The 25th of April is a national holiday in Italy: we celebrate the end of the Italian Civil War on and the end of Nazi occupation of the country during World War II which occurred on 1945.
In Venice this holiday is even more important because it celebrates Saint Mark, patron of the city. Many religious celebrations take place in the amazing Saint Mark’s Basilica and a picturesque procession with the most important religious and civil authorities of Venice starts from Saint Mark’s Square.
The 25th of April is also known in Venice as the rosebud festival (in Venetian “Festa del bocolo”) and it is a tradition giving a “bocolo” (a button of rose) to the loved women. This is an ancient tradition that goes back to a legend of the 9th century.
The legend tells that Maria, the Doge’s daughter, fell in love and was so loved by Tancredi, a handsome young man coming from a poor family. The girl’s father opposed to this relationship and the girl asked Tancredi to go and fight against the Turks, to compensate for his humble origins by the glory of his feats. During a battle the boy met the dead near a rose bush, but before dying he picked a rosebud coloured by his blood and asked his friend Orlando to send it to his lover as the last gesture of love. The day after having received the message by Orlando, it was April 25, Maria was found dead on her bed, with the rosebud on her breast.
Commemorating this sad love story, on April 25 Venetians are used to give a rosebud to express their sentiments to their lovers.