Poveri, ma belli

Festa delle Marie, Carnival 2014, Venice
It is the second weekend of Carnival and celebrations have shifted into a new gear. One of the eagerly-awaited events of today was the Festa delle Marie.

The Festa was born in 943 long before anyone had ever thought of inventing carnival. 12 brides were chosen from the poorest sections of society and were married in San Pietro di Castello. During the ceremony they were presented with gifts from richer families and jewels from the doge. The brides would then walk in procession to the Palazzo Ducale, where a banquet was held in their honour. 

The Festa delle Marie was suppressed in 1379, but revived a few years ago. The procession was due to leave San Pietro di Castello at 14.30 and make its way to Piazza San Marco. And so this afternoon I braved the cold, the rain and the crowds and made my way to the piazza to see the procession arrive. 

However, I found the rain so depressing and the crowds of people so unbearable that I gave up half an hour before the parade was scheduled to arrive and returned home! 

I did stay long enough to see and hear a group of drummers and flag-wavers. An Italian festa isn't really a festa without drums and flags! The sound of the drums reverberating around the piazza was a memorable experience and one which made my short outing worth the effort. 


  1. Next year, I advise taking up a position in a bar on Via Garibaldi where you can see and hear this in comfort, with the drink and snack of your choice at your elbow. :-)

  2. Great idea. I wish I'd thought of that on Saturday.


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