Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni


(Fat Thursday celebrations)

The Fat Thursday celebration is closely related to the history of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, consequently to the victory over Ulrich II Von Treveno, Patriarch of Aquileia.

Ulrich's troops had attacked Venice while the "Serenissima" was busy fighting another war against the Ducati of Padova and Ferrara. Italy was sort of a lively place, at that time.

After the defeat, Ulrich II had to pay the Venetians one bull and twelve pigs, as war reimbursement, each year after 1162.

So, from that moment on, the tradition was established of "executing" every year that same amount of animals in the San Marco square, and all the population participated to the feast, banquet, dances, acrobats.

Carnival was officially born, it started the day after Christmas - December 26, Santo Stefano - and went up to the Giovedí Grasso (Fat Thursday).

Everything could happen in those days: celebrations, pranks, whatever.

"Il giovedi gasso per memoria di certa vittoria ottenuta dalla Repubblica nel Friuli
si fa pubblica festa nella piazza di S.Marco
dove assiste il Doge e la signoria
per non derrogare all'ática istitutyone"

"On Fat Thursday, in honor of a certain victory
that was obtained by the Republic in Friuli,
there is a public celebration in S.Marco square
and the Doge and all the Lordship participate
as not to infringe this old Institution's ruling"

Engraving by Giacomo Franco: "La festa del Giovedì Grasso" - 1610
Giacomo Franco: "La festa del Giovedì Grasso"
(Fat Thursday celebrations) - engraving (1610)

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