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Venezia and Its Enduring SymbolVenezia and Its Enduring Symbo

This year, Venice celebrates 16 centuries of life. Founded and grown in constant relation with the water that surrounds it, Venice became the most powerful maritime republic in the Italian peninsula. Until 1797, Venice's influence extended well beyond its city limits, as its territory included the regions of Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, part of Lombardy, as well as territories in the countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Greece and Cyprus. Its official name,

This year, Venezia celebrates 16 centuries of life. Founded and grown in constant relation with the water that surrounds it, Venezia became the most powerful maritime republic in the Italian peninsula. Until 1797, Venezia's influence extended well beyond its city limits, as its territory included the regions of Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, part of Lombardy, as well as territories in the countries of Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Greece and Cyprus. Its official name, Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia or only Serenissima (most serene) pays tribute to its independence and the lifeblood of a city-state centered on commerce, conquests, arts and crafts.

Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia or only Serenissima (most serene) pays tribute to its independence and the lifeblood of a city-state centered on commerce, conquests, arts and crafts.

The symbol of Venice is the

The symbol of Venezia is the winged Lion of St. Mark. It can be seen everywhere in Venezia, including sculptures, paintings and on flags. Many buildings and places are named after the saint: Basilica di San Marco, Piazza San Marco, Biblioteca Marciana. But why St. Mark and why a lion?

Venezia's relationship with St. Mark began in 828 C.E. when two Venetian merchants found the tomb of the evangelist in Alexandria, Egypt and took his body back to Venezia. The basilica was built to preserve his relics and to worship the saint.  The lion is how St. Mark is depicted in ancient texts, often as part of a tetramorph, which in Greek means “a form/shape composed of four elements”.  A tetramorph is found in the Old Testament, referring to the divine dominion over all the created things. However, from the early Christian period, the tetramorph has been used to represent the four evangelists: the lion for St. Mark, the man (or the angel) for St. Matthew, the ox for St. Luke and the eagle for St. John. The creatures of the tetramorph, just like the four gospels of the Evangelists, represent four facets of Christ.

The winged Lion of St. Mark is featured on the official flag of the city of Venezia. This same lion can also be found in all the cities that were under Venetian rule as well as in old Venetian embassies, like Palazzo Venezia in Rome. The importance of Venezia and its past in modern-day Italy is found on the ensign of the Italian navy (civil and military) which bears the symbols of the four most important old Italian maritime republics: Venezia, Pisa, Genova, and Amalfi.

To celebrate the anniversary of its founding, the city of Venezia has organized an exciting program of events which includes exhibitions, museum and city tours, conferences and seminars.

Happy Birthday Venezia!  Here’s to another 1600 years!

winged Lion of St. Mark. It can be seen everywhere in Venice, including sculptures, paintings and on flags. Many buildings and places are named after the saint: Basilica di San Marco, Piazza San Marco, Biblioteca Marciana. But why St. Mark and why a lion?

Venice's relationship with St. Mark began in 828 C.E. when two Venetian merchants found the tomb of the evangelist in Alexandria, Egypt and took his body back to Venice. The basilica was built to preserve his relics and to worship the saint.  The lion is how St. Mark is depicted in ancient texts, often as part of a tetramorph, which in Greek means “a form/shape composed of four elements”.  A tetramorph is found in the Old Testament, referring to the divine dominion over all the created things. However, from the early Christian period, the tetramorph has been used to represent the four evangelists: the lion for St. Mark, the man (or the angel) for St. Matthew, the ox for St. Luke and the eagle for St. John. The creatures of the tetramorph, just like the four gospels of the Evangelists, represent four facets of Christ.

The winged Lion of St. is featured on the official flag of the city of Venice. This flag can be found in all the cities that were under Venetian rule as well as in old Venetian embassies, like Palazzo Venezia in Rome. The importance of Venice and its past in modern-day Italy is found on the ensign of the Italian navy (civil and military) which bears the symbols of the four most important old Italian maritime republics: Venezia, Pisa, Genova, and Amalfi.

To celebrate the anniversary of its founding, the city of Venice has organized an exciting program of events which includes exhibitions, museum and city tours, conferences and seminars.

Happy Birthday Venezia!  Here’s to another 1600 years!

YouTube(IT): Venezia: 1600 anni di storia, arte, cultura e tradizioni

Article written by Valentina Andreucci in collaboration with the ICC Editorial Team

Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arsenale_(Venice)_-_The_Lion_of_Venice_on_the_pediment_of_the_arsenal.jpg

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