Follow by Email

Sunday, February 19, 2017

From a Turkish acrobat to an Angel: a Venice tradition

Coriandoli e stelle filanti “confetti and streamers” launched in the air by children and adults, plenty of events and masqueraded balls everyday: Carnevale, the iconic celebration that defined Venice for centuries, that started last week is still unfolding.

My beautiful hometown, the city of love with the streets of water is during this week filled by thousands of people walking around Venice wearing beautiful handcrafted masks and costumes posing for the joy of the photographers and of the thousands of tourists gathering from all over the world to experience this magical and joyful event.

Tomorrow there will be one of my favorite events “Il Volo Dell’Angelo” the “Flight of The Angel. The Event was originally held on Shove Thursday, Giovedi Grasso, but it is now held on the weekend before and marks the beginning of the carnival.

Would you like to know what it is?

The flight of the Angel 2016 
It is a traditional event that goes back to the time of the Serenissima, in the 16th century.
During an event in honor of the Doge, a Turkish acrobat did something that stupefied the Venetians: with the only aid of a pole he walked on a rope from a boat tied in Riva degli Schiavoni to the top of St. Mark’s Tower and then from the Tower to the Doge’s Palace balcony.
It was the beginning of a tradition that has been held every year with various changes. First it was made only by professional acrobats and later by common people that wanted to show their ability and bravery.

The exhibition’s name changed from “Flight of the Turk” in “The Flight of the Angel” when for the first time an acrobat dressed with angel wings tied to a rope was let down the tower where at the end of the descent the doge himself gave the “angel impersonator” a gift.

Irene Rizzi, the 2016 Angel 
The event changed its name again into “Volo della Colombina” (“The Flight of the dove”) in 1759. In that year the acrobat dressed as the angel fell down over the horrified crowd. Since then a wooden dove substituted the men.
After the fall of the Republic, 1797, the event was banned (as many other traditions) until recent years.

Irene Rizzi the 2016 Angel 
Starting from 2001 “The flight of the Dove” become again “The Flight of the Angel” with the reintroduction of a real person instead of the wooden dove, staging the old ritual of the homage to the Doge. This announced the beginning of the Carnival of Venice with a triumph of confetti and colored air balloons.

Since 1999 after the re-installment of another traditional event “Festa Delle Marie", the winner of that competition will have the honor to be the Angel of the next year "famous flight" .

Claudia Marchiori: 2106 'Festa delle Marie" winner 
The girl winner of the 2016 edition of the “Festa delle Marie” was Claudia Marchiori and she will be this year Angel. She will be wearing a beautiful dress made also this year made by Stefano Nicolao, of the famous Nicolao Atelier of Venice.

While I’m looking forward to see this year dress here are some pictures of last year beautiful Angel, Irene Rizzi dressed also by Nicolao.

Irene Rizzi, the 2016 Angel wearing Nicolao dress after the Flight 

 On the top of the Tower a few minutes before the Flight : Mr. Nicolao last touch

Mr. Nicolao and the 2016 Angel Irene Rizzi taking a picture after the flight.

The magic of Carnevale in Venice is still so alive.

From Venice With Love,


Join me on my official mailing list  to to be part of my world of lovers of love. 

And if you want to join me on the Giada Valenti “From Venice With Love” Cruise on the MSC Musica leaving from Venice on July 9, you can visit to register and more info.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The most beautiful girl of Venice : Maria the Angel

The traditional “Festa delle Marie” will start today at San Pietro di Castello at 2.30 pm, with a Parade  along via Garibaldi and Riva degli Schiavoni that will reach San Marco stage at 4.00 pm, where the twelve “Marias” will be introduced to the crowd waiting for them. This is for sure one of the highlight of the Carnevale.

To participate also this year were 64 young girls between 18 e i 28 years of age residing in the province of Venice/ The selections  in front of the jury was also this year in the beautiful Ca 'Vendramin Calergi, home to the Venice Casino with an exclusive event organized by the driving force behind the  whole event and for that also called the Mom of all the Maria", Maria Grazia Bortolato, the President of the "Venice is ... history, art and culture".

But what is the history behind the 'Festa delle Marie?

This event evokes the homage that the Venetian Doge offered every year to twelve beautiful but humble Venetian girls, offering them magnificent jewels as a bridal dowry.
The “Festa delle Marie” is articulated in different days and it is the opportunity to admire the traditional Venetian period costumes.

This celebration was born in 943 long before the beginning of Carnival Celebrations to whom it was successively linked.
The feast is connected with an episode that happened during the purification of Mary ritual. 
For this ritual 12 brides were chosen amongst the poorer of Venice and their wedding was blessed in the San Pietro di Castello Dome. During the ceremony the richer family of the city gifted the young ladies with donations and the Doge lend them jewels from the city treasure. Then there was a procession to San Mark's square where the brides welcomed in the Doge Palace for a feast in their honor.

More celebrations were held after that also from the Rialto  to the church of Santa Maria Formosa.  

It is said that in 943 the 12 brides and their jewels were raped by pirates. The pirates were chased and engaged nearby the port of Caorle where they were killed and their bodies buried into the sea so no one could commemorate them.
In honor of the ladies the port where they were saved was called "Porto delle Donzelle" and still is.

This sad event was signing the birth of  the “Festa delle Marie”. At first the feast consisted on a boat procession along the Canals. During the parade there were several stops to allow the "Marie" to participate to religious functions and private feast with the citizens. It was considered a good wish to meet the Marie and it was a great opportunity to admire the beautiful ladies dressed like queens.

The celebration was held for many centuries, until 1349 when the real girls were replaced by wooden shaped figures. This decision was taken because the spirit of the celebration was more connected with the opportunity to meet the beautiful girls than the religious recurrence.
The decision became soon quite unpopular, and the citizen start to fire upon the “shapes” with various objects and vegetables. 
The celebration was then suppressed in 1793.
From those episodes comes a popular way the Venetians use to this day to describe  a woman with a little chest: “Maria de Tola”, literally “Mary the wooden plank”.

The feast has been resumed in 1999 by  famous director and cultural operator, Bruno Tosi and proposed within the Carnival program.

The penultimate day of Carnival, Monday, February 27, in a Grand Gala in the Apollonian Halls of the Gran Teatro La Fenice will be chosen among the 12 most beautiful girls the “Maria” and the next day, Shrove Tuesday February 28, in Piazza San Marco the Maria 2017 will be presented to the city and the public.

The winner of the Feast of Marie, will be the star of the "The Flight of the Angel" the next year. This is another iconic event reminiscent  of the traditional homage for  the Doge. A thrilling flight from the top of St. Mark's bell tower to the center of the square. 

This year February 19th  to jump from the bell tower will be Claudia Marchiori, last year winner.
She will be wearing a beautiful dress made by Stefano Nicolao.

From Venice With Love,


Join me on my official mailing list  to to be part of my world of lovers of love. 

And if you want to join me on the Giada Valenti “From Venice With Love” Cruise on the MSC Musica leaving from Venice on July 9, you can visit to register and more info.