22 April 2016
In Italy we all celebrate the 25th April as the day of the liberation from fascism. But for Venice and Venetians this date has a much older tradition: it is in fact the day when we celebrate St. Mark, the patron saint of the city… and the one we love most!
During the 9th Century, the relics of St. Mark were stolen from Alexandria in Egypt the 25 April and transported to Venice. From that moment on San Marco became the patron and emblem of the city in the shape of a winged lion.
But we have to remember that Venice is a real romantic city, so everything linked to this magic island becomes romantic. It’s a very ancient tradition that every 25 April men have to give a red rose to the woman they love, to express their feelings. The meaning of this gesture come from an old legend, similar to the one of Romeo and Juliet. Long time ago in Venice, the daughter of the doge, Maria, was in love of a young man of humble origins, Tancredi. The Doge did not approve the relationship, so the girl advised her beloved to go to battle against the Turks, hiding his condition with military glory. The young man stood out bravely to war, but he was mortally wounded, and he died on a rose garden. His friend Orlando brought to Maria a rose spotted with Tancredi blood, as a last sign of love. On April 25, the day after receiving the rose, Maria was found dead in her bed with the rose on her chest. Since then, the same tribute is repeated by the Venetians because each of them can show their love.
So also during religious celebrations Venetian can find some time for romance: do you need other explanations to decide that this is the real city of love?