St Valentine's remains in VeniceHistorical Curiosities
St Valentine's remains in Venice
Valentine's day is celebrated all around the world, but only a few know that the saint's remains are kept in the city of Venice, precisely in the church of St Samuel (next to Palazzo Grassi).
When you enter the church, not well known even to the residents of this city, and approach the first altar on the left, you will clearly see an urn with this writing: CORPUS SANCTI VALENTINI.
It is true that the city of Terni claims to hold the remains of this famous saint, but it is nice to keep an aura of mystery and indulge in the idea that some of the remains of St Valentine, the protector of those in love, are also kept in Venice, the city of lovers par excellence.
The day of the bishop and martyr Valentine goes back to the ancient Greek, Italics and Roman celebrations that used to be held on 15 February in honor of the god Pan. These celebrations were dedicated to the purification of fields and fecundity rituals. After becoming increasingly licentious, the Emperor August banned the celebrations and Pope Gelasio finally suppressed them in 494. The Church Christianized the originally pagan fertility ritual bringing it forward to the 14th of February and attributing to the Saint martyr the ability to protect couples and those in love wishing to get married and have children together.
This story gave rise to several legends. The most interesting ones depict the saint as being passionate for roses and scented flowers that he used to donate to couples to wish them a happy time together. If you fancy celebrating Valentine's day in a special way, bring a rose to the altar of St Valentine in the church of St Samuel in Venice (to find out about opening times of this church ask at the nearby church of St Stephen).
Venice is a city full of surprises and places with unexpected stories. If you want to discover more of them, we will organize for you a personalized itinerary through Venice with the editor of the section Hidden Treasures.
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