Hidden treasures

The history of the flight from St Mark's bell tower during the Venice Carnival

Local Traditions
Volo_angelo

The history of the flight from St Mark's bell tower during the Venice Carnival

On the second Sunday of the Venice Carnival, people gather in St. Mark's Square to witness the famous flight of the angel, during which the winner of the 'Marie' beauty contest of the previous year launches herself from St Mark's bell tower attached to a rope to reach the Doge's Palace.

But not everyone knows that this flight has a very ancient tradition and is in a sense, tragic. In fact, in the mid-sixteenth century, during the Venice Carnival, a young Turkish acrobat succeeded, aided only by a balance pole, to get to the belfry of St Mark's bell tower, walking on a long rope that started from a boat anchored by the quay of the pier. On his descent, he reached the balcony of the Doge's Palace, and handed some gifts to the Doge.

After the spectacular success of this spectacle, now called Svolo del turco, the event, which usually took place on Maundy Thursday, was requested and programmed to be part of an official ceremony for later events using similar techniques and formats that were developed and modified over the years.

But in 1759, the show ended in tragedy. On one occasion, the acrobat crashed into the horrified crowd. Because of this serious incident, the original format of the event was forbidden. Since then, the acrobat was replaced by a large wooden dove that similarly started from the bell tower, and as it descended threw flowers and confetti on the crowd.

... And if you wish to visit St. Mark's Bell Tower, please note that on our portal you can purchase online a convenient skip the line ticket!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: 'Duri i banchi!': the meaning of a famous motto in Venice

duri-i-banchi
Figures of speech

The Venetians are a people of workers, proud and deeply attached to their city, and for these reasons, they never surrender to hardship...

View

Venice: Coronavirus is not (fortunately) Venice’s new plague

peste
Historical Curiosities

As recently as a month ago the Coronavirus or COVID-19 started to affect our lives causing much disruption. It appeared precisely in ou...

View

Venice: History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

Frittelle_di_carnevale
Local Traditions

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola...

View

Venice: The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Melusina
Mysteries & Legends

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Ve...

View

Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

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

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View