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The clockmakers of Clock Tower – A marvel of 15th-century engineering

The Rainieri were a famous family of watchmakers from Reggio Emilia. When in 1493 the Venetian Seignory decided to replace the old hammerhead clock in the north-west corner of the Marcian basilica, the Rainieri set to work, building a masterpiece of technique and engineering still working. It is said that, as a reward for his excellent work, he had been ordered to blind his father and son Rainieri so that they would never be able to replicate the work elsewhere.

The columns of the Doge’s Palace

The two pink columns of the Doge’s Palace and the false hope of the fourth column.
Looking at the columns of the first loggia of the Doge’s Palace, you can easily identify two of different colors where tradition has it that the capital remains were read. It is said, however, that one last hope was offered to the condemned: on the side of the building that overlooks the laguna there is still a column (the fourth starting from the corner) that appears slightly out of alignment with the others. Anyone who could walk around the column without falling off the base could have obtained grace. It seems easy, but even resting your back on the column and trying to crawl on its circumference, there is always a critical point where you lose your balance. Try it to believe it!

The Courties in Venice: Women free (a modern story)

To be a courtesan in the 16th century in Venice meant avoiding the alternative of marrying or going to the nun: at that time both could be two cages!
It was not the Venice of the eighteenth century, libertine and devoid of inhibitions. The city of two centuries before, however, had a double morality and women of good reputation were virtually segregated. A husband’s girl went out of the house to go to mass. She came out veiled so that you could not see her face and accompanied by males at home (does she remind you of something? Does she not remind you of current themes?). And even when they’re married, “the gentlemen plug their women into their homes like chickens in the bush,” wrote Croyat. So don’t be fooled if you see the paintings of that time with women showing dizzying necklines, that was just fashion. But, apart from the family customs, the Venice of the Serenissima was a Republic with wide views and did not hinder the courtesans, on the contrary.
To be a courtesan meant first of all to be able to dispose freely of oneself, one’s body and one’s time, to read and study, all things that were denied even to the highest ranking ladies. The Venetian women’s universe was divided into two parts: on the one hand, the women closed in the house or monastery, and on the other, those who had visibility and a greater dose of freedom, namely the courtesans. The wealthy men loved to be with the courtesans, not only for their amatory qualities but also because the courtesans, who were educated women, knew more languages and played musical instruments were therefore a pleasant company… but this is another story that I will tell you at the next post 😉. I don’t know you, but the courtesans are really nice to me!!

The Bridge of Fists

The name of the Bridge of Fists is linked to an ancient tradition of Venice, the Fist War. The inhabitants of two opposing factions, the Castellani of S. Pietro di Castello and the Nicolotti of S. Nicoló dei Mendicoli, clashed “punches” on the upper part of the bridge. Until the 18th century the bridges had no parapets, so the aim of the fight was to throw the opponent into the canal.
The team who managed to keep his men on the bridge won. The authorities did not oppose the battle, on the contrary. About 300 challengers from each faction gathered at the foot of the bridge to fight with sticks but especially fists! The curious were many and they looked out the windows or watched from boats.

The Feast of Sensa – The Marriage of Venice to the Sea

The Feast of Sensa

The Feast of the Sensa has ancient origins. It was established around the year 1000 to commemorate the conquest of Dalmatia by Doge Pietro Orseolo II and was chosen the day of the Ascension (called “Sensa”) being the same in which the Doge left with his expedition. The festival represents the Marriage of Venice to the Sea and symbolized the maritime domination of Venice, which on this occasion also freed the Adriatic Sea from piracy. It was decided that every year, on the day of the Sensa, the Doge and the Patriarch would bless the water off the Port of Lido and from 1177 the traditional ceremony began in which the Bucintoro, the representative ship, the Doge, accompanied by ambassadors, clergy, heads of the Council of Ten and other authorities, let a golden ring fall into the water and made the sea marry in Venice “as a sign of eternal domination”. The ceremony was wonderful, surrounded by boats of all types and sizes prepared for the occasion. After the ceremony followed shows, acrobats, storytellers throughout Venice.
The city’s bond with the sea is still alive today. The life of the city itself is regulated by tides and canals are the living arteries of this unique city!

St Mark – 25 April

The century-old tradition of Venice that on 25 April, on the day dedicated to St Mark, girlfriends and wives will be offered a rose bud (in Veneto bócoło) of red rose, as a sign of love.
The custom was born from the legend of Maria, daughter of the Doge Angelo Partecipazio, who fell in love with the young Tancredi. The feelings of the two young men were opposed by Mary’s father, who would not allow such a marriage. Mary then asked Tancredi to go and fight against the Arabs in Spain with Charlemagne’s army, to gain fame: his father could no longer oppose their love. Tancredi left and covered himself with glory in war. One sad day some French knights arrived in Venice, who had been led by the paladin Orlando. The knights looked for Mary to announce the death of Tancredi: struck by the enemy, he had fallen bleeding over a rose bush. Before he spired, he had picked a flower and asked his friend Orlando to take it to Venice to his beloved Maria. Mary took the pink still tinted with the blood of her Tancredi. The next day, St Mark’s Day, she was found dead with the bloody flower on her heart.