On March 25 every year, Venice has been celebrating its birthday for centuries. For over a millennium now. 2021 marks the round number of 1600 years since its foundation, which took place according to tradition in 421.

There are not many cities that can be defined as legendary, but Venice and its history have succeeded in the enterprise, starting from their birth.

What, then, is the legend?

It is a short story that arises when popular imagination mixes in harmonious play with reality. What history very often does not have, is precisely the recounting of events that took place using those tricks and narrative techniques that the great writers and the most skilled cinematographic authors use. This is why many legends have spanned the centuries passing from mouth to mouth, handed down from father to son.

The legend has the strength to cross time, overcoming every barrier and successfully arriving at present times. Sometimes similar, but more often different in narrative details.

The same is true for the foundation of Venice.

On the other hand, unlike the story that must necessarily argue the facts it tells, a legend must be as simple and effective as possible: it is often the hero, one man or one woman, who wins, and it doesn't matter if success was a team effort or a series of attempts.

A compelling story is mainly based on emotional strokes and strokes, not on entire paintings in detail represented and shown to the public.

So Venice wasn't founded on March 25, 421?

The date in question is mentioned for the first time in Venice in 1267 by Martin da Canal, in his Les Estoires de Venise and then, a century later, by Doge Andrea Dandolo in his Cronaca. From then on the legend has been handed down over the centuries, reaching up to the present day, in all its strength and in all its involvement.

On the other hand, the great marketing strength of the Republic of Venice is now known, which has managed to create an image so strong and legendary that it has even become a true story, almost no longer refutable.

Naturally, the great photographers of the time are not lacking in the narration of Venice, such as Francesco Guardi (Venice: Rialto, workshop of Francesco Guardi)

The date of March 25, the Annunciation of the Lord, can certainly find comfort in the need to offer the public a solemn moment, which would provide a strong institutional, and at the same time spiritual, character to the city and the Republic of Venice. A trait common to other realities of this historical period, namely the early Middle Ages (as Tiziana Plebani reminds us in her article about her Venice was born from a woman. A female myth of the foundation of Venice). The year 421 is placed in a time period in which the lagoon settlements are still primitive, or rather in the organization phase, therefore in a historical period where everything is possible.

The real foundation in fact takes place a few centuries later but, in fact, it is here that the legendary birth of Venice must be at its most effective: simple, immediate, solemn, ancient. To reinforce everything, a physical identity is also provided, associating it with the Church of San Giacometo di Rialto.

And here the legendary origin of Venice gradually acquires strength and involvement, year after year, century after century, story after story.

An excellent storytelling and a great communication strategy that, associated with an indisputable truth - who could ever say, having it in front of our nose, that Venice was not actually founded at a certain moment, in time? -, has the ability and the merit of having brought up to here the historical memory of a group of people who at a certain point in the flow of the hands of the Universe, create something perhaps unimaginable for the epoch: as in the equally legendary Atlantis, build a millenary empire on that indomitable element that is water.

Here, then, is the merit of the legendary origin and foundation of Venice: to remind us that all this was possible.

And, why not, also remember that big business is always possible.


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