Although no records exist documenting the actual founding of the beautiful city of Venice, tradition pinpoints the moment to exactly 12 noon on March 25th, 421 AD. Or to put it another way, the moment that the first church of Venice, the Church of San Giacomo, was dedicated on the tiny islet of Rialto.
In truth, refugees fleeing from the Germans and Huns had been living on the lagoon islands for years before this point, making a living as fishermen or harvesting salt to trade. But Venetians celebrate the date as the birth day of Venice, a day known locally as the Natale di Venezia. (Note : Natale also means Christmas in Italian.)
The date also coincides with the annunciation of the Virgin Mary. This is the celebration of the moment that, nine months before Christmas, the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus. It is described in the gospel of Luke in the Christian Bible and in the Qur’an with Muslim tradition marking the annunciation during the month of Ramadan.
For many cities, such as Florence and Pisa, the date is also celebrated as New Year with flag bearers, traditional costumes and historic processions.
So it’s been a busy old week really, with the birth of Venice and the new year starting in Pisa and Florence. I just wonder where Venice would have found a cake big enough for all the candles! Belated happy 1594th birthday Venezia! Bon Nadal a tuti i Veneti!