Relive the myth of the 1600 years of Venice with

16_Mar_2021Destinations, Local Nodes

According to an ancient tradition, Venice was founded on March 25, 421. History or legend, the lagoon city is preparing to celebrate its birthday with a year-long calendar of events: one more reason to plan your next visit to Venice and be enchanted by its timeless charm.

March 25, 2021 is a special date: according to what is reported in the thirteenth century manuscript Chronicon Altinate and taken up in the sixteenth century by Marin Sanudo’s diaries, it is 1600 years of Venice, worldwide known as the “Serenissima”. Sixteen centuries of history that saw the lagoon city assert itself in the Middle Ages as a seafaring power and become a meeting point between East and West, between cultures, traditions and languages, receiving as a legacy an immense artistic and architectural treasure. A heritage well represented in the logo of the event, which reproduces the winged lion of San Marco, the domes of the Basilica of San Marco and the quadrilobes of the Doge’s Palace.

1600 years of Venice 1600 anni di Venezia

The celebrations for the 1600 years of Venice are underway

For the anniversary of the founding of Venice, local institutions and associations are preparing a program of events that will revive the republican, naval and commercial history of the city for 12 months. The 1600 years of Venice, however, will also be celebrated in all those cities of land and sea that have a historical and cultural link with Venice and that have contributed to its greatness. The organizers have already received over 135 proposals, from Italy as well as from other European countries and the Mediterranean.

Wherever we are, we will thus have the opportunity to take advantage of various multimedia productions dedicated to the 1600 years of Venice, while in many places we will be able to attend historical re-enactments, shows, exhibitions and conferences, and participate in dozens of thematic itineraries. However, the heart of the celebrations will remain Venice, and the occasion is great to (re) experience the splendor of the Serenissima.

1600 years of Venice Tiepolo Venice Neptune

Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista – Neptune offering gifts to Venice

A woman, perhaps, the first Venetian?

The celebrations for the 1600 years of Venice will therefore be an opportunity to learn more about the history of the scenographic architectures that surround Piazza San Marco, of the enchanting Renaissance palaces overlooking the canals that cross its islands, of the works of art kept in the prestigious galleries with which is studded.

The story of the origins of the city is full of legends and myths, born from the desire to emphasize the absolute autonomy and independence of Venice from the Empire and the Papacy. As the historian Tiziana Plebani recalls, in the chronicles of the thirteenth century the foundation is traced back to Aeneas and the fugitives from Troy, but sometimes even to Antenore, in an attempt to wrest its founding myth and reason for citizen pride from nearby Padua.

Another legend about the 1600 years of Venice sees Queen Adriana, wife of the king of Padua Gilius as the protagonist. The king, recognized in the bloodthirsty Attila as the identity of his opponent in a game of chess, asked the queen to go to the sea to save herself with their children and treasures. Arriving in the lagoon, uninhabited at that time, the woman sighted a strip of more consolidated and less marshy land, that is the one on which the Sestiere Dorsoduro stands today: here she built not only huts of wood and straw, but also a church dedicated to the angel Raphael.

1600 anni di Venezia

Guardi, Francesco – The Departure of Bucentaur for the Lido on Ascension Day

1600 years of Venice, a “Serenissima” city because it is free

From these and other founding myths, as the historian Cesare Peris points out, the Venetians gained the freedom of not being subjected to anyone, neither the Pope nor the emperor, since the city existed long before. The strength that allows Venice to resist the other powers and remain independent, however, derives from the cohesion of its ruling class. From childhood, the nobles were educated to spend their lives in the service of the Republic, and it was a very long formation: they came to power only when they were elderly, so much so that the heads of the Councils of 10 even reached 80 years.

The project and political thought in Venice are focused on equality and the preservation of personal freedom. The law applied to everyone, including nobles, from the last of the citizens to the Doge, who was at the service of the Republic.

The Republic was called the Serenissima not because it was thoughtless, but because the nobles all had, at least on paper, the possibility of becoming Doge. More than a personal privilege to be relied on for future memory, that of the Doges was a service, so much so that the effigies and monuments dedicated to them are rare.

Freedom was also in the relations, which were of a federal rather than a state type, with the other cities of land and sea included in the Republic: the cities and territories that gave themselves up as dedication, such as Padua, Treviso and Crema, self-administered in the first level and resorted to the jurisdiction of Venice only at a higher level.


Listen to the interview (in Italian) on the 1600 years of Venice with Cesare Peris, member of and promoter of the Squeri San Isepo project.

With Venice is even more alive and beautiful

The celebrations for the 1600 years of Venice will give us the opportunity not only to learn more about the history of the city, perhaps toasting with a spritz, but also to help residents to continue living it and keep it shining. By booking a stay on, in fact, we can support the activities of the Masegni & Nizioleti Association, which has been involved for years in carrying out targeted cleaning of buildings and monuments.

Alternatively, the platform fees can be allocated to the financing of the Squeri San Isepo project, which aims to give new life to a squero, i.e. one of the traditional Venetian shipyards, to restore it to its original form and make it operational with the creation of the Center for the enhancement of ancient Venetian water crafts.

The tradition of the squeri is as old as the 1600 years of Venice, this city being inextricably linked to water and therefore to boats. As the Venetians have been saying for centuries, “barca xe casa”: the boat is home.

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