Ferragosto is an ancient Roman holiday originally called Feriae Augusti, the holiday season proclaimed by the Roman emperor Augustus in the year 18 BC. Originally, the Romans celebrated their grand summer feast on August 1, but it was shifted to August 15 to fuse with La Festa dell'Annunziata (Assumption of Mary).
There's also a practical reason for taking off some time in August: It's very hot, Venice hit 38 degrees Celsius yesterday - in the shade! This is because hot steamy air from the southern Adriatic / Aegean Sea enters the Lagoon, heating up the water and even causing foschia (milky fog) in the morning.
In this edition of Postcard from Venice, we'll let you into a few summer secrets: As many of you asked - yes, there are beaches in the Lagoon, not just on the Lido or Cavallino peninsula. My favorite white sandy beach is called El Bacan off the island Sant'Erasmo, which you can see in the images below. It's a sandbank whose size is shrinking during alta marea (high tide) at noon in summer, and then growing again in the afternoon. You can see the sand bank from above in the second image, shared with us by Venetian photographer Ricardo Roiter.
But then, many Venetians celebrate Ferragosto not on the beach, but on the island Torcello! If you'd like to visit one day, we've got a special tip, Taverna Veneziana, offering some of the best sea food in the Lagoon. Below, we're also sharing Nonna Lina's traditional menu for Ferragosto Lunch, and an easy recipe for sea food pasta that you can download and try at home!