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Title: Venice and its Story
Author: Okey, Thomas, 1852-1935
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_First Edition, October 1903_
_Second Edition, November 1903_
_Third, Revised and Cheaper Edition, September 1910_

_All Rights Reserved_



(In the National Gallery)]





    “_Italie is the face of Europe
     Venice the eie of Italie._”


The History of Venice is the history of a State unparalleled in Europe
for permanence and stability. For centuries Venice occupied that
position of maritime supremacy now held by Great Britain, and time was
when an English king was fain to crave the loan of a few warships to
vindicate his rights in France. The autonomy of the Venetian Republic so
imposed on men’s minds that it was regarded as in the very nature of
things, and even so acute an observer as Voltaire wrote in the
_Dictionnaire Philosophique_, less than three decades before her fall:
“Venice has preserved her independence during eleven centuries, and I
flatter myself will preserve it for ever.”

In the course of our story we have freely drawn from the old chronicles,
while not neglecting modern historians, chiefest of whom is the
Triestine Hebrew scholar, Samuele Romanin. Indeed, all that has been
written on Venetian history during the past forty years does but
increase our admiration for the imperturbable industry and sagacious
judgment of the author of the _Storia Documentata di Venezia_, to whom
our heaviest debt is due.

The history, criticism and appreciation of Venetian architecture and
Venetian painting are indissolubly associated with the genius of Ruskin,
and notwithstanding some waywardness of judgment and spoilt-child
philosophy, his writings are, and ever will be, the classic works on the
subject. Among more recent authorities we are indebted to the
publications of Berenson, Bode, Burckhardt, Ludwig, Morelli, and

For purposes of description we have divided the city and outlying
islands of the Venetian lagoon into twenty sections, arranged rather
with regard to their relative historical and artistic importance than to
strict topographical considerations, although these have not been lost
sight of. In our quality of _cicerone_ we have drawn from an
acquaintance of the city at various times extending over a period of
twenty years: more detailed and practical information may be sought in
the admirable guide-books of Baedeker, Grant Allen, Gsellfels and

A pleasant duty is that of expressing our gratitude for personal help
and counsel to, among others, Mr Horatio F. Brown, Signor Cantalamessa
the courteous Director of the Accademia, Mr Bolton King, Signor Alfredo
Melani, and Mr René Spiers.

In order not to burden our pages with many notes we have limited
references to such passages as seemed specially to call for them,
exigencies of space having straitened a wide subject within close
bounds. If, however, the perusal of this slight and imperfect sketch may
lead intending travellers to turn to richer springs--and in that hope we
have appended a list of the main sources[1] from which we have
drawn--our pleasant labours will be amply rewarded. It is with travel as
with other modes of observation. The eye will see what the mind takes
with it, for as the Spanish proverb quoted by Dr Johnson runs: “He who
would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the
Indies with him.”



























_The Fine Arts at Venice_

















































BY GIOVANNI BELLINI      _Frontispiece_

THE CUSTOMS HOUSE      _facing page_                                   6

BASIN OF S. MARCO                                                     10

S. MARCO FROM PIAZZETTA DEI LEONI                                     23

A GIRL OF CASTELLO                                                    25

S. MARCO--FAÇADE                                                      26

S. MARCO--SHRINE OF THE HOLY CROSS                                    37

S. MARCO--INTERIOR--CHAPEL OF S. CLEMENTE                             45

THE PIAZZETTA AND COLUMN OF ST MARK                                   50

S. MARCO--CHOIR                                                       61

SUNSET ON THE ZATTERE                                                 71

ISLE OF S. FRANCESCO DEL DESERTO                                      74

S. MARCO FROM COLONNADE OF PALAZZO DUCALE                             82

DOGE’S PALACE FROM ISOLA S. GIORGIO                                   90

ON THE GRAND CANAL                                                    96

BOATS AT ANCHOR                                                      103

THE CLOCK TOWER AND ENTRANCE TO MERCERIA                             108

S. GIORGIO AND THE SALUTE                                            116

SUNSET--MODERN VENICE                                                132

RIO AND PONTE DI SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE                                138

A FRUIT STALL                                                        149

THE FISH-MARKET                                                      158

CURIOSITY-SHOP NEAR PIAZZA                                           165

A WINE-SHOP                                                          172

PONTE DI RIALTO                                                      181

PONTE DI RIALTO FROM THE MARKET                                      190

IN THE PROCURATIE NUOVE                                              195

ON THE STEPS OF THE “REDENTORE”                                      204

A VENETIAN WOMAN                                                     213

A GONDOLIER                                                          220

I TRE PONTI                                                          229

PONTE DEI SOSPIRI                                                    244

GRAND CANAL--PALAZZI REZZONICO AND FOSCARI                           266

SCUOLA DI S. MARCO AND STATUE OF COLLEONI                            280

SCUOLA DI S. ROCCA                                                   285

S. FOSCA AND PALAZZO GIOVANELLI                                      293

RIO S. CASSIANO                                                      300

TIMBER BOATS                                                         309

CANNAREGGIO                                                          312

VENICE FROM THE LIDO                                                 320


_From Photographs by Alinari_

LAYARD. BY GENTILE BELLINI      _facing page_                        196

BY GIOVANNI BELLINI                                                  198

BY CARPACCIO                                                         198

BY CIMA                                                              200

CATENA                                                               202

THE DEAD CHRIST. IN THE ACCADEMIA. BY TITIAN                         204

THE ACCADEMIA. BY BORDONE                                            208

BY VERONESE                                                          210

PALACE. BY TINTORETTO                                                246

BONIFAZIO                                                            256

GIORGIONE                                                            300



HEADPIECE TO PART I. CHAPTER I.                                        1

ON THE LAGOONS                                                         3

S. FOSCA AND THE DUOMO, TORCELLO                                       4

PONTE S. GIUSTINA                                                      5

IN S. GIOBBE                                                           8

CLOISTERS OF S. GREGORIO                                              14

FISHING BOATS                                                         15

CLOISTER OF S. FRANCESCA DELLA VIGNA                                  18

S. PIETRO IN CASTELLO FROM S. ELENA                                   23

VINE PERGOLA ON THE GIUDECCA                                          31

THE SQUERO, S. TROVASO                                                40

FOREGROUND                                                            48

COLUMNS OF SS. MARK AND THEODORE                                      51

S. MARCO--INTERIOR, WITH PULPIT                                       58

S. MARCO--FAÇADE AND CAMPANILE                                        86


REMAINS OF MARCO POLO’S HOUSE                                         99

DOGE’S PALACE--SALA DEL MAGGIOR CONSIGLIO                            100

PONTE DI PAGLIA                                                      112

THE PALAZZI GIUSTINIANI AND FOSCARI                                  126

CLOISTER OF S. GREGORIO                                              142

STATUE OF BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI                                        145

BUST OF FRANCESCO FOSCARI                                            150

PALAZZO DARIO                                                        160

THE PIAZZETTA                                                        217

S. MARCO--MAIN PORTAL                                                224

S. MARCO--DETAIL OF ARCHIVOLT                                        225

S. MARCO--DETAIL OF MAIN DOOR                                        226

BYZANTINE RELIEF--NORTH SIDE, S. MARCO                               228

BYZANTINE RELIEF FROM SOUTH SIDE, S. MARCO                           229

CAPITALS, ATRIUM, S. MARCO                                           230

S. GIORGIO MAGGIORE                                                  236

DOGE’S PALACE--THE CORTILE                                           248


CA’ D’ORO                                                            268

PALAZZO VENDRAMIN                                                    271

TRAGHETTO AND CAMPO S. SAMUELE                                       272

STATUE OF BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI                                        280

HEADPIECE TO SECTION IX.                                             289

VENICE FROM THE PUBLIC GARDENS                                       290

WELL-HEAD, CAMPO S. GIOVANNI GRISOSTOMO                              294

THE RIALTO BRIDGE                                                    294

WELL-HEAD                                                            296

S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE                                                296

EDICT STONE, RIALTO                                                  301


COBBLERS’ GUILD HOUSE, CAMPO S. TOMÀ                                 307

FISHING BOATS ON THE GIUDECCA                                        311

HEADPIECE TO SECTION XVII.                                           314

MURANO                                                               315

VENICE FROM THE SOUTH                                                322



VENICE IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY                                      215





_The Foundation at Rialto_

                              “Venice seems a type
    Of life--’twixt blue and blue extends, a stripe,
    As life, the somewhat, hangs ’twixt nought and nought.”


Of the original home of the earliest settlers in that province of North
Italy known to the Latins as Venetia, little can be told with certainty.
Historians and antiquarians are pleased to bring them, under the name of
Heneti or Eneti, from Paphlagonia, and explain some characteristic
traits they subsequently developed--the love of colour and of display,
the softness of their dialect--by their eastern origin. They were an
independent, thriving and organised community when the Roman Empire
first accepted their aid in the fierce struggle against the invading
Gauls, and so they continued to be until they were absorbed as a
province of the Empire. The land they cultivated, “mervailous in corne,
wine, oyle, and all manner of fruites,” was one of the richest in
Europe. Its soil was formed by ages of alluvial deposit brought by the
rapid streams that drain the southern slopes of the Alps.

The traveller who enters Italy by any of the Alpine passes will not fail
to note the contrast between the northern streams and the more
torrential water-ways of the south, which, however, being soon checked
by the deposit they bring, grow slack and fray out into many and varying
channels, through which the waters find their way with small, at times
almost imperceptible, flow into the sea. So lazily do the rivers
discharge that the north-east shores of the Adriatic are formed of
sandbanks, shoals and islets, which for nigh a hundred miles from
Cavarzere to Grado constituted the _dogado_ of Venice. The famous
Venetian lagoon is confined to some thirty miles north of Chioggia, and
is divided into the _Laguna morta_, where the tide is scarcely felt, and
the _Laguna viva_, where the sea is studded with numerous islands and
islets protected by the _lidi_, a long line of remarkable breakwaters
formed by the prevailing set of the current to the west, with narrow
openings or _Porti_ through which the shallow tide ebbs and flows. This
natural barrier has made the existence of Venice possible, for the
islands on which the city is built afforded a refuge safe alike from
attack by sea or land. The colonisation, development and defence of
these lagoons and islands by settlers from the mainland make up the
early history of Venice. Some misapprehension exists as to the nature of
these settlements. The picture of terror-stricken and despoiled
fugitives from the cities of Venetia escaping from hordes of pursuing
Huns or Lombards to seek a refuge in the barren and uncertain soil of
mud-banks and storm-swept islands is true in part only. In many cases
the movement was a deliberately organised migration of urban
communities, with their officers, their craftsmen, their tools, their
sacred vessels, even the very stones of their churches, to towns and
villages already known to them. Among the settlers were men of all
classes--patrician and plebeian, rich and poor. “But they would receive
no man of servile condition, or a murderer, or of wicked life.”

