Enrico Dandolo

The bull has arrived by Marco Secchi

A huge bull, Carnival 2012 Allegory, has arrived in Venice. The Allegory is inspired by ancient rites of the venetian lagoon, linked to the antique celebration of the bulls. The Bull will be Venice carnival main symbol, until the last day, Tuesday the 21st, when the Bull will become the protagonist of a ritual of “sacrifice”.VENICE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 04:  A gondola sails on the Grand Canal at Punta della Dogana where a model of a giant bull - the 2012 edition symbol - has been placed on February 4, 2012 in Venice, Italy. The Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival and starts 40 days before Easter and ends on Shrove Tuesday ( Martedì Grasso). (Photo by Marco Secchi/Getty Images) (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

The tradition of the Bull The Carnival of Venice 2012 wants to recall one of the episodes about the history and tradition of the real meaning of "feast" in Venice. In 1162, the patriarch of Aquileia, Urlico from Teffen, allied to some pro-imperial feudatories in the Friuli and occupied the flourishing salt plans of Grado, forcing  Enrico Dandolo to escape. Dandolo, patriarch of Grado fled to Venice, where he asked for help. The Doge of Venice, Vitale Michiel II, answered to this assault by besetting and conquering Aquileia and making Ulrico, the patriarch of Aquileia, his prisoner, along with 12 landowners and 12 clergy. To regain his freedom, Patriarch agreed to submit to any lien: venetians asked Aquileia Patriarch, every year, in the occasion of  Maundy Thursday, to deliver them one bull, 12 breads and 12 pigs to use for a public show in the square.

In the morning of Maundy Thursday, a venetian "tauromachia" (bullfight) took place; during this ritual, the "corpo de' Fabbri"  who had distinguished themselves in battles against Ulrico, had the had the privilege to cut the head of the bull using spears and scimitars, for the glory of the town and Venice.

The traditional event, one of the first to be institutionally included in the Carnival of Venice, was abolished in 1520 by Doge Andrea Gritti, but was revived from 1550 until the fall of the "Serenissima in one version of bullfighting, but without the 12 pigs that do not "were decorated Lordship to ours. "


Saint Lucy in Venice by Marco Secchi

Saint Lucy (283–304), also known as Saint Lucia, was a wealthy young Christian martyr who is venerated as a saint by Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. Her feast day in the West is 13 December; with a name derived from lux, lucis "light", she is the patron saint of those who are blind. Saint Lucy is one of the very few saints celebrated by members of the Lutheran Church among the Scandinavian peoples, who take part in Saint Lucy's Day celebrations that retain many elements of Germanic paganism. Saint Lucy is one of seven women, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Hagiography tells us that Lucy was a Christian during the Diocletian persecution. She consecrated her virginity to God,refused to marry a pagan, and had her dowry distributed to the poor. Her would-be husband denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. Miraculously unable to move her or burn her, the guards took out her eyes with a fork. In another version, Lucy's would-be husband admired her eyes, so she tore them out and gave them to him, saying, "Now let me live to God".The oldest record of her story comes from the fifth-century accounts of saints' lives. By the 6th century, her story was widespread, so that she appears in the Sacramentary of Pope Gregory I. At the opening of the 8th century Aldhelm included a brief account of her life among the virgins praised in De laude virginitatis, and in the following century the Venerable Bede included her in his Martyrology. In medieval accounts, Saint Lucy's eyes are gouged out prior to her execution. In art, her eyes sometimes appear on a tray that she is holding.Until 1861 relics of Saint Lucy were venerated in a church dedicated to her in Venice; after its demolition, they were transferred to the church of San Geremia.

Her history is interesting but obviously full of legends as well, so I trather concentrate on the Relics.

VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 13:  The relics of Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) are housed inside the church of Saint Geremia in Venice on December 13, 2010 in Venice, Italy. Saint Lucy's Day (Santa Lucia) celebrated on December 13th, is observed in Scandinavian countries but also in Northern Italy, Malta and some Mediterranean countries. (Marco Secchi)

The Relics

Sigebert (1030–1112), a monk of Gembloux, in his sermo de Sancta Lucia, chronicled that her body lay undisturbed in Sicily for 400 years, before Faroald II, Duke of Spoleto, captured the island and transferred the body to Corfinium in the Abruzzo, Italy. From there it was removed by the Emperor Otho I in 972 to Metz and deposited in the church of St. Vincent. It was from this shrine that an arm of the saint was taken to the monastery of Luitburg in the Diocese of Speyer - an incident celebrated by Sigebert himself in verse.

The subsequent history of the relics is not clear. On their capture of Constantinople in 1204, the French found some relics attributed to Saint Lucy in the city, and Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, secured them for the monastery of St. George at Venice. In 1513 the Venetians presented to Louis XII of France the saint's head, which he deposited in the cathedral church of Bourges. Another account, however, states that the head was brought to Bourges from Rome where it had been transferred during the time when the relics rested in Corfinium. The remainder of the relics remain in Venice: they were transferred to the church of San Geremia when the church of Santa Lucia was demolished in the 19th century to make way for the new railway terminus. A century later, on 7 November 1981, thieves stole all her bones, except her head. Police recovered them five weeks later, on her feast day. Other parts of the corpse have found their way to Rome, Naples, Verona, Lisbon, Milan, as well as Germany and France.