Festa di San Marco – 25 Aprile

On 25 April, Venice celebrates the feast of its Patron-Saint, La Festa di San Marco. Today, you will notice many people carrying red roses called EL BOCCOLÒ, and lots of Venetian flags, especially in the afternoon on Piazza San Marco. And in many restaurants, you can taste the traditional dish risi e bisi (garden pea risotto) which comes in two variations (one dish is colored green by adding pea pods – a variant preferred by the Doge of Venice in the past). 

But then, Venice today doesn’t “just” celebrate roses and spring food but its inventors, merchants, artisans, and artists, contemporary and of the past. So here’s what you can expect to see in Venice on 25 April.

Here’s a video of a special performance which took place in 2014, and which is repeated on 25 April 2023.

Una Rosa per Venezia Performance, 25 April 2014

Perhaps you remember that special day: On 25 April 2014, Venetians & friends met at noon in Piazza San Marco to create a giant “human rosebud”, Una Rosa per Venezia – A Rose for Venice, organized by VENEZIA RIVELATA. And today just after noon, this extraordinary performance was repeated, despite the rain and sun coming out later. Here’s a link for you to see it.

Above you can see Palazzo Fortuny (Pesaro Orfei) as it was a few days ago: It’s the stage of a new book featuring Mariano Fortuny, polymath, artist, inventor and designer: He was born in Granada but moved to Venice in 1889, where he opened his atelier at Palazzo Pesaro Orfei on the small Campo San Beneto (San Marco district), just a few steps from Campo Manin. And right now, palazzo Fortuny (now Museo Fortuny) is wrapped in wisteria blossoms!

There’s more of those Venetian colors, shades, patterns, stories of faraway discoveries, and light in the book: Fortuny: Time, Space, Light, in which author Wendy Ligon Smith tells us about Fortuny’s Venetian atelier, designs, and paintings. It also includes archival discoveries never mentioned before, like unseen artworks and unpublished writings.

Discover the book in an interview that JoAnn Locktov published in the Venetian magazine YTALI:

Fortuny. Time, Space, Light. Book published in September 2022 by Wendy Ligon Smith. Read the interview with the author conducted by JoAnn Locktov on the Venetian magazine YTALI here in Italian, and here in English.

Photo of the month

Dedicated to all who love fragrant purple wisteria, called GLICINE in Venice, is a very fine example at Palazzo Contarini Corfù overlooking Rio San Trovaso.

Stand next to the Pensione Accademia on the opposite bank of the canal, and you’ll get the best view of it!

Oggi Venezia festeggia il suo Patrono, San Marco. Questo dipinto, eseguito da Gentile Bellini nel 1496, raffigura la processione che si svolse in Piazza San Marco il 25 aprile 1444.

A Glimpse Back in Time: Venice celebrating La Festa di San Marco on 25 April 1444. Painting by Gentile Bellini.

Accademia – Procession in piazza San Marco by Gentile Bellini

More impressions of the day

Purple wisteria on Riva Sette Martiri next to the Serra dei Giardini garden cafe. White wisteria at the Giardinetti Reali next to Piazza San Marco. 

Did you know that Venetians also used wisteria blossoms to flavor cakes, creams, pudding, and even gelato? It was a common flavor in the 1950s and 1960s here in Venice and on the Lido. One example is the wisteria blossom pudding you can see in the festive menu for the day below.

Menu 25 April

Starter: Elderflower – rose cordial
Flavored with lemon and a secret spice mix

Buddino ai fiori di glicine
Wisteria blossom-infused pudding

Asparagi verdi con fragole
Green asparagus with strawberries, tarragon and egg-saffron-cream salsa flavored with a spring spice mix

Liquore alle rose e baicoli profumati di rose
A special sweet treat consisting of rose liqueur and the classic Venetian baicoli cookies flavored with rose water, and a spice mix.

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