[Illustration: ON THE LAGOONS]

Some islands were already inhabited by a hardy race of pilots and
fishermen: others by prosperous Roman patricians, with their villas,
farms, gardens and orchards. Grado was a busy commercial settlement with
rich vineyards and meadows, and joined to the mainland by a causeway
that led to Aquileia. Heraclea was rather a mainland than a lagoon city;
Torcello is said to have been a fashionable Roman watering-place, and
Roman remains have been found at S. Giorgio Maggiore. Much of the ground
was covered with pine forests, the haunts of game and other wild
creatures. For a long time the islands were not regarded by the settlers
as abiding places. Again and again many of them returned to their old
homes on the mainland when the invaders’ force was spent. It was only in
568 that the Lombards, more cruel, or perhaps more systematic in their
oppression than Marcoman or Hun, finally determined the Venetians to
make the lagoons their permanent home.

Who of us northmen that has reached the descending slope of an Alpine
pass, it may be through mist and sleet and snow, to gaze upon the rich
and luscious plains of Lombardy or Venetia smiling with vine and fruit
and corn; who that has felt the warm breath of sun-steeped Italy
caressing his face as he emerges from northern gloom, but will feel a
twinge of envy which is akin to covetousness, and which in strong and
masterful races quickly develops into lust of conquest?

In the fifth century of our era the Roman Empire decaying, like most
giants, at the extremities, lay defenceless before the inroads of those
forceful, elemental peoples who from north and east swept down the
passes to ravage the garden of Italy and to enslave her inhabitants. In
452 Venetia became the prey of God’s scourge--Attila. Aquileia, now a
poor village just within the Austrian frontier, but then a Roman city of
the first rank, was plundered. Altinum, a city famous for its strength
and wealth, resisted for a time but soon its inhabitants and those of
Padua, Asolo, Belluno and other mainland cities forsook their homes and
migrated to the lagoons.

The earliest settlements were twelve: Grado, Bibbione, Caorle, Jesolo
(now Cavallino), Eraclea, Torcello, Burano, Rivoalto (now Venice),
Malamocco, Poveglia, Cluges Minor (actual site now unknown, but not
Sotto Marina, as sometimes stated), Cluges Major (now Chioggia). Of
these, Grado was occupied by the Aquileians; Rivoalto and Malamocco by
the Paduans; Eraclea by the Bellonsese; Torcello and Burano by the
Altinese. To the pious imagination of chroniclers these migrations were
not without divine admonition. In 568 the terrible Lombards were
threatening Altinum, whose inhabitants entreated the help of heaven with
tears and prayers and fastings; and, lo! they saw the doves and many
other birds bearing their young in their beaks flying from their nests
in the walls of the city. This was interpreted as a sign from God that
they also were to expatriate themselves and seek safety in flight. They
divided into three bodies, one of which turned to Istria, another to
Ravenna. The third remained behind, uncertain whither to direct their
steps. Three days they fasted, and at length a voice was heard saying:
“_Salite alla torre e guardate agli astri._” (Ascend the tower and look
at the stars.)


[Illustration: PONTE S. GIUSTINA]

Their good Bishop Paul climbed the tower, and to his gaze the very stars
of the firmament seemed to set themselves in a constellation that
figured forth the fateful group of islands in the lagoon before him. His
flock, following this warning from heaven, went forth, headed by their
bishop and clergy bearing the sacred vessels and relics, and passed to
an island high and fertile, which they called Torcello, from one of the
twelve towers of their old city. The very hierarchy of heaven, from Our
Lord and His Blessed Mother to St Peter and the Baptist, even to
Giustina, the martyred little maid of Padua, appeared to Mauro, the
priest, in a vision, as he paced the sea shore, and in sweet voices bade
him build here a church and there a church in their honour. The
immigrants therefore had come to make the lagoons their permanent home.
Their new city was organised. In process of time churches were built;
trade guilds were formed; painters and mosaicists enriched the
buildings. The marble seat on the grass-grown piazza of Torcello, to
this day called Attila’s chair, was probably the official seat of the
tribune when he administered justice to the people.

It will be seen that no definite date can be assigned to the foundation
of Venice, though Sanudo is very sure it was in “the year ccccxxi., on
the xxv. of March, which was a Friday, that day on which our father Adam
was created, when about the hour of nones the first stone of St Giacomo
di Rivoalto was laid by the Paduans.” The great diarist gives a charming
picture of the earliest Venetians trading in fish and salt with their
little barks to the neighbouring shores: “They were a lowly people, who
esteemed mercy and innocency, and, above all, religion rather than
riches. They affected not to clothe them with ornaments, nor to seek
honours, but when need was they answered to the call.”

There is little doubt that originally the settlers were subject to the
Consuls at Padua, but in 466 they were strong enough to meet at Grado
and to elect their own tribunes, one for each of the twelve communities.
A passage in a famous letter of Cassiodorus to these _Tribuni Maritimi_
in 523 affords the first glimpse in history of the lagoon folk. The
secretary of Theodoric the Great writes urging them not to fail to
transport the tribute of oil, honey and wine from Istria to Ravenna, and
expatiates on their great security and the wonderful habitations that he
has seen, like sea-birds’ nests, half on land, half on sea, or like the
cyclades spread over the broad bosom of the waters. Their land is made
not by nature but by man, for the soil is strengthened by flexible
withy bands, and they oppose frail dykes to the waves of the sea. Their
boats are tied to posts before their doors like horses are on the
mainland. Rich and poor live in equality. They flee from the vice of
envy, to which the whole world is enslaved. Instead of plough and scythe
they handle cylinders. In their salt they produce a merchandise more
desired than gold, so all the fruits of the earth are at their command.

[Illustration: THE CUSTOMS HOUSE.]

About 530, when Narses the Eunuch began the great campaign which wrested
the Italian dominions of the Emperors from the Goths, the Venetians gave
him effective aid by transporting an army of Lombard mercenaries from
Aquileia to Ravenna. As a reward Narses sent some Byzantine masters, who
from the spoils of the enemy built the Church of St Theodore at Rivoalto
on a plot of ground known as the _Broglio_ or garden where now stands
the Basilica of St Mark.

Scarcely, however, were the Goths defeated, when in 568 Alboin and his
Lombards menaced the land. Longinus, who succeeded Narses in the
exarchate of Ravenna, came to Venice and asked her aid as subject to the
Emperor. He was given an honourable and festive welcome, but the
Venetians had bought their freedom at a great price and stoutly refused
to admit his claim. They declared that the second Venice which they had
made in the waters was a mighty habitation and their very own by right
of creation; that they feared no power of Prince or Emperor, for it
could not reach them. They, however, furnished a ship and sent an
embassy with Longinus to Constantinople, and in return for valuable
trading rights, agreed to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Emperor if
no formal oath were exacted.

In 584 the lagoon folk had so expanded that an additional tribune was
chosen for each community. Of these _Tribuni majores_ was formed a
federal council, the original tribunes now serving as heads of local



The golden age so lovingly dwelt upon by the early chroniclers was of
short duration. Already, before the institution of the new tribunes,
family and local feuds, the ambition of the tribunes and jealousy of the
people, led to bloody affrays in the _Pinete_ (pine forests) with which
the _lidi_ were clothed. Anarchy threatened the state; bands of Lombards
under the Duke of Friuli plundered the churches of Heraclea and Grado.
The crisis was met by the public spirit and wisdom of the Church. A
general meeting (_Arengo_) was called by the Patriarch of Grado at
Heraclea. Two vital problems came to the front--the organisation of
self-defence and the maintenance of public order. The whole Assembly
having invoked the name of Christ, the great churchman stood forth, and
after reviewing the political situation, proposed that all the tribunes
should be relegated to purely local offices, and a _Capo_ or chief
elected for life. His new polity was approved and in 697 Pauluccio
Anafesto was chosen first Doge and invested with sovereign powers. Thus
was constituted the Dogeship of Venice which, save for a short
interruption of six years, endured for eleven centuries. The Doge could
nominate, degrade or dismiss all public officers, convoke or dissolve
the _Arengo_ and the synod. The appointment of Patriarchs and Bishops
was subject to his veto. The military authority, entrusted to a Master
of the soldiers, was subordinate to him; foreign affairs were in his
hands, though the approval of the people was required to declare war or
conclude peace. He could impose taxes; his feudal dues and rights of
_corvée_ were extensive. His state was regal. When he went abroad, girt
with a sword and surrounded by his guards, a state umbrella was held
over him, lighted tapers were borne by his side, trumpets blared and
banners waved. He sat enthroned in an ivory chair, holding a sceptre,
and arrayed in a silk mantle with a fringe of gold fastened by a gold
clasp over a tightly fitting tunic trimmed with ermine; he wore red hose
and a high biretta richly jewelled, which was subsequently shortened by
constricting the middle so as to form two lobes, one of which soon
disappeared, and the familiar horned cap of the later Doges was evolved.
A close cap of fine linen was worn beneath, so that when the biretta was
raised his head should be covered as a mark of dignity. The Doge was no
_fainéant_. He rose before the dawn, and having heard mass went forth to
judge the people and transact the business of the day. On solemn
occasions he gave his benediction. The blessing of God was invoked upon
him in the litany. The election, more or less democratic until the
abolition of the _Arengo_ in 1423, was made by the whole people, who
were summoned from Grado to Cavarzere. Their chosen one was acclaimed
and carried shoulder high to the church, which he entered barefoot, and
there swore to govern according to the laws and to work for the good of
the people. The result of the election was communicated to the Pope and
the Emperor; to the latter usually by the Doge’s son in person.

Anafesto had a difficult task. The young state lay between two mighty
powers: Lombards or Franks and Pope in the west, the Byzantine Emperor
in the east. Only by vigilance and prudence could she escape subjection.
And these rival interests were active within her borders--aristocratic
Heraclea leaning towards the Eastern Empire; democratic Malamocco and
Jesolo towards the Western kingdoms and the Pope. One of the first acts
of the new Doge, after securing internal peace, was to conclude a treaty
with Luitprand, King of the Lombards, by which the boundaries of the
Republic were defined, and in return for an annual payment, valuable
rights of wood-cutting and horse-breeding and trading were conceded. But
political jealousy dies hard. Two powerful families revolted in 717, and
the Doge perished in a civil broil in the Pineta of Jesolo.

