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 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!
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.