Floating City

Mapping Ritual

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Ritual played a large part in the religious, social, and political life of medieval and Renaissance Venice. Each year in Venice brought a series of pageants, celebrations, processions, and holidays that were shared with other Renaissance cities, but there were also rituals that were particular to Venice itself. These four studies of rituals that were celebrated only in Venice—the Marriage of the Sea, The Festival of 12 Wooden Marys, the Bridge Battles, and Rituals of Punishment—all illustrate the way Venetians established their identities, expressed ideas of social order, and released frustrations. The associated digital map demonstrates the way these rituals used and defined Venice's unique lagoon environment to symbolize meaning and construct ritual geographies in the cityscape.