During the reign of the third Doge, Orso of Heraclea, the Venetians were
called to meet a new danger. The rise of the Iconoclasts in the early
eighth century, and the zeal of their protagonist, the Emperor Leo III.,
had set east and west aflame. Leo’s attempt to enforce the decree
against the use of images in the western Church was met by an invitation
to the Lombards from the Pope to attack the seat of the eastern power in
Italy. War was the very breath of their nostrils, and they were not slow
to respond. Ravenna was besieged and captured and the Pentapolis
occupied.[2] The Exarch Paul fled to the lagoons and appealed to Orso
for help. The fugitive enlarged on the danger to Venice of the advancing
Lombards, now at their very door. The Doge agreed to furnish a fleet,
and by successful strategy Ravenna was surprised and recaptured and the
Exarchate restored. The gratified Emperor rewarded the Venetians by
conferring the title of Hypatos (knight) on their Doge, who adopted it
as a family name.

This imperial policy was, however, bitterly resented by the popular
party. A civil war ensued which lasted two years, and ended in the
defeat of the Heracleans, the murder of the Doge, and the banishment of
his son. Another experiment in statecraft was now made. The Dogeship was
abolished, and the Master of the soldiers appointed head of the State
for a term of one year. This new departure proved disastrous. After six
years of civil discord, the last of the Masters, a Heraclean, was
captured and blinded by the opposite party. An _Arengo_ was called, this
time at Malamocco, and a compromise effected. Deodato, son of Orso, a
Heraclean, was made Doge at Malamocco, whither the capital was now
transferred. But Heraclea and Jesolo were rivals, fierce as ever, for
the ducal chair. The internecine strife went on with its savage
incidents. Assassination, blinding,[3] or banishment were the price of
defeat. At length, by the election of Maurizio Galbaio in 764, “noble by
race, nobler in deeds,” the distracted state was ruled with wisdom and
firmness, and faction for a time was silenced.

[Illustration: BASIN OF S. MARCO.]

The epoch-making victory of Charles of the Hammer over the Arabs at
Tours had drawn the eyes of all men to France, and to a mighty race of
princes destined to change the face of Europe. The restless Lombards in
752 had reoccupied Ravenna and the Pentapolis, and the Pope turned to
the new Carlovingian dynasty for help against them. Pepin answered to
the call, wrested the cities from their hands, and gave them to the
Pope, who thus became a temporal sovereign. Twenty years later the
papacy was again constrained to summon help. Charlemagne, Pepin’s son,
crossed the Alps by the Great St Bernard pass, fell like a thunderbolt
of war on the Lombards, and in 774 their dominion was finally crushed by
the capture of Desiderio, their King, and Pavia, their royal city.
Romanin argues from the silence of the chroniclers that the Venetians
took no active part in the siege of Pavia, but from an old inscription
in Venetian, on a thin plate of hammered lead,[4] preserved in the
British Museum, we learn that on the invitation of Charlemagne, the
Venetians sent a fleet of twenty-four galleys, with four nobles who knew
the art of war (_saveva far la guara_) up the Po to the siege, and had
the honour of guarding the captive King. Venice had indeed watched every
phase of the struggle, seizing, as was her wont, any opportunity that
offered for extending the trading privileges so vital to her existence.
By secret information to the Church from her merchants at
Constantinople, she had nipped a plot to recover the Exarchate, now for
ever lost to the Greek Emperors. But in 781 Pepin, son of Charlemagne,
had been crowned King of Italy by the Pope; the power of the Franks was
growing apace, and their alliance with a territorial Pope alarmed the
Heraclean party. They believed a wiser policy was to form an alliance
with the weaker Empire far in the east against the Franks. In 778 Doge
Maurizio Galbaio was permitted, on the plea of infirmity, to associate
his son Giovanni with him, and on the death of Maurizio, the son stepped
into his father’s office, thus effecting a subtle change in the nature
of the Dogeship, by no means pleasing to the democratic party. The
Franks were not long in making their power felt. Venetian merchants had
acquired some territory near Ravenna, and many trading centres in the
neighbouring cities. They were incorrigible slave traders. Pope
Zacharias, a generation before, had been moved to compassion on seeing
in Rome groups of Christian slaves,[5] men and women, belonging to
Venetian merchants, destined to be sold to the pagans in Africa. He paid
their price and set them at liberty. Charlemagne had recently published
an edict against the traffic in slaves, and now called on Pope Hadrian
to take action. The Venetians were expelled from Ravenna and the
Pentapolis. In 797 the new see of Olivolo which had been created a few
years before to meet the growing needs of the population, became vacant,
and the new Doge preferred Christophorus Damiatus, a young Greek to the
bishopric. The Patriarch of Grado, around whom the Frankish party
centred, refused to consecrate one whom he regarded as a nominee of the
Byzantine Emperor, and excommunicated Bishop and Doge. The Doge’s answer
was swift and terrible. He despatched his son Maurizio with a fleet to
Grado; the city was attacked; the Patriarch captured, thrown from the
tower of his palace, and dashed to pieces. To allay popular indignation,
Fortunatus, a nephew of the murdered Patriarch was appointed in his
stead. The new prelate soon showed of what stuff he was made. With
infinite resource and indomitable purpose he set himself to avenge the
insult to the Church, and, but for the premature discovery of the plot,
would have wrought the destruction of the Doge and his party. Fortunatus
fled to the court of Charlemagne, who was now created Holy Roman
Emperor, and harbouring no tender feelings towards the rebellious
children of the lagoons. Obelerio, tribune of Malamocco, and the other
heads of the conspiracy found safety at Treviso, whence they stirred
their partizans to action with decisive effect. The Doge and his son
were exiled to Mantua; Obelerio was proclaimed Doge in 804; the triumph
of the Frankish party was complete. The Heracleans, however, soon
rallied. In their civil fury they fell upon Jesolo, and almost wiped it
out. The Doge immediately led a punitive expedition to Heraclea, and
wreaked a similar vengeance on that hot-bed of Byzantine faction. The
situation was now felt to be unbearable. By general consent a meeting of
the whole _dogado_ was called, and it was decided that in order to make
peace, the remaining populations of Heraclea and of Jesolo should be
transported to Malamocco.

Fortunatus meanwhile was watching events at Istria. Under the sun of
Charlemagne’s favours he had waxed rich and powerful. He possessed four
ships, and traded under royal patronage wherever the new western
Emperor’s power reached. By skilful diplomacy he effected his recall to
Grado, and placed a Frankish partizan in the see of Olivolo. But the
Heracleans had lost their home, not their ideals and policy. They
appealed to the Byzantine Emperor, and a Greek fleet sailed up the
Adriatic. Fortunatus once again was a fugitive. The Doge and his party
protested a loyalty to their suzerain, which in 809 was translated into
acts by the despatch of a fleet to aid him to recover the exarchate for
the Greeks. It was unsuccessful, but none the less irritating to the
Pope and Emperor, who now determined to subdue the Venetians and
incorporate them into the Holy Roman Empire of the West. The immediate
cause of the rupture is not known, but when the princes of the earth are
bent on war a pretext is seldom hard to find. A great empire, aiming at
universal dominion, is ill at ease with a sturdy freedom-loving state on
its borders, and the far-reaching arm of the invincible Carlovingians
was stretched forth to grasp, as they thought, an easy prey.

In the stress of a common danger, faction was silenced. Obelerio and his
brother Beato, whom he had associated with him a year after he was
proclaimed Doge, advised that the Venetians should agree with their
adversary before it was too late, but a wave of popular indignation
swept them from power, and Angelo Participazio, a Heraclean by birth,
and one of the tribunes of Rivoalto, was made head of a provisional
government of national defence. The churches were filled with earnest,
determined men, entreating with fasting and prayer the divine aid in
their hour of need; a call was made on every citizen at home and abroad
to hasten to the defence of the fatherland. Provisions were accumulated,
ships built, fortifications raised, channels blocked by chains and
sunken hulks, guide posts drawn.


Meanwhile, King Pepin had summoned his allies, and a fleet sailed up to
the lagoons. On the mainland the advance of the Frankish armies was
irresistible; north and south they closed in on the Venetians. Grado
soon fell; Brondolo, the Chioggie, and other cities were captured; fire
and sword wasted their settlements. The _porti_ of Brondolo,
Chioggia, and Pelestrina were forced, Malamocco[6] the capital
threatened. At this crisis the momentous decision was taken to abandon
Malamocco and concentrate at Rivoalto (Rialto), the compact group of
islands between the mainland and the _lidi_.

[Illustration: FISHING BOATS]

On the _lido_ of Pelestrina, south of S. Pietro in Volta, where the
steamer to Chioggia now calls, is the little fishing village of Porto
Secco. Here in olden times was a _porto_ called Albiola. North of this
passage was the city of Albiola on the _lido_ which stretched towards
Malamocco. South began the _lido_ of Pelestrina. It was here that,
according to tradition, a stand was made. The Frankish host of horse and
foot gathered on the _lido_ of Albiola, waiting for their fleet to force
the _porto_, which was deep enough to allow of the passage of the
transports. Opposite, on the _lido_ of Pelestrina, stood the Venetians
near their boats, which were armoured with ramparts of sails, cordages,
and masts, behind which their archers did much execution. For nigh six
months the desperate fight was waged. “Ye are my subjects,” cried Pepin,
“since from my lands ye come.” The Venetians answered, “We will be
subject to the Emperor[7] of the Romans, not to thee.” Malamocco was at
length captured, but was found to be deserted. Rough rafts and pontoons
were constructed to thread the maze of shallow channels that led to
Rivoalto, but the light, waspish boats of the Venetians drove them on to
the shoals by the canal Orfano, where they were caught front and rear,
and those who escaped suffocation in the water and the mud were quickly
cut down by their enemies. The summer heats came; the arrows of the sun,
more deadly than Venetian arms, wrought havoc among the Franks, whose
forces wasted away, and the Carlovingians were baffled. A Greek fleet
threatening his rear, forced Pepin to come to terms. He promised to
withdraw, to restore the captured territory, and to reaffirm all the
ancient trading rights and privileges in his dominions in return for an
annual payment. The Venetians emerged from the struggle a victorious and
a united people centred at Rialto, and the State of Venice was now
firmly rooted in the lagoons.


