March 25th—Feast of the Annunciation

Lady Day, but, more importantly, the traditional day on which Venice was founded, in 421, at midday, supposedly a Friday, as this year. Here is Horatio Brown apropos:

‘The Venetian official account always assigned the 25th March 421 as the day on which Venice was born. Such precision is both misleading and futile. But it is based upon a document well known to Venetian historians, the famous commission of the three Consuls who were sent from Padua to superintend the building of a city at Rialto , where they might concentrate the population and the commerce of the lagoon. “On the 25th March, about mid-day, was the foundation stone laid.”

There is little doubt that the document, as we have it, is a forgery; though it is highly probable that its substance is true to fact; and it cannot be taken as establishing the date of the foundation of Venice , it is instructive for various reasons. It shows us that the lagoon-islands were inhabited, and that one of them, Rialto , lay on the course of the river Brenta through the estuary, and really commanded the sea-trade of Padua . It further shows that the Paduans wished to establish a commercial centre at Rialto, partly for safety, partly for convenience of traffic; and, finally, it proves that the lagoons around Rialto, the lagoons through which the Brenta passed, were at that time under the control of Padua; a fact which the people of Venice strenuously denied when they became stronger than the Paduans.’

(Venice, an Historical Sketch of the Republic, 1893)