Hidden treasures

The festival of Shrove Thursday in St. Mark's Square in Venice

Local Traditions
Giovedi_Grasso

The festival of Shrove Thursday in St. Mark's Square in Venice

In Venice, at the time of the Doges, the numerous celebrations of the Carnival were very spectacular.

On the day of Shrove Thursday a kind of wooden machine was set up in Piazzetta San Marco, facing the Doge's Palace, from which colourful fireworks were fired in the evening and also some acrobats demonstrated their ability by performing the ‘forces of Hercules', a sort of human pyramid that rose above a board mounted on benches, while others descended from St Mark's bell tower on cables connected to the dock and the loggia of the Doge's Palace, to complete their flight directly in front of the doge who watched the festivities from the one of the building's windows.

On that occasion, as we can see in this painting by Francesco Guardi in the second half of the 18th century, which is  now preserved in the Louvre, a large crowd of villagers crowded in the Piazzetta around the fireworks machine to watch the show, while the nobles and other important guests took a seat in the wooden stand, which was set up at the foot of the Doge's Palace.

If you want to get a better idea of what the ‘forces of Hercules' were and you cannot go to the Louvre, at the Correr Museum in St. Mark's Square, in the room dedicated to games, you can see a model of this amazing skill and balance feat.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The Italia Theatre in Cannaregio

teatro_Italia_venezia
Unknown places & works

Along the busy road linking Santa Lucia train station to the Rialto Bridge in Venice there stands a peculiar neo-Gothic building with t...

View

Treviso: Villa Condulmer in Mogliano Veneto and Giuseppe Verdi

villa-condulmer
Big Names

Giuseppe Verdi is one of the most famous musicians of the 19th century... Even those who are not Opera experts recognise the arias of h...

View

Padua: The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

teatro-anatomico-padova
Unknown places & works

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to disco...

View

Venice: The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

presepe-sommerso
Unknown places & works

On 26 January 1961 the Croatian Wrmac merchant ship sank off the island of Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, about 3 miles outside the harbo...

View

Top posts

Vicenza: The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)

olimpico-scenografia
Historical Curiosities

Vicenza is the city of Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), one of the greatest architects of all time, especially as his classicism influence...

View

Padua: The ghosts in the Castle of Monselice

castello-monselice
Mysteries & Legends

Monselice is a splendid medieval town located on the hills south of Padova, offering stunning views on the surrounding landscape. The m...

View

Venice: The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Otello
Film Locations

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the hist...

View

Venice: The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

giardino-eden-venezia
Unknown places & works

Behind the male prison on the Giudecca Island, there is a secret hidden garden, concealed from sight and with an intriguing name: the G...

View