     _St Mark the Patron of Venice--The Brides of St Mark--Conquest of
     Dalmatia--Limitation of the Doge’s Power_

    “But I must tellen verilie
     Of St Marke’s ...
     ... holy shrine
     Exalt amid the tapers’ shine
     At Venice.”


An immediate outburst of creative energy was the result of the victory.
Angelo Participazio was chosen Doge and according to precedent
associated his son with him. He set himself to enlarge, fortify and
embellish Rialto. The ravaged settlements of the Chioggie, Brondolo,
Pelestrina and Albiola were rebuilt, and a new Heraclea, called _Città
nuova_, rose on the ruins of the old capital. Dykes were built, rivers
diverted and canals bridged. A ducal palace was erected near the Church
of St Theodore, and a church to S. Pietro at Olivolo. The Chapel and
Convent of S. Zaccaria were founded and endowed by the Doge to contain
the body of S. Zaccaria, father of the Baptist, and other relics given
to the Venetians by Leo the Eastern Emperor.


There was an old tradition among the early settlers at Rialto that St
Mark on his way from Alexandria to preach the Faith in Aquileia was
caught in a violent storm and forced to land on one of the Rialtine
islands where now stands the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna. As he
stepped forth from his bark an angel saluted him saying: “_Pace a te
Marco Evangelista mio_” (Peace to thee Mark my Evangelist), and
announced that one day his body should find a resting-place and
veneration at Rialto. Traditions like prophecies have a way of bringing
their own fulfilment, and in the brief reign of Angelo’s son Giustiniani
(827-829) some Venetians trading with the infidels in defiance of
imperial prohibition succeeded in stealing the Evangelist’s body and
carrying it to Venice. The story of “how the precious body of Monsignor
S. Marco came to Venice” is thus told by Da Canale. “Now at this time
there was a ship of the Venetians at Alexandria on which were three
valiant men. The one called Messer Rustico of Torcello, the other Messer
Buono of Malamocco, the third Messer Stauracio; which three valiant men
had great hope and devotion to bring the body of S. Marco to Venice, and
they so got round (_s’en alerent tant autour_) the guardian of the body
that having won his friendship they said to him, Messer, if thou wilt
come with us to Venice and bear away the body of Monsignor S. Marco thou
shalt become a rich man. And when he, who was called Theodore, heard
this he answered: Sirs, hold your peace, say not so, that may not be in
any wise, for the pagans hold it more precious than aught else in the
world, and if they espied us would surely cut off our heads. Then said
they, wait until the blessed Evangelist command thee. And it came to
pass that there entered into the heart of this worthy guardian a desire
to bear away the body, and he came back to them saying: Sirs, how can we
take away Monsignor S. Marco without the knowledge of any man? And one
answered: Right wisely will we do it. And they went hastily by night to
the sepulchre where the body was and put it in a basket and covered it
with cabbages and swine’s flesh, and they took another body, laid it in
the tomb in the very same cloth from which the body of Monsignor S.
Marco had been taken and sealed the tomb as it was before. And the
valiant men bore the body to the ship in that same basket as I have told
of, and for dread of the pagans slung it to a mast of their ship. What
shall I tell you? At that very moment when they opened the tomb so sweet
and so great an odour spread through the midst of the city that all the
spiceries in Alexandria could not have caused the like. Wherefore the
pagans said: Mark is stirring, for they were wont to smell such
fragrance every year. Nevertheless there were of them who misdoubted and
went to the tomb and opened it and seeing the body I have told of in St
Mark’s shroud were satisfied. And some there were who came to the ship
and searched it about, but when they saw the swine’s flesh by the mast
did straightly flee from the ship crying, Kanzir! Kanzir! which is to
say, Pork! Pork! Now the wind was fair and strong, and they set sail for
Venice and on the third day came by Romania (Greece). And a mighty wind
arose by night when the mariners were sleeping, and the ship was driving
on to the rocks; but the precious Evangelist awakened the master mariner
and said to him: Look that thou set down the sails, for we are making
for the land. And the master awakened the shipmen and they struck the
sails. And if anyone will know the truth let him come to Venice and see
the fair Church of Monsignor S. Marco, and look in front of this fair
church, for there is inscribed all this story even as I have related it,
and likewise he will gain the great pardon of vii. years which Monsignor
the Apostle (the Pope) granted to all who should go to that fair

The Doge and clergy welcomed the body with great ceremony, the traders
were forgiven their unlawful voyage, and St Mark became the patron of
the Republic instead of St Theodore. A modest little chapel was begun on
land acquired from the nuns of S. Zaccaria in the Broglio, which was
still a grass-grown field planted with trees bounded by the Canal
Battario, which flowed across what is now the Piazza of St Mark. In the
next reign the body, which had been temporarily placed in the ducal
palace, was solemnly transferred to its shrine in the new chapel of St
Mark and Stauracio appointed Primicerio or President of the Chapter.

In 829 Giov. Participazio, the third of the dynasty, began his uneasy
tenure of eight years. Obelerio plotted to regain his lost power in
Venice, but was foiled and executed, and his head exposed on a stake. A
more successful rival was the Tribune Caroso, who worked on popular
suspicion of the hereditary tendencies in the reigning family, and drove
Giovanni to exile in France. Caroso’s tyranny, however, was a bad
exchange for the milder rule of the exiled Doge. The usurper was
overthrown and blinded, and Giovanni recalled. But the same jealousy on
the part of the people which made Caroso’s _coup d’état_ possible again
manifested itself. The Doge was seized as he was returning on St Peter’s
Day from the church at Olivolo; his hair and beard were shaven, and he
was forced to retire into a monastery at Grado.

Pietro Tradonico, the chosen of the democracy in 836, was much occupied
with the pirates who, from their rocky fastnesses in the creeks and
bays of the Dalmatian coast, swooped down on the rich Venetian argosies
as they sailed the Adriatic. By a first expedition he reduced their
chiefs for a while to submission; a second was less happy in its

The tide of Saracen invasion was met at Caorle and rolled back, and two
great ships of war were constructed to guard the _porti_. Amid the
stress of war the arts of diplomacy were not neglected. A treaty still
exists, dated 840, between Lothair, “by Divine Providence Imperator
Augustus and the most glorious Duke of the Venetians,” for a period of
five years: their relations in peace and war are defined; mutual
restitution of runaway slaves is promised, and traffic in the subjects
of the contracting powers prohibited; the inviolability of ambassadors
and of correspondence assured. Pietro had the honour of welcoming the
first royal tourists (855) in the person of King Louis II. of Italy and
his consort, who spent three days at Venice. The defeated Participazi
were, however, biding their time. In 864 the people’s Doge was
assassinated when leaving the Church of S. Zaccaria after Vespers and
his body lay on the ground until nightfall, when the pious nuns gave it
sepulture in the atrium of their church. The chroniclers record the
great wisdom and piety of Orso Participazio, who succeeded the murdered
Doge. He cleared the seas of pirates, and sought, by calling a synod of
clergy and laity, to purge Venice from the iniquitous traffic in slaves,
which continued to stain her commerce. Rialto was made healthier by
drainage and building; Dorsodura peopled. The growth of the arts of
peace may be measured by the fact that the Venetians were able at this
time to make a present of twelve bells to the Greek Emperor. Orso died
full of years and honours in 881, and was buried in S. Zaccaria. During
the short reign of his son Giovanni a descent was made on Comacchio, a
city on the mainland north of Ravenna, whose growing power and commerce
roused the jealousy of Venice. The Venetians had long memories, and the
help given to Pepin was now avenged by the devastation of the city and
the country even up to the walls of Ravenna. In 887 Pietro Candiano, a
devout Christian, and a wise and brave prince, was elected, and after a
reign of five months met a soldier’s death fighting against the pirates.
Pietro Tribuno, who succeeded him, was called upon to face a new danger.
In the spring of 900 the Hungarians came down the usual track of the
barbarian invaders by the Fruilian passes--“that most baneful gate left
open by nature for the chastisement of the sins of Italy”--and ravaged
the land. They were held too cheaply by Berengarius, King of Italy, and
flushed with victory, spread terror even to the lagoons. The
preparations made to resist Pepin were renewed. Rialto was fortified and
a castle built on the island of Olivolo, which is called Castello to
this day. By the way of the Franks the terrible barbarians overran the
outer cities of the _dogado_, and made for the _Porto_ of Albiola. The
Venetian fleet met them, happy omen, at the very spot where Pepin’s
might was crushed. A fierce fight ensued, and the battle was again to
the islanders. The Hungarians were scattered, and fled, never to return;
Pietro was hailed by Berengarius preserver of the public liberty, and
was honoured by the Eastern Emperor. Two years later the foundations of
the old Campanile were laid in a spot where a great elder tree
flourished. At the death of the Doge in 912 the Participazii returned to

Orso Participazio II. (912) was a saintly and righteous prince who
retired to a monastery after a peaceful reign of twenty years, during
which the Venetians obtained from the Emperor Rudolph a confirmation of
the right to coin their own money. How great was the expansion of their
trade is illustrated in the reign of the next Doge, Pietro Candiano II.
(932), who, by the simple expedient of a commercial boycott, brought the
arbitrary feudal lord of Istria to his knees. In 942, after a short and
uneventful term of power by the rival dynasty, Candiano’s son Pietro
became Doge.



