Venice Between Relics and Legends: The Case of St. Nicholas with Sara Grinzato

Venice Between Relics and Legends: The Case of St. Nicholas with Sara Grinzato


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If Santa Klaus was influenced especially by the historical figure of St. Nicolaus, his problematic remains (at least in part) rest in Venice. In this conversion, we will analyze the figure of the Greek bishop St. Nicolas of Myra and the role the possession of his relics had in the politics of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.

Join art historian Sara Grinzato as we discuss the relevance attributed to the possession by Venice of the relics of St. Nicolas, a Greek saint, and the bishop of Myra, Turkey, who lived between the third and fourth century.

We’ll learn about the dispute between the marine powers of Venice and Bari about the body of St. Nicolaus and the way it is (or not) solved in modern times. We’ll discuss the hagiography of the Saint, mingled with legend, and the reasons for his invocation as a protector from the waters and… of children! As we conclude the seminar, we’ll also have a chance to peep inside and learn about the Church of San Nicolò del Lido, where some relics of St. Nicolas are preserved, and home to the famous “Wedding of the Sea” annual tradition.

Led by an expert on Venetian art and culture, Sara Grinzato, this interactive seminar will fascinate history lovers. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the story of the relics in Venice and of the figure of St. Nicholas, who strongly inspired the modern secular figure of Santa Claus.

Sara Grinzato is a professional art historian, conservator and expert in the Venetian art. She is active as an independent scholar, researching on the arts of Venice from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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