Sunday, January 31, 2016

Carried Away: Festa delle Marie

Half of the contingent of Marias carried down Via Garibaldi
The usual quiet of the riposo period along Via Garibaldi, when all its shops are typically shut up, was broken yesterday by the procession of the 12 Marias (or La Festa delle Marie), passing through from its starting point on the island of San Pietro di Castello and headed (via the Riva) for Piazza San Marco, where the newly-finished Carnevale stage and a large crowd awaited.

The celebration's origins are usually placed more than 1,000 years ago, in 943, and involve pirates, lovely brides, kidnapping, treasure, and a heroic pursuit by the wronged Venetians, led by their fearless doge. A succinct account of the feast's history can be found in English and Italian here: A more extensive illustrated account of both the past and present versions is available in Italian here: A more extensive historical overview in English is here:

I had the luxury and pleasure yesterday of working with another photographer, my eight-year-old son, Sandro, and give photo credit where needed. 

photo credit: Sandro Varni
photo credit: Sandro Varni

photo credit: Sandro Varni


  1. This, and the opening on the Cannaregio Canal, are the best parts of Carnevale for me. (And seeing the little kids gleefully throwing the coriandoli about.)

    1. I agree, Yvonne, I think you're right about all these things. And I suspect the 12 Marias parade is most fun to see out near its origins rather than in the crowded center.

  2. Replies
    1. I was certainly happy to have it along, Freda, as I didn't worry so much about what I might be missing.