Funeral of Valeria Solesin – Venice Transcends Terrorism

(Venice, Italy) Today the sun was brilliant in Piazza San Marco for the funeral of Valeria Solesin, the 28-year-old Venetian doctoral student killed in the Paris attacks on Friday the 13th. Valeria’s family and friends have exemplified courage, composure and dignity in the way they have handled the tragedy, embodying the highest human qualities — in direct contrast to the terrorists who committed the atrocity in which Valeria, and the other 129 victims, were murdered.

Alberto, father: Luciana, mother; Dario, brother & Andrea Ravagnani, fiancé Photo: La Republicca

The family wanted a civil ceremony, and invited people of all faiths to attend. The ceremony opened with the Italian national anthem, followed by the French, and was attended by Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italy, as well as Roberta Pinotti, the Italian Minister of Defense, who read a message from French President Francois Hollande. Also present were Agnes Renzi, the wife of Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, who was here yesterday to pay his respects; Luca Zaia, the President of the Veneto Region; and Luigi Brugnaro, Venice’s mayor. Gino Strada, the president of Emergency, the Italian NGO dedicated to helping civilian victims of war, an organization for which Valeria Solesin was a long-time volunteer, also attended, as well as much of Venice.

Body of Valeria Solesin arrives by gondola

Even though the ceremony was not religious, three major faiths were represented — Christians by Francesco Moraglia, the Patriarch of Venice; Jews by Rabbi David Bohbot, and Muslims by Iman Hamad Mahamed. Also attending on behalf of the Islamic community of Venice was the president, Mohamed Amin Al Ahdab, who spoke very strongly, to much applause. He said, “Valeria was like own our daughter. We are here to say that she was not killed in the name of our God, nor in the name of our religion, nor in our name. Ours is a religion of peace.”

Valeria Solesin died in the arms of her boyfriend, Andrea Ravagnani. Alberto Solesin, Valeria’s father, said he felt it was a duty owed to all the “Valerias and Andreas of the world who work, study, suffer and never give up” to be an example of composure and dignity.

Parents of Valeria Solesin – Photo: La Republicca

It was a deeply moving ceremony that transformed the darkest energy into something sacred, dignified  and bright; it was as if the angels themselves were present overhead. The Solesin family personifies the best of La Serenissima, exhibiting the highest qualities of civilization in a time of chaos and anxiety.

Valeria Solesin

The ceremony closed with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the national anthem of the European Union. Valeria Solesin’s coffin was carried by the gondoliers. She will rest on the Island of San Michele, next to her grandfather.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat – The Venice Blog

Venetian Cat Bauer – The Venice Blog

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