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     Events Traditions

The most deeply felt  Venetian traditions, loved by both Venetians and  foreign Guests. In Venice there are manifestations which take place every year.  


They are amongst the most suggestive Venetian traditions.  We will let you participate in the emotion that each Venetian feels on that particular day.


Up and Down the Bridges is one of the many traditional manifestations; it takes place at the end of March or the beginning of April.  It is a non-competitive hike and anyone who wants to spend a day in the open air walking through the squares and streets of Venice can take part.  Numerous Venetians participate as well as groups from all over Italy and abroad.  It is open to all, young and old alike, families and children.  There are 2 itineraries (long or short) which start from Ponte della Paglia and wind along narrow street, canal banks, through squares and cross almost all the districts ‘Sestieri’ including Arsenale, up to the arrival point in St. Mark’s Square.


25th April, St. Mark’s Day is the festival of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice.  It was the date of the death of St. Mark and still today it is celebrated with a procession which includes the religious and civil Authorities of the town.  It is also the  ‘Festa del Bocolo’ when a long-stemmed red rose is given to your loved-one. 


The Festa della Sensa is in May and takes place on Ascension Day, it is one of the most ancient Venetian traditions when the marriage between Venice and the Sea is celebrated in memory of two important victories of the Venetian naval fleet.  The Mayor and the Patriarch, aboard the ‘Dogaressa’  the Doge’s boat, surrounded by many other boats with participants in historic costume, and innumerous rowing boats, throws a ring into the sea to symbolize the marrige between Venice and the Sea.  The millenarian history of Venice, of the Most Serene Republic, comes to life again with the privileged relationship with the sea, and you can see experts of Voga alla Veneta, rowing across the Lagoon. 


 The Vogalonga is one of the most important rowing manifestations; it takes place in spring, May or June, and started in 1974 when a group of enthusiastic Venetian rowers wanted to revive the rowing traditions of the Most Serene Republic.  The itinerary is always the same: 30 kilometres along the canals, around the picturesque islands, across the north lagoon, returning to Venice passing through Cannaregio up to Punta della Dogana.  From the early morning, the participating rowing boats begin to gather – each year more numerous, more than 1500 – in St. Mark’s Bay in front of The Doge’s Palace and set off at 9am with a canon shot. 


The Palio  delle Repubbliche Marinare is an annual competition among the four ancient Marine Republics – Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice.  In turn they organise the manifestation to celebrate the Golden Period of the Republics whose fleets dominated the Mediterranean Sea in the Middle Ages. Each year the competition takes place in the sea in front of the host city and is preceded by a spectacular procession through the town centre with flags, trumpets and drums when each ‘republic’ re-evocates the most important events connected to its naval history. 


Venezia Suona is a musical manifestation created in 1999 by the Venetian musician and composer Gianantonio De Vincenzo. Each year it transforms Venice into a huge, most suggestive, open air stage  where you can discover and listen to music played along the canals and in the squares.  It is a unique musical event, free for everyone, Venetians and tourists, which involves all the spaces in the city, changing the historic centre into an open air theatre where hundreds of groups and musicians from all over the world celebrate music in all its various forms, from rock to funky, from jazz to ethnic rhythms, from blues to classical. 


 The Festa del Redentore is among the most important events in Venice which attracts both Venetians and tourists thanks to the imposing firework display during the night of the third Saturday in July. From dusk, hundreds of boats of all sizes, decorated with illuminated lanterns and garlands of flowers gather in St. Mark’s Bay and in the Giudecca canal.  On board,  a special picnic supper of traditional Venetian dishes is consumed in a party spirit in the company of friends waiting for the massive pyrotechnic  display to begin at 11.30pm which lasts until midnight or beyond.  The boats fix an appointment on the beach at the Lido to await the dawn.  The following day there is a gondola regatta. 


INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL The international film festival in Venice takes place at the end of summer each year between August and September on the Lido of Venice in the historic Palazzo del Cinema situated on the Lungomare Marconi.  The first edition of the show in 1932 was created by the then President of the Biennale, Count Giuseppe Volpi


The historic regatta is still today one of the most spectacular traditional events in Venice able to involve and enthuse both Venetians and tourists who watch as if enchanted.  The historic procession of typical boats from the ‘500s. led by the characteristic  ‘Dogaressa’ (the State Galleon of the Doges of Venice), also involved in the Ascension Festival to celebrate the marriage of Venice to the sea, glides along the Grand Canal re-evoking the welcome reserved for Caterina Cornaro in 1489, Queen of Cyprus, who renounced the throne in favour of Venice.  Many different types of boats take part in the historic procession: gondolino, caorlina, mascareta, pupparin and, naturally, the gondola, the symbol of Venice. The first Sunday of September the procession is repeated followed by races among different types of boats which start at Sant’Elena, pass along the Grand Canal, down to the Santa Lucia railway station.  The prizes are awarded on a huge, decorated float, called ‘La Macchina’ in front of the university Ca’Foscari.


21st. November is a religious event for the city – La Madonna della Salute.  It is a thanks-giving pilgrimage to the cathedral La Madonna della Salute. A temporary wooden bridge on boats is erected across the Grand Canal   connecting Punta della Dogana with Santa Maria del Giglio. The origin of the event was the end of the  bubonic plague, the Black Death, which affected the whole of the north of Italy between 1630 and 1631, the same epidemic described by Alessandro Manzoni in ‘I Promessi Sposi’. 


 The Biennale d’Arte, an international contemporary art exhibition in Venice is among the oldest, the most important and prestigious exhibitions in the world. It originated in 1895 as a cultural society with the organisation  of the first Biennale Art Exhibition in the world, aiming to stimulate artistic activity and the art market in Venice and in the unified Italian State.  It still aims to promote new artistic trends and organises international manifestations of contemporary art.  In June. 


 The Architecture Biennale started in 1893 on the wish of the municipal administration of Venice guided by the Mayor, Riccardo Selvatico.  The Town Council Meeting of 19th. April 1894 instituted the national artistic biennale, to be inaugurated on 22nd. April 1894.  This year, 2014, it was opened on 6th. June.   The Biennale d’Arte and the Biennale d’Architettura are held on alternate years.


Ph.Carla Carletto

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