That of the boccolo di San Marco – “bocolo” (Venetian dialect translation of “bud”) – is a centuries-old tradition linked to the city of Venice. Popular tradition has it that, on St. Mark’s day, every woman is given the “bocolo” as a sign of love from her partner.
Legend has it that in the 19th century, in the city of Venice, the daughter of Doge Orso I Partecipazio, Maria, loved, in return, a young man of humble origins, Tancredi. The Doge absolutely did not want the two lovers to meet and so the girl advised her beloved to go and fight against the Turks to redeem himself from his humble condition through the glory of military exploits.
In fact, the young man distinguished himself valiantly in the war and his fame was quickly on everyone’s lips. During a battle, however, he was mortally wounded and fell on a rose garden. Before dying, he called his friend Orlando and whispered to him, with the last breath he had, to deliver to his beloved a bud of that rose garden stained with his blood as an ultimate and last token of love.
On April 25, the day after receiving the sad message of love from Orlando from her lover who fell in battle, Maria was found dead in her bed with the bud on her chest.
Since then, every April 25, tradition has it that the same homage is repeated by the Venetians so that each of them can demonstrate their feelings to the woman they love.
So if you are in Venice during this week do not forget to do this small but heartfelt tribute to your sweethearts.