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San Marco in Venice

Being in Venice on April 25th means enjoying the city while it celebrates its patron saint. There’s many religious ceremonies and local traditions: the more celebrated is the Bocolo, the bud of a red rose that men give to women on the day of St. Mark the Evangelist.

 The Basilica that overlooks San Marco Square is dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist. The relics of the saint have been here, in this wonderful building, ever since they were brought to Venice form Alexandria (Egypt) in  the 9th century. According to legend they were transported by two Venetian merchants, who hid the saint’s body among goods that were considered impure. Their endeavor is portrayed in a wonderful painting by Tintoretto at the Gallerie dell’Accademia (the galleries of the art academy). Every 25th of April a solemn procession, with the Patriarch and the civil authorities, pays homage to Saint Mark the Evangelist, whose image in the form of a winged lion holding a book in its paws is to this day the symbol of the city.

 On April 25th in Venice, the tradition is for the men to give the women the bud of a red rose. This ancient rite has its roots in the love story between Vulcania, the daughter of the Doge Partecipazio, and Tancredi, a young man of humble birth. They were in love, but that love was hindered because of their different social status. Thus Tancredi enlisted in the army to show his worth to Vulcania’s father. He was however deadly wounded and never saw his beloved Vulcania again, only managing to have his squire bring her the bud of a rose. The girl received the flower of April 25th, and was found dead the next day with the rosebud in her hands.