What can Madonna teach us about Venice history?


Okay, all you children of the 70s, it’s time to go back in time a bit to one of those formative moments in our collective musical past. I’m talking, of course, about the Madonna “Like A Virgin” video.

I saw this video plenty of times back in the day when it was first all over MTV, but it had been quite a long time since I’d seen it. So when it came on MTV in my Milan apartment last month, I was surprised to notice that the video was not only filmed on-location in Venice, but that it incorporated a bit of Venice history as well. Check out the video and see if you notice what I’m talking about:

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You see that lion that’s randomly cruising the canals of Venice? And then you notice how Madonna’s lover is wearing a lion mask (a crappy one, but that’s beside the point) when he sweeps her off her feet? Well, some of you may know that you’ll find lions displayed all over Venice – because the winged lion is the symbol of the city. A winged lion was the traditional symbol of St. Mark, the apostle whose body the Venetians stole from Alexandria in the 9th century, and once the saint was in his tomb in Venice the city adopted his symbol as their own. That way, everyone would know that the powerful city of Venice had a saint on their side.

Who knew Madonna was so into Venetian history? On second thought, something tells me she probably still doesn’t know why the video director suggested there be a lion in her video…