A romantic incident in the ever-recurring battles with the Narentine
(Slav) pirates may be referred to this reign. On the feast of the
translation of St Mark it was the custom for the marriageable damsels of
Venice to repair to S. Pietro in Castello, bearing their dowries with
them in caskets, to be formally betrothed to their lovers and receive
the benediction of the Church. Informed of this anniversary, some
pirates concealed themselves in the thick bush which then covered part
of the island, and during the ceremony forced their way into the church,
seized brides and dowries, and regained their boats. The Doge, who was
present, hastened from the church, and called the people to arms. Some
vessels belonging to the Cabinet-makers’ Guild, whose quarter was near
the Church of S. Maria Formosa, were offered to the Doge. The avengers
set forth in pursuit, and came upon the pirates dividing their booty in
a remote part of the lagoon of Caorle, afterwards called _porto delle
Donzelle_, defeated them, and returned in triumph to Rialto with brides
and dowries, the Cabinet-makers having greatly distinguished themselves.
To commemorate the rape and rescue of the brides of St Mark, the Doges
were used on the day of the Purification to proceed in solemn state to
the Church of S. Maria Formosa to render thanks to the Virgin. Twelve
poor girls, the _Marie_, were dowered and took part in the procession,
together with the chief guilds of Venice. Simple in its origin, the
celebration became more and more sumptuous, till at length so great was
the burden on the private resources of the families whose lot it was to
provide for the _Marie_, that in 1271 the number was reduced to four.
Later, a tax was imposed on every family to meet the cost of the eight
days’ _festa_. In 1379 the funds were swallowed up in the financial
demands of the Genoese wars, and all that remained of the old
magnificence was the annual visit of the Doge to the church, and the
offering made to him by the parish priest of oranges, muscat wine, and
gilded straw hats. The origin of the Doge’s attendance at this church,
and of the quaint offerings, is traced to a legend that the
Cabinet-makers, in acknowledgment of their prowess, asked of the Doge
the favour of an annual visit. To the Doge’s objection, “But if it be
too hot,” they answered, “We will give you refreshment”; and to the
further objection, “But if it rain,” they answered, “We will furnish you
with hats.” The custom lasted till the end of the Republic. Da Canale
gives a graphic description of the festival as it was celebrated in the
thirteenth century. On the vigil of the feast of the translation of St
Mark, a company of noble youths came by water to the ducal palace, and
having distributed banners to some children, formed in line two by two,
accompanied by trumpeters and players of cymbals, and by other youths
bearing trays of silver loaded with sweets, silver vessels filled with
wine, and cups of gold and silver. The clergy followed, arrayed in
Calamanco cloth of gold, chanting a litany, and the whole procession
went its way to S. Maria Formosa, where a number of dames and damsels
were met, to whom wine and sweets were presented. On the last day of
January the procession was renewed with greater splendour. Over five
hundred banners were distributed, and more than a hundred lads bearing
crosses of silver took part. Following the priests came a clerk, dressed
as the Virgin, in Damascus cloth of gold, borne in a richly decorated
chair on the shoulders of four men, gonfalons resplendent with gold
waving around. The Doge, surrounded by the Venetian nobility, stood at a
window of the ducal palace, while three of the clergy chanted the usual
lauds of his greatness and power. The Doge then joined the procession,
which wended its way to S. Maria Formosa. Here stood another clerk
dressed as the angel Gabriel, who sang the “Hail Mary” as the figure of
the Virgin appeared. The ceremony being ended, twelve great banquets
were held, at each of which one of the _Marie_ was present, clad in
cloth of gold adorned with jewels and pearls innumerable, and wearing a
crown of gold set with precious stones. On the day following, a gorgeous
aquatic pageant, more than a mile and a half in length, with the Doge in
his _mastro nave_, the clergy and the _Marie_ made the tour of the Grand
Canal, and “if you were there you could see the whole waters covered
with boats filled with men and women, so that no one could count them,
and a throng of dames and damsels at the windows and on the banks,
apparelled so richly that none in Venice might surpass them.” Regattas,
balls, and music followed; the whole city gave itself up to joy and

[Illustration: A GIRL OF CASTELLO.]

Pietro Candiano’s reign of seventeen years set in storm and calamity.
His son and colleague, Pietro, rebelled, and sought to drive his father
from the throne. There was a sharp fight on the Piazza; the rebellion
collapsed and the Venetian Absalom was only saved from death by the
entreaties of his aged father. He was excluded from the succession and
banished, but only to turn pirate and harry his countrymen. The scourge
of the plague and sorrow for his son’s impiety embittered the last days
of the old Doge, and in 959 he died a broken-hearted man. But scarce was
he laid to rest when a splendid fleet, gay with banners, bore a
deputation of nobles and clergy to Ravenna to invite the proscribed
pirate to become lord of Venice: the pressure of a powerful family and
the fear of civil discord had led to the recall of the only prince who
seemed strong enough to rule the troubled state. He began by blinding
and exiling the Bishop of Torcello, guilty of simony, and by calling a
synod to deal again with the persistent abomination of the slave trade
at Venice. There was no concealment. Slaves, chiefly young girls from
twelve to sixteen years of age, bought in the ports of Russia and
Circassia, were openly sold by auction at Venice and the deed of sale
drawn up by a notary. Doge, clergy and people met in St Mark’s and the
disgraceful traffic was again prohibited under severe penalties. Another
scandal of Venetian commerce was challenged by the Greek Emperor, who in
971 sent an embassy to Venice threatening to burn cargo and crew of any
vessel found trading in munitions of war with the Saracens. It was
decided that no arms, or iron, or wood for naval construction should be
sold to the infidels, exception being made of utensils of carved wood,
such as goblets, platters, basins.

But the demons of Pride and Ambition still lurked in the unquiet breast
of the Doge. He forced his wife to take the veil at S. Zaccaria that he
might marry Gualdrada, sister of the Marquis of Tuscany, who brought him
a rich dowry of money and lands. He affected a state of Imperial
magnificence, surrounded himself with mercenaries and dragged his
subjects to fight for his feudal rights on the mainland. The indignant
populace rose in revolt and attacked the palace. Foiled in their purpose
by the devotion of the Doge’s foreign guards, the insurgents fired the
adjacent houses and drove the doomed prince to seek safety by a passage
that led into the atrium of St Mark’s. Here he was met by a company of
Venetian nobles to whom he prayed: “And have you, too, my brothers,
willed my destruction. If I have sinned in word or deed, grant me life
and I will remedy all.” There was an angry shout of, “He is worthy of
death,” and a dozen weapons were plunged into his breast. His infant son
was spitted on a spear in its nurse’s arms; the hated mercenaries were
slain. The bodies of father and babe were cast to the shambles, and only
redeemed by the entreaties of a saintly monk who removed them for
burial to the abbey of S. Ilario.

[Illustration: S. MARCO FAÇADE.]

In a city built mainly of wood, fire is a disastrous weapon. Their
vengeance glutted, the revolutionists turned to count the cost, and were
sobered. The churches of St Theodore, St Mark and S. Maria Zobenigo, the
ducal palace, three hundred houses and a large number of factories were
destroyed. It was a subdued assembly that met in S. Pietro on August
12th, 976, and elected Pietro Orseolo, a rich patrician descended from
an ancient Roman family of the earliest settlers in Torcello. Threats of
Imperial vengeance hung over the Republic, and Gualdrada’s claims for
compensation had to be met. For this, and to rebuild the city, a subsidy
of a _decima_ was voted to be imposed on the property of each citizen.
Artificers were brought from Constantinople and plans for a new St
Mark’s[8] and a new palace made. The Doge dedicated nearly all his
patrimony to the building; founded a hospital for the sick poor near the
Campanile, and spent much time as well as money in works of charity. He
soon grew weary of the cares of state, and an opportune visit of the
Abbot of St Michael’s in Aquitaine to Venice confirmed his desire to
enter a cloister. He asked for time to prepare. The abbot promised to
return and claim him. A year later, on a September night, the abbot and
two friars repaired to the monastery of S. Ilario, where they were met
by the Doge, his son-in-law and a friend, disguised as pilgrims. Horses
were in waiting; they were ferried across the lagoon, and at full speed
the party rode for France. On the morrow the Venetians awoke to find
their beloved prince fled and the ducal chair vacant. The Candiani who
had never ceased intriguing to regain power were ready, and their
nominee, Vitale Candiano, was raised to the Dogeship, to retire after
fourteen months, sick and disillusioned, to die in a monastery. Pietro
Memo succeeded him in 978, a feeble prince, whose reign was dishonoured
by the rise of the Caloprini and Morosini factions that in the end
nearly compassed the destruction of Venetian liberties. It was the old
strife renewed with increased bitterness. The Morosini being partisans
of the Orseoli favoured the Byzantines: the Caloprini standing for the
Candiani leaned on the western powers. For the first and last time in
her history Venice saw her children traitorously inviting a foreign
sovereign to enslave their fatherland. The Caloprini, having
assassinated Dom. Morosini, fled to the court of Otho II., and impiously
laying bare the weak places in their country’s defences, called him to
conquest. The Emperor was nothing loth. Venice was a standing challenge
to the Empire; the only state in Western Europe that stubbornly refused
to be absorbed in the feudal system. His subjects were forbidden to
trade with the Republic; her food supplies were cut off; her enemies
goaded on to attack her; the Caloprini faction in Venice stirred to
rebellion; ships of war collected to blockade if not to attack the
islands. It was the gravest danger that had ever threatened Venice, for
the foes were partly those of her own household. But the stars, which
watched over her birth, seemed now in their courses to fight for her
salvation. The mighty arm of the Emperor was raised to crush the little
state, when the angel of death touched him and it fell impotently to his

At this epoch arose to guide her destinies one of the greatest princes
that ever sat in the ducal chair. Memo, suspected of complicity in a
more than usually atrocious assassination, was deposed and forced to
enter a monastery, and in 991 Pietro Orseolo II. began his eventful
reign. By his consummate statesmanship the Republic soon found herself
at peace with east and west and able to deal with the problem of the
Adriatic pirates. The Doge at once abolished the feeble expedient of
paying blackmail to their chiefs, and on a renewal of their depredations
chastised them into respect. The unhappy borderland along the Dalmatian
coast, nominally under the lordship of the eastern Empire, but actually
eluding control by east or west, was dotted with a number of small
trading communities--Zara, Trau, Spalato, and Ragusa--continually
harassed by Slav and Saracen pirates from the sea and by Croats on land.
The defeated pirates in their rage now united with the Croats and turned
on the Dalmatians, who appealed to Venice, the only power which seemed
able to protect them. The Doge at once grasped the importance to
Venetian commerce of a protectorate over Dalmatia. The greatest fleet
that had hitherto sailed from Venetian waters set forth with banners
consecrated by the Church to police the Adriatic. The voyage was a
triumphant procession. Chief after chief submitted. At Zara and
elsewhere the Venetians were magnificently received: the last stronghold
of the pirates, impregnable Lagosta, yielded to the splendid courage of
the Venetian seamen. Slavs and Croats were cowed and hostages given for
future good behaviour. The woods of Curzola now made Venice independent
of Italy for timber. It was the first stage in her development as a
European power. The title of Doge of Dalmatia was added to that of Doge
of Venice and a ceremony instituted which a hundred and eighty years
later became the famous _Sposalazio del Mare_ or Wedding of the
Adriatic. On the morning of Ascension Day a State barge covered with
cloth of gold bearing the clergy of the Chapter of St Mark’s in full
canonicals and furnished with a vessel of water, a vase of salt and an
aspersoir of olive branches, sailed to the Canal of S. Nicolo del Lido
to await the Doge’s barge, called later the Bucintoro. On its arrival
two Canons intoned the litany and the Bishop rose up and solemnly
pronounced in Latin the words, Deign, O Lord, to grant that this sea be
calm and peaceful to us and to all that sail upon it; thus we pray. O
Lord hear us. The Bishop blessed the water and, having reached S.
Nicolo, drew near to the Doge’s barge before the procession advanced
into the open Adriatic. The Primicerio then prayed: Purge me, O Lord,
with hyssop, and I shall be clean; the Bishop aspersed the Doge and his
suite, and poured what was left of the water into the sea. Such was the
origin of the famous _festa_ of _La Sensa_ of which we shall hear more

The fame of the Doge’s exploits had fired the imagination of the young
and ardent Emperor Otho III., who made a mysterious voyage by night to
the great Orseolo at Venice and disguised in mean attire went about the
strange city marvelling at the glories of its architecture. The new
ducal palace had just been completed, a stately embattlemented edifice,
in which was constructed a small chapel rich in precious marble and gold
and furnished with an organ of wondrous craftsmanship. A romantic
affection sprang up between the two potentates which was cemented by the
Emperor standing god-father and giving his name to one of the Doge’s
sons. The friends parted, after much intimate converse, embracing each
other and in tears.

