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And the glorious magnificence carries on
Today the City of Venice woke up to its 1600th birthday – an astonishing feat, which takes back its origins to a time when the Roman Empire was still a fact. Since then, it has served as the capital of a republic (the so-called La Serenessima) and a maritime empire which ruled the waves of the Medieval Mediterranean Basin.
Today Venetians can feel enormously proud of their heritage in a city which, although not a capital anymore is still one of the most popular global tourist destinations and an undying symbol of romance, grandeur, elegance, art. It is also a reminder of the climate challenges that threaten coastal localities and the precarious unique conditions it has been built on and thrived for the past 16 centuries.
Today kicks off a months-long programme of events, which have been organized by the city, volunteers and associations
This solemn day deserved a solemn commemoration, and it was given when at 11:00 am the Patriarch of Venice (the title of the local archbishop) Francesco Moraglia held a mass inside the Basilica of San Marco. Later on, at 4 pm all the parish priests were invited to ring the bells of their campaniles in order to create a joyous atmosphere. The Italian national broadcaster Rai2 has also planned to show an evocative special dedicated to the lagoon city telling its story through images and music (6:30 pm).
Why is 25 March considered to be the founding day of the city, though? Naturally, looking this far back it would be hard to pinpoint an exact date of foundation. Historians have looked into the documents to find that the earliest mention of Venice goes back to 25 March 421.
This has been pointed out in the Chronicon Altenate, but also to a chronicle of the local Renaissance historian Marin Sanuto, who on the occasion of the great Rialto fire in 1514 wrote: “Alone remained standing the church of San Giacomo di Rialto, which was the first church built in Venetia of 421 on 25 March, as in our chronic si leze".
The city administration through its Steering Committee has organized a full programme of cultural activities and had also invited any persons and associations who have historic links with Venice to propose and organize events themselves. The approved proposals have been included in an online calendar, which can be consulted on 1600.venezia.it.
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