Deserted Venice marks its 1600th birthday amid COVID-19

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Sanitization in Venice
Representational Image

One of the most picturesque cities across the globe, the ‘City of Canals’ in Italy, Venice celebrated its 1,600th birthday without tourists as the world ravages by the side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city of Venice witnessed subdued celebration by ringing the church bells, just a week after the country mourned the death of Italians who died during the pandemic.

Mr. Luigi Brugnaro, the Mayor of Venice announced a year of festive but socially distanced events, many of which are to be live-streamed online, through a Twitter post that said “Today begins a message of hope: Venice lives, Italy lives.”

Canals in Venice
Deserted Canals in Venice amid the pandemic

The city marked the 1600th founding anniversary with a Mass in St Mark’s Basilica, a famous cathedral on Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) in the center of the old town.

The resurgence of COVID-19 cases across Europe ensured that the much-anticipated anniversary saw limited attendance to events across a pictorial city that was bustling with millions of tourists visiting every year before the pandemic.

The festivities at a time when the whole country remembers the March 18 anniversary of the day when disturbing images of military convoys carrying coffins out of the hard-hit city of Bergamo were broadcast around the world, revealing the most horrific side of the pandemic.

Churches across the city were also set to ring their bells in the city in the afternoon to commemorate the foundation day with a regional television station planned to broadcast a special program on the history and future of the city in the evening.

Venice’s founding date is considered to be on 25 March, 421, a date which is widely disputed among historians for its sourcing.

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