Venezia header: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

CAZZA DEL TORO

(Bull Chasing)

As strange as it may appear, the running of the bulls in Venice - Pamplona style, if you know what I mean - was very popular during Carnival time (17th century, until the beginning of the 19th century).

Thinking of it, in those narrow streets, and with the canals, it must have been really wild.

Bull chasing was usually admitted from the first day until the last Sunday of Carnival, and it all had origin from that bull delivered as a ransom in 1162 by Ulrich II von Treven, Patriarch of Aquileia.

The chasing started - each day in a different section of town - every day of the week except Friday, right after lunch.

The final feast was happening every night from 10:00 PM until midnight, and in the end the bull's head was finally cut off.

I guess the fact of it being possible to jump in a canal in case of danger, helped a lot for the population rate not to drop too dramatically in those times, although there are stories reported of quite dramatic incidents.

The bull chasing went on until February 22, 1802, after that it was declared a forbidden practice (several people were maimed or killed along the years because of it) and that was it.

Engraving by Giacomo Franco: "Cazza del toro"
Giacomo Franco: "Cazza del toro"
(Bull Chasing) - engraving (1610)
Domenico Lovisa: Campo di San Geremia con la Famosa caccia del Toro - (San Geremia's square with the reknown bull's chasing) - engraving (1717) - detail
Domenico Lovisa: "Campo di San Geremia con la Famosa caccia del Toro"
(San Geremia's square with the reknown bull's chasing) - engraving (1717) - detail

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