italy of Photographers. 24 Artists’ Tales. Advance booking not required; the guided tours cost €5 per person in addition to the entrance fee.
  • The photography exhibition Turbulent America, at display until May 30th 2019 at the Candiani Cultural Centre, presents three decades of work by photojournalist Jean-Pierre Laffont covering American culture and history from the 1960s to the 1980s. He arrived in New York in 1965 and for more than three decades, he travelled through the country, from Manhattan to the Central states, trying to capture the spirit of the times.
  • The Toniolo Theatre on April 16th at 9 pm hosts the highly-anticipated CARMEN.maquia, the closing event of the International dance festival. The performance, presented by the Valencian company Titoyaya Dansa, is a contemporary, Picasso-inspired reinterpretation of the classic Bizet opera, Carmen. The choreography fuses contemporary dance with Spanish paso doble and flamenco.


On March 29 the Venice Ghetto turns 503! It is perhaps not generally known that it is one of the world’s oldest Jewish ghettos, and that the word “ghetto” derives its origin from the Venetian word “geto”, meaning foundry, as in ancient time, the area had been used as a foundry. Today the Ghetto, with its five synagogues, the Jewish Museum and the very tall houses, is a lively and popular district of the city, in the Cannaregio area. There is also a nursery school, an old people’s home, a visitors’ hostel, two restaurants and a baker where you can buy and eat Kosher.

For almost three centuries, from 1516 to 1797, Venice’s ghetto was an enclosed area of the city, and Jews were not permitted to live outside its confines. Strong gates sealed the two entrances to the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, and every evening the inhabitants had to go back inside and remain there until morning.

With the fall of the Republic and the rise of Napoleon, discrimination against the Jews was outlawed. The gates of the ghetto were removed, along with the obligation to live within the area.

Today the ghetto is reached by three bridges, but in the past there were only two: the bridge leading to the Rio della Misericordia did not exist. On the stone posts of the portico leading to the Old Ghetto, one can still see the marks made by the hinges of the gates which were closed at sunset.

In 1938, with the introduction of the fascist race laws, Jews were stripped of their civil rights and thus began the Nazi-fascist persecution which led to the deportation of 246 Venetian Jews; of these, only eight returned from the extermination camps.


Venice has a history spanning almost 16 centuries: in fact the foundation of the Serenissima’s city is traced back to the legendary laying of the first stone of the San Giacomo of Rialto church, San Giacometo, as the Venetians still call it today. We are, according to tradition, in 421, on 25th March (in reality the church was almost certainly built after the year one thousand). This symbolic date is now in use to indicate the birth of the lagoon city. Precisely, on 25th March, the date of the Annunciation of Mary, that is the same of the Incarnation of the Lord: a circumstance that seems (indeed, is) made on purpose to justify the fact that in Venice March was the first month of the year. Until the fall of the Republic, that is until 1797, Venice had been celebrating the New Year at the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

This year, on 25th March, Venice celebrates 1598 years! Over the centuries, the city of St. Mark has become the jewel we can all admire. Even today, you cannot miss out the chance of getting lost in Venice, discovering its hidden treasures, visiting palaces, gardens, churches and museums less known and far from the most popular routes, exploring the historic City, the lagoon and the mainland to discover local cuisine, crafts, unique natural landscapes.
No doubt we are all called to adopt a few simple behaviors to ensure that our trip to Venice is as much as possible in harmony with the daily life of those who live there, and respect the beauty and uniqueness of the priceless heritage of the city, site protected by UNESCO.