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

Padua: Bartolomeo Cristofori: the Padua-born man who invented the piano

bartolomeo_cristofori
Did you know that...

Did you know that the inventor of the piano hailed from Padua? That’s true and his name was Bartolomeo Cristofori. Bartolomeo Cristof...

View

Venice: The gondolier: the warrior of the lagoon

gondoliere
Mysteries & Legends

Everybody knows who a gondolier is and what he does: he is the person who, with dedication and ability, propels the gondola, the tradit...

View

Venice: Why is it called Titian Red?

rosso_tiziano
Figures of speech

Do you recall the sensual ‘Venus of Urbino’ or the elegant ‘Woman in the mirror’ by Tiziano Vecellio? Now, just focus on the re...

View

Cortina D'ampezzo: A Museum in the Clouds in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Museo-delle-Nuvole-Monte-Rite-a-Cibiana
Mysteries & Legends

If you reach the summit of Mount Rite at 2181 meters near Cortina d'Ampezzo, it will come as a surprise to find among the barren dolomi...

View

Top posts

Venice: How much does a gondola ride cost?

gondola
Did you know that...

Have you decided to visit Venice and included a nice gondola ride on the list of things to do? How could we blame you! Is there anythin...

View

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Treviso: The ghost of Bianca di Collalto

castello-collalto
Mysteries & Legends

On the night between October 31 and November 1, telling a scary ghost story is a must... We have one related to the castle of Collalto,...

View

Padua: Prato della Valle in Padua

prato-della-valle
Historical Curiosities

Probably only the inhabitants of Padua and a few other people know of a particular record their city is boasting about: having the larg...

View