Come April, the grand Venetian season

A stylised red rosebud on the paving in Saint Mark’s Square. It is the symbolic image we have chosen for the beginning of this month, which is characterised in town, besides its being the beginning of spring, and therefore of the budding season, by a holiday on 25 April, characterised in Venice by a double significance: the Liberation Fête and its Patron Saint day, known to Venetians as the Fête of Saint Mark. The latter’s symbol is a rosebud (bòcolo in Venetian), representing a passionate love story between Tancredi, a youth of humble origins and Maria, called Vulcana, the daughter of a Doge, which features her at the end receiving a rose on Saint Mark’s Day, sent as a final gesture of love by her lover dying in battle.

Ever since that day, a rosebud has been offered by men to their beloved women, be they mothers, wives or fiancées. Nowadays, an opportunity to buy one is provided by stalls set up by the Red Cross.

This symbol is accompanied by a programme of events, including a solemn Mass at the Basilica of Mark himself, where the saint’s relics are preserved; a choral concert at the Goldoni Theatre and a few regattas, including the gondola Ferries’ one. Saint Mark’s day and the close Easter festivities do not however represent the only opportunities during this month. Reasons for a sojourn in Venice go well beyond.

In addition to its monumental, aesthetic and environmental value (please check on the lagoon and its islands) Venice is offering an exceptional range of events. Among them, its art exhibitions. Canaletto & Venice for instance, is among those opportunities not to be missed: at the Ducal Palace, until 9 June. Those who prefer contemporary art may choose instead between the two spectacular Pinault Foundation venues: Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. Here, it has already been possible for a few days to admire Flemish artist Luc Tuymans’s first Italian solo show and Place and Signs, a special layout of artworks representing ten years of this museum. Furthermore, regarding the contemporary, we may point out an exhibition at the Arsenal by the finalists of the Arte Laguna Prize.

Moreover, for painting, Valeria Costa at the Palazzo Contarini and Giovanni Soccol at Ca’Pesaro; for photography, Letizia Battaglia at the Casa dei Treoci, on the Giudecca; for artistic glassmaking, Maurice Marinot, at Rooms of Glass on the island of San Giorgio, and Marcella Vanzo at Palazzo Franchetti; for historical characters, a documentary exhibition on the condottiero Francesco Morosini, organised by the Querini Stampalia Foundation; for textile art, the novel exhibition From Kandinsky to Botero at Palazzo Zaguri. Debuts instead during this month: Painting Light, a tribute to the artists of the historic Burano Prize, at the Lace Museum (from 6 April); The nature of Arp, an important anthological exhibition on one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth century, in the venues of the Guggenheim Collection (from 13 April); Leonardo da Vinci, man as a world model, an exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of this Renaissance genius, from 17 April at the Galleries of the Accademia; the solo show by established Romanian contemporary artist Adrian Ghenie, at Palazzo Cini, from 19 April.

Yet again, among other events within the cultural ambit, we may recall Civilizations Crossroads (from 3 to 6 April), the international festival dedicated to literature promoted by Ca’ Foscari University (we are listing the whole programme elsewhere). For music, the Musicians during the Great War cycle, promoted by the Research Centre of palazzetto Bru Zane; Verdi’s operas Othello and Traviata, and one by Vivaldi, Dorilla in tempe, for La Fenice’s Season. For prose, the focus is on Carlo Goldoni’s play La casa nova, at the Resident Theatre bearing his name.

Finally, there is sport, with two events, both for fans of running: the festive non-competitive march of Up and Down bridges (7 April) and the Venice Night Trail, a suggestive night-run along the alleys and quays of the city (13 April). D.R.

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