Honours too from the East were lavished upon the Doge. Responding to an
appeal from the Greeks he led a fleet to Bari, which was invested by the
Saracens. Signs and wonders in the heavens heralded his coming, and
after three days of hand-to-hand fighting the siege was raised and a
Greek army delivered from destruction. The Byzantine Emperor showed his
gratitude by bestowing the hand of his niece on the Doge’s son Giovanni,
and joyous festival was held at Constantinople in honour of the
alliance. But whatever pride may have been engendered in the Doge’s
breast by this almost more than mortal success was soon chastened by
failing health, affliction at home, and the desolation wrought by plague
and famine in the city. Rich in piety and charity this noble and
heroic servant of the people declined to his end, and at the early age
of forty-eight was laid to rest in S. Zaccaria.


The story of the enriching of this church with the body of S. Tarasio is
too characteristic to be passed by. We tell it in Sanudo’s words. In the
year 1019 some Venetian merchants, with whom was a certain priest of
Malamocco, disembarked at a promontory called Chiledro. The priest and
two companions went into a deserted monastery and heard a voice crying
_Tolle hoc corpus sanctum et defer tecum_ (Take this holy body and bear
it away with thee). He looked around and finding no monument prayed to
God for guidance, and soon discerned an altar inscribed, “This body of
S. Tarasio shalt thou find wrapped in a cloth.” He then turned and saw a
cave in which lay the body with four lights burning before it. Now the
said priest was sorely hurt in one of his hands, which he carried in a
sling, and having entered the cave he at once became whole. As he raised
the body, which weighed nought, so light it was, a voice proceeded from
it saying, _Tolle me quia tecum venire præsto sum_ (Take me, for I am
ready to come with thee). They carried the body to the ship, three miles
distant, and lo, there came some monks running apace and crying, “Cruel
men, give us back our father. Ye shall not depart hence if ye restore
him not to us, for once on a time a strange people came and stole a
tooth of the saint and never could they depart until they had returned
the same to us.” But the Venetians caring nought for such words set sail
for Venice, and, though the ship was heavy laden, she sailed light as a
bird over the sea, so precious a treasure she bore.

Otho Orseolo, who succeeded his father in 1008, by overweening ambition,
drew on himself the ill-will of the people. God-son of an Emperor,
brother-in-law of the sainted King Stephen of Hungary, he promoted one
of his brothers to the patriarchate of Grado (next to the dogeship the
most important position in the state), and another to the See of
Torcello. The Patriarchs of Aquileia and of Grado had long been at
bitter enmity, and more than once had fought out their quarrels with all
too secular weapons. During the Lombard dominion the Patriarchs of
Aquileia were tainted with the Arian heresy, whereas those of Grado
remained orthodox and claimed jurisdiction over the whole of the
lagoons. Moreover, the growing power and wealth of the latter aroused
the jealousy of their rivals. The Aquileian Pastor was generally a
German by race and sympathies, and subject to the Empire, while the
Patriarch of Grado was subject to Venice.[9] The Pastor of Aquileia now
organised the popular discontent, and drove his rival of Grado and the
Doge to exile in Istria; but the horror wrought in Grado by this warlike
churchman, who added perjury to ferocity to accomplish his vengeance,
brought about a reaction in the Doge’s favour, and he was recalled,
only, however, to wreck himself again on the iron-bound determination of
the Venetians never to be subject to a feudal prince, and he was again
exiled. For Venice was founded by citizens of the Roman Empire, with
traditions of municipal freedom and imperial dominion to whom the feudal
system of the German conquerors of Italy was alien and hateful. His
successor, Dom. Centranico, elected in 1026, was unable to rule the
storm, and after an ineffectual reign of six years was shorn of his
beard and sent to Constantinople. Again the Venetians turned to the
twice-exiled Doge. An honourable embassy was sent to invite Otho to
return, only to find him beyond the reach of earthly honours. In the
political confusion another Orseolo usurped power for a day, and was
chased to Ravenna by the people, whose hatred of the Orseoli was now so
fierce that the whole family were ostracised and laws enacted which
finally blocked any tendency in the dominant families to form a dynasty.

Under Dom. Flabianico, who was raised to the ducal chair in 1032, an
_Arengo_ was called, and after the acts of the Doges for the past three
hundred years, their ungovernable ambitions and tragic ends had been
recapitulated, it was decided to abolish association and hereditary
succession. Two ducal councillors were appointed to assist the Doge in
the discharge of the ordinary duties of his office. In extraordinary
matters of grave public importance he was compelled to _invite_ the more
prominent and experienced citizens to his council. By these two
momentous constitutional changes that paring away of the Doge’s powers
was begun which in the end made of him little more than a figurehead,
and gave free play to the evolution of the most capable and powerful
oligarchy in history. It is easy to trace in the two _consiglieri
ducali_ the beginnings of the Ducal Council, and in the “Invited”
(_Pregadi_) the Senate, or meeting of the _Pregadi_. The object of the
reformers were effected. During the reigns (a period of thirty-eight
years) of Flabianico and of Dom. Contarini, the fury of ecclesiastical
jealousy alone disturbed the state.

That the choice of the Doge was still democratic in form is clear from
an interesting description by an eye-witness, Dom. Tina, of the election
of Doge Dom. Selvo in 1071. An immense multitude of citizens came in
boats and armed galleys to an assembly on the island of Castello; and
while the clergy and the monks from the Abbey of S. Nicolo, founded on
the _Lido_ in the previous reign, were praying in St Peter’s for divine
guidance, a mighty shout rose from the people, _Noi volemo dose Domenigo
Selvo e lo laudiamo_ (We desire and approve Dom. Selvo for Doge). Selvo
was seized by a company of nobles and borne shoulder high to his barge,
where he bared his feet that he might enter St Mark’s in due humility.
Tina, who was on Selvo’s boat, intoned the Te Deum; a thousand voices
joined him and a thousand oars dashed the waters into foam. From all the
churches bells pealed as the Doge alighted and was carried to St Mark’s,
where the clergy met him and such psalmody and acclamation were raised
that the very domes of the chapel seemed like to burst with the noise.
The Doge entered and prostrated himself to the ground, giving thanks to
God and to St Mark for the honour conferred upon him. Having taken the
insignia of office from the altar he proceeded to the palace, followed
by an immense concourse of people, who in accordance with usage looted
the palace of its furniture and received largess from the new Doge.

Selvo’s popularity was not, however, shared by his consort, a Greek
princess, who shocked the simpler tastes of the Venetians by her
oriental luxury. Not only was she said to bathe in dew and scent her
robes with costly perfumes, she was of _tanta delicatezza_ that she
would not touch her food with her fingers, but made use of certain
two-pronged instruments of gold to carry it to her mouth. The outraged
Divine Majesty, say the chroniclers, punished her by the infliction of a
loathsome disease and she sickened into such corruption that none could
be found to tend her.


     _Expansion in the East_--_Reconciliation of Pope Alexander III. and
     the Emperor Barbarossa_--_The Wedding of the Adriatic_

                    “All the golden cities
                    Overflowing with honey
    Say, lords, should not our thoughts be first to commerce.”


One of the most remarkable figures of mediæval history is that of Robert
Guiscard, son of a poor Norman knight, who with a handful of military
adventurers carved out for himself a great duchy in South Italy, founded
a race of kings, defeated the Emperors of East and West, and in his
colossal ambition aimed at nothing less than uniting in his person the
divided Empire of the Romans. Alexius Comnenos, the Greek Emperor, hard
pressed at Durazzo by the puissant duke’s forces, appealed to Venice for
help and promised valuable trading privileges in return. She responded
to the call, and in 1081 a great _armata_ of sixty-three sail under the
command of the Doge appeared before the besieged city and by masterly
strategy and strenuous fighting defeated the Normans. But Duke Robert
was not easily crushed. In 1084 Alexius was constrained to pay the
inevitable price of further commercial favours for another naval
contingent from Venice. Doge Selvo with a fleet of great ships and
13,000 men fell upon the Normans near Corfu. Victory inclined to the
Venetians at first, but in the end they were overwhelmed by Robert’s
fierce onslaught. The huge towering galleons of the islanders were
involved in hopeless confusion, and as the Normans pressed on to cut
down the Venetian sailors, Robert tempted them by promising to spare
the lives of those who would enter his service. “Know, Duke Robert,”
answered the devoted Venetians, “that if we saw our wives and children
slain before our eyes we would not break troth with Alexius.” Robert,
admiring their loyalty, suffered them to be held for redemption. Selvo
reached Venice in November with a remnant of his shattered fleet and a
loss of 6000 men. Before a month was past he was deposed by a popular
rising whose chief instigator, Vitale Falier, lifted himself up to the
ducal chair. Unhappy Doge Selvo’s memory is, however, enshrined in St
Mark’s, for he it was who set himself to adorn the edifice with marble
incrustations, columns of porphyry and other precious stones, mosaic and

The naval supremacy of Venice was essential to her existence, and one of
the first acts of Falier was to collect a fleet more powerful than any
that had yet left the lagoons. In the spring of 1085 the shame of defeat
was wiped out by a great victory over the Normans on the scene of the
former engagement. In a few months plague had quenched for ever the
fiery spirit of Duke Robert, and Alexius had leisure to reward the
Venetians. The Doge’s title of Duke of Dalmatia was formally recognised
and that of Augustus added. Trading franchises and exemption from
customs were granted in all the parts of the Eastern Empire. Lands and
factories were assigned to them, a Venetian quarter was founded in
Constantinople. The first grip of the young Republic was laid on the
capital of the Greeks and never relaxed until she had overthrown their
empire and fixed herself there--victorious and dominant.


In 1094 the new Church of St Mark was ready for formal consecration; but
it was a casket void of its treasure. For since the great fire of 976
all traces of the Saint’s body had been lost and great was the
affliction of Doge and people. It was decided to institute a solemn fast
and procession, and to supplicate the Eternal Majesty to reveal the
hidden relic. On the 25th day of June, while the procession of Doge,
clergy and people was slowly pacing St Mark’s, a great light shone from
a pillar near the altar of St James, and part of the masonry falling
away, a hand was thrust out with a ring of gold on the middle finger and
a sweet fragrance was diffused throughout the church, “nor could any
draw this ring off” (says Sanudo[10]) “save Giov. Delfino, counsellor to
the Doge, whose descendants a few years ago gave it to the Scuola di S.
Marco. The body being found, the whole city was filled with joy and gave
thanks to the eternal God for having restored so great a treasure. On
the 8th of October the said church, which of old was called St Theodore,
was consecrated in the name of St Mark, and in the presence alone of the
Doge, the bishop, the primicerio and the procurator of St Mark, the body
was placed (as it is famed) in the high altar of the said church. And
Bernardo Giustiniani maketh mention in his history that he being once
procurator, it was told him in great secrecy where the said body lay,
and that in very truth it was in the said church.”

On the 6th of May 1811 the body was rediscovered in a marble tomb in the
crypt, with a few coins, a gold ring minus its jewel; a _lamina_ with
the date October 8, 1094, and the name of Vitale Falier.

A great festival was instituted to commemorate the discovery, and the
fame of the miracle drew many pilgrims to Venice, among whom was Henry
IV., Emperor of the West, who combining piety with statecraft, paid his
devotions to the Saint and courted the favour of the Republic, whose
help, or at least neutrality, he needed in his wars with the papacy to
avenge the humiliation of Canossa.[11] The Emperor was magnificently
received, and after admiring the beauty of the architecture and the
wonderful site of the city he left, having added many privileges to
those already enjoyed by the Venetian merchants in his dominions.

In 1096 Vitale Falier died, and on Christmas day was buried in the
portico of St Mark’s. The people, whom the devastation wrought by
tempest, earthquake and famine[12] had made unjust, ran to the church
and cast bread and wine at the tomb, cursing and saying: “Sate thee now,
who in life wouldest not provide plenty for thy people.”

Towards the close of the 11th century harrowing stories of the
atrocities committed by the Saracen conquerors of Palestine on Christian
pilgrims, and the impassioned oratory of Peter the Hermit had fired the
West with a desire to cleanse the Holy Land from the pollution of the
infidel. Wave after wave of unorganised enthusiasm broke against the
forces of nature and the military prowess of the Saracens, until at
length the epic story of the conquest of Jerusalem by the organised
Chivalry of Christendom rang through Europe. The Venetians, who aimed at
something more solid than the gratification of religious emotion, looked
on unmoved, until an appeal came to the maritime states of Italy to
furnish transport for the crusaders and pilgrims who were flocking to
the East. Doge Vitale Michieli, in 1096, called an assembly in St
Mark’s. He appealed to the religious zeal of the people and dwelt on the
unwisdom of permitting their rivals of Pisa and Genoa to forestall them
again and increase their power in the East. Commercial interest and
state policy left them no choice. A fleet was manned and after solemn
mass at St Mark’s the expedition set sail, bearing the consecrated
banner of the Cross, under the command of the Doge’s son Giovanni and
the Bishop of Castello. But the Greek Emperor, ever fearful of the whole
movement, incited the Pisans to attack the Venetians, and a fierce
battle between the rival armaments at Rhodes disgraced the Christian
host. The Venetians were victorious and continued their voyage. A call
was made at Myra, where lay the body of St Nicholas, patron saint of
mariners, which the Bishop had long coveted for the Abbey of St Nicolo
on the Lido. Having learnt from his spies that the city was almost
deserted, the worthy prelate proceeded to the church accompanied by some
sailors, and demanded of the custodians where the body of the saint was.
They replied that they knew not, and indicated an old tomb, saying that
some relics were there and some had been removed, and the Bishop might
have what he could find. The sailors working day and night broke open
the tomb and found nought save some oil and water. Whereupon the Bishop,
waxing very wroth, put the four custodians to the torture, who cried:
“Wherefore dost thou afflict us, verily in the altar of St John are two
bodies of saints.” The altar being opened two chests were found with
inscriptions saying they contained the bodies of St Theodore the Martyr
and St Nicholas the Less. The spoilers were about to depart when a
sailor, by “divine inspiration,” turned back to look again at the rifled
tomb, and lo, an odour of such great sweetness came forth that surely,
he said, there must lie some relic of great worth. The sailors dug
deeper and came upon a third chest with an inscription in Greek saying:
“Here rests the great Nicholas, who wrought wonders on land and sea.”
The chests were carried abroad with great devotion, and the fleet went
its way to the Holy Land. The Venetians assisted in the capture of
Caifa, and on St Michael’s Day returned laden with the saint’s body and
much spoil. Meanwhile their interests in the West had not been
neglected. For help afforded to the Countess Matilda in Ferrara the
usual reward of trading privileges in that city was given.

In 1104, in the third year of the reign of Ordelafo Falier, a Doge,
“young in years but old in wisdom,” came a summons from Baldwin, King of
Jerusalem, for a naval contingent. A fleet of more than a hundred sail
was despatched, which, after contributing to the victory of Jaffa and to
the capture of Sidon, swept the sea of pirates. The Venetians exacted
important concessions--a quarter of the conquered city; their own
church, bakery and mill; a market-place; exemption from customs, taxes
and dues; the right to use their own weights and measures; and a yearly
tribute in money from the king. They were also to be subject to their
own laws.

But at home evil days had fallen upon Venice. An awful tempest and
inundation wrought havoc in the city. Houses and factories were levelled
to the ground; the ancient capital Malamocco was engulfed in the sea.
Scarcely had the unhappy citizens recovered from their terror when two
disastrous fires consumed a great part of the city. Thirty churches were
destroyed, and the ducal palace and St Mark’s injured. Abroad, the King
of Hungary attacked their protectorate of Dalmatia, and the fleet was
recalled from the East. It had done what was expected of it. A certain
Friar Peter being at Constantinople heard that the body of St Stephen,
the proto-martyr, was in a church there, and “found means to obtain it.”
The fleet was in the harbour, and the sacred treasure put on board, not
without opposition from the Greeks, who were with difficulty restrained
from attacking the bearers. A great procession went forth to meet the
fleet as it neared Venice, and the Doge himself transferred the holy
burden on his shoulders to the ducal barge. Many churches contended for
the possession of the relic, which at length was conferred on the rich
Benedictine Abbey of S. Giorgio Maggiore, founded in the year 982.

The Bishop of Castello, who had been sent to Constantinople to plead for
help in the reconquest of Dalmatia, was no less successful. As a token
of the Emperor’s favour, he returned with the right hand of St John the
Baptist in a vase. Two armaments were sent to recover Dalmatia. In 1117,
when the Venetians were wavering before a fierce attack of the
Hungarians outside Zara, the Doge spurred forward to hearten them. His
horse stumbled on a dead body: the enemy closed on him, and he was
slain--the second Doge who had met a soldier’s death.

[Illustration: THE SQUERO, S. TROVASO]

Ordelafo Falier is remembered in Venice to-day by two monuments: one of
art--the famous _Pala d’oro_ in St Mark’s; the other of civic
utility--the scattered _squeri_ or shipyards were concentrated by him in
the great Arsenal, whence issued the mighty vessels innumerable that for
centuries maintained the naval supremacy of Venice. It was this
_Arzanà_, now the _Arsenale Vecchio_, which Dante saw and immortalised
in the famous description of the fifth of the Malebolge:--

    “Quale nell’arzanà de’ Viniziani
     bolle l’inverno la tenace pece
     a rimpalmar li lor legni non sani,

     che navicar non ponno, e in quella vece
     chi fa suo legno nuovo, e chi ristoppa
     le coste a quel che più viaggi fece;

     chi ribatte da proda, e chi da poppa;
     altri fa remi, ed altri volge sarte;
     chi terzerudo ed artimon rintoppa.”[13]

The first duty of Dom. Michiel, 1118, was to make peace with the King of
Hungary, that he might be free to devote himself to Eastern affairs. The
King of Jerusalem was a prisoner in the hands of the Saracens and a
stirring appeal from the Pope for Venetian help was read in St Mark’s. A
year was spent in building and equipping a fleet of forty great galleys,
twenty-eight transports, and many smaller craft. It was a magnificent
spectacle when the vessels, painted with many colours and bright with
banners, set forth bearing a gallant army of knights and footmen, their
armour flashing in the sun, the banner of St Mark and the consecrated
standard of the Cross waving proudly from the Doge’s ship. But the
captive king was to linger yet another year, for the Doge had pressing
affairs nearer home. The Greek Emperor Johannes must be chastised for
his unfriendly attitude. The fleet anchored before Corfu and spent the
winter in an attempt to capture the island. Having wreaked what damage
they could and having “invoked the divine assistance,” they resumed
their voyage in the spring. After devastating Chios, Lesbos and Rhodes
they reached Cyprus, where news came that a Saracen armament was off
Jaffa. The fleet at once pressed forward and fell upon the infidels. The
Doge’s galley went straight for the Emir’s ship and sank it. Confusion
seized the enemy and a memorable victory was won. The slaughter was
terrible. For years the mariners of Jaffa declared the sea to be
infected with the corpses of the Saracens. The Doge was met at Jaffa by
the clergy and barons of Jerusalem and borne in triumph to the holy
city, where he was acclaimed as the champion of Christendom. Being urged
to further service the Doge replied that nothing was nearer the hearts
of the Venetians than to increase the Christian dominion in the East,
and that the piety and religion which had always distinguished them was
burning to express itself in deeds. In the name of the King and his
barons it was agreed that of the captured cities and all spoils
one-third should be the portion of the Venetians, one-third of the King,
one-third of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and that the cost of the war
should be met in thirds. The trading privileges granted in Sidon were
confirmed and were to be extended to all future conquests. A hot
discussion arose as to whether Tyre or Ascalon should be the objective
of the next expedition. It was decided to cast lots, and a boy drew from
the urn the word “Tyre.”

The capture by the Venetians and Franks of Tyre, mother of Carthage,
“the mart of nations made very glorious in the heart of the seas,” is
one of the epics of history. The besiegers attacked with desperate
courage. The flower of Saracen chivalry garrisoned the city. The
warriors of Damascus and fleets from Egypt fought in vain to raise the
siege. In the alternations of the struggle murmurs were heard among the
Franks of impending desertion by the Venetian fleet. The Doge, when the
report came to his ears, had a plank knocked out of the side of each
ship and borne before him to the Frankish camp. With grave words he
rebuked the slanderers and offered to leave those material pledges of
Venetian loyalty. Towards the end of the siege money failed: the Doge
cut coins of leather, promising to exchange them for good ducats when
the fleet returned to Venice. After five months’ resistance, famine wore
down the courage of the Saracens. Honourable terms of surrender were
granted and the banners of the King of Jerusalem and the standard of St
Mark floated over the captured city. Venice had planted her foot in
Syria. The fleet turned westward, but its work was not yet done.
Johannes had expelled the Venetian traders from the ports of the Empire,
and the Greeks were to be taught another lesson. The course of the
avengers through the eastern seas was marked by the ravaged cities of
the Greek islands spoiled of their wealth and bewailing their captive
sons and daughters. The Doge paused in his work to recover the Dalmatian
fiefs from the King of Hungary, and cities reduced to heaps of
smouldering ruins bore witness to the power of Venice to vindicate her
sovereignty. Reinforced from Dalmatia the victorious fleet turned again
on the Greeks, who hastened to make peace and agreed to the Doge’s
terms. Great was the rejoicing in Venice when the triumphant Doge
returned bringing the bodies of St Isidore from Chios and of S. Donato
from Cephalonia, and such spoil of Eastern magnificence as had never yet
been seen there since she rose from the sea. But before we follow him
to his retreat and death in the Monastery of S. Giorgio Maggiore, where
to this day may be seen a partially obliterated epitaph to the “Terror
of the Greeks and the Glory of Venice,” we may record one domestic
innovation worthy of grateful remembrance. Few things are more charming
to the wayfarer in Venice than the little shrines of the Virgin and
Child decked with flowers and lighted by night with an oil lamp in the
nooks and corners of the city. Though no longer needed for their
original purpose of illuminating the ways, they are still tended by the
piety of the people. It was to Michieli that this provision was due. To
aid the watchmen in ridding the dark and tortuous lanes of the thieves
that infested them, and to light the city, the clergy were ordered to
provide for the public safety by erecting and maintaining the shrines,
and were empowered to levy a rate to meet the cost.

From the retirement of Dom. Michieli to the election of Vitale Michieli
II. in 1156, two Doges, Pietro Polani and Dom. Morosini, presided over
the growth of the lagoon state. In spite of troubles with the Adriatic
pirates, the Hungarians in Dalmatia and the Paduans, new markets for
Venetian commerce were won by the familiar process of squeezing the
rival Cæsars of East and West. It was a time of building. The Campanile
was finished, many churches were erected, and a hospital was founded for
the mothers and widows of seamen fallen in the service of the state.

Political theories that no longer correspond to realities are dangerous
in proportion to the character and genius of those whose imagination
they seize upon. Actually the Roman Empire had fallen to pieces, but so
faithfully had the Romans wrought that it was regarded even by the
northern invaders as an integral part of civilisation. The Church
accepted and sanctified it, and the Holy Roman Empire continued to exist
in theory until the wit of Voltaire and the big battalions of Napoleon
destroyed the sham for ever. In the poetic mind of Dante, with his
passionate aspiration for peace and righteousness, it became a beautiful
but ineffectual ideal of a kingship over kings; an Emperor curbing the
warring factions and states of Christendom and coercing such as
threatened to break the common peace, so that the golden days of the
_Pax Romana_ might be seen of men again. But the times were making for
nationality and not for empire, and the attempts of the great emperors
to realise their theoretical power were foredoomed to failure.


Such an attempt was made by Frederick Barbarossa. Reports came to his
ears of a rebellious and factious spirit in the south. The burgesses of
the Italian cities were growing restive under the imperial vicars. Milan
had attacked and wasted Lodi: the feudal princes both of Church and
State were scandalised by common burghers and mechanics rising to hold
public offices, and even exercising the profession of arms. Twice the
Emperor descended the Alps to bring the Italian communes to subjection.
For a time he was successful, but a new era was dawning in Italy. The
Lombard cities banded themselves in a league whose soul was the Pope,
and swore to make no peace with the Emperor until their communal rights
and privileges were secured. Venice, true to her policy of facing both
ways, at first held aloof; but later, fearing her turn might come next,
promised naval and financial aid to the league. The struggle continued
until 1176, when the flower of German chivalry, including the emperor
himself, bit the dust before the stout burghers of the Lombard League at
Legnano. Frederick, to punish the Venetians for their support of the
League and of Alexander III. against his own nominees for the papal
chair, moved their arch enemy the Patriarch of Aquileia to attack Grado.
He was defeated by the Doge and taken captive to Venice. With twelve of
his canons he purchased liberty by undertaking to pay a yearly tribute
of a fine bull, twelve pigs, twelve loaves of bread, and a quantity of
wine. A quaint ceremony marked the reception of the tribute. The Doge
with a train of nobles repaired to the ducal palace, where he struck
down certain wooden castles with a wand. Then in the presence of the
Doge and his suite a bull-fight took place in the Piazza; the pigs were
beheaded, cut in pieces, and distributed among the nobles. At later
celebrations a youth by an ingenious contrivance flew down from the top
of the Campanile to the balcony of the ducal palace and presented a
nosegay to the Doge. In Leonardo Loredano’s time the number of
recipients had so increased that it was decided to distribute the pigs
among the monasteries, and the bread and wine were given to the prisons.

In 1171, a few ships, all that remained of a fine merchant fleet in
Constantinople, sailed up the lagoons and roused the Venetians to fury
by the recital of a wanton attack on their countrymen in the East. All
the Venetians in the ports of the Empire had been seized by order of the
Emperor Manuel, cast into prison, and their property confiscated. The
Emperor had been secretly gathering his forces, and by leaning on the
Genoese felt strong enough to pay off old scores. An irresistible wave
of popular indignation swept the state into a war with the Eastern
Empire. To meet the cost a forced loan of one per cent. on property was
levied, a national bank formed, and state bonds were issued for the
amount of the loan bearing interest at four per cent. These securities
were quoted daily on the Rialto according to the fluctuations of the
market, and formed the first funded debt in Europe. In six months the
Doge set forth with a magnificent fleet and the flower of Venetian
manhood; but he wasted precious time in a punitive attack on Ragusa, and
while besieging the capital of Negropont, the ancient Eubœa, weakly
agreed to treat with the Emperor. The subtle Greeks temporised with the
Venetian envoys, one of whom, Enrico Dandolo, we shall hear of again.
Winter came, and a terrible pestilence wasted the Venetian forces. So
great was the mortality that the Giustiniani perished to a man, and the
last scion of this noble house was permitted to leave the cloister in
order to marry the Doge’s daughter and save his name from extinction.
Having raised up several sons, his wife retired to a convent and he to
his cell at S. Nicolo del Lido to fulfil his interrupted vow. Before a
year was past the unhappy Doge and all that remained of the expedition
returned to Venice. The city became infected with the plague, and the
angry people turned upon the Doge, who fled for refuge to S. Zaccaria,
but was cut down before he reached the threshold.

The hasty inception and calamitous issue of this ill-omened war
profoundly impressed the aristocracy of Venice. They determined that
neither popular passion nor ducal ineptitude should again sway the
policy of the state. The supersession of the democratic element and the
further curtailment of the ducal privileges were effected by an
elaborately-conceived constitution, which gave the shadow of power to
the people and the substance to the aristocracy. Each of the six wards
(sestieri) of the city was to elect two representatives, who were each
to appoint forty of the chief citizens of their respective wards to form
a great Council of four hundred and eighty members. The Council sat for
a year, and when its term was completed, it, _not the wards_, nominated
the twelve who were to appoint the Council for the following year. The
Council was to elect the officers of state, including the Doge, who was
chosen by eleven of its members delegated for that purpose. Further to
control the Doge the two privy councillors instituted in 1032 were
increased to six.

The constitution of 1172 narrowly escaped a baptism of blood. When the
new Doge, Sebastiano Ziani, was presented for popular approbation a riot
ensued, but the people were duped by an empty formula--_Quest’ è il
vostro doge se vi piace_ (This is your Doge if it be your pleasure), and
debauched by a more abundant distribution of largess and a more gorgeous

The state of the finances no less than affairs on the mainland impelled
the Republic to come to terms with Manuel. To strengthen her hands an
alliance was sought with the Normans, and again we find Enrico Dandolo
an ambassador, this time at the Court of Sicily. Barbarossa was now
wearying of the struggle with the papacy. Like Henry IV., he found his
legions powerless against a feeble old man armed with the impalpable
weapons of the spiritual power. He had set up three schismatic popes,
seized the very seat of Peter at Rome, and driven Alexander III., a
wanderer and a suppliant, to the Courts of Europe. The indomitable old
pontiff at length found his way to Venice, _all’ unico domicilio di
libertà_, and an attempt at reconciliation was made. A splendid naval
procession went to meet him: a seat of honour was prepared for him in
the ducal barge between the Doge and the Patriarch, and apartments were
assigned to him in the patriarchal palace at S. Silvestre. Soon it was
reported that the Emperor himself was at Chioggia, and after many
negotiations terms were agreed upon.[14] A bitter morsel the Emperor was
forced to swallow. The uncompromising Pope would abate no jot of his
claims--the Emperor must solemnly recognise him as the true and only
successor of Peter, God’s vicar on earth, supreme over Cæsar.


Sunday the 24th of July 1177 was a superb day for Venice. The whole
Piazza was alive with princes and peoples of many nations. Two tall
masts lifting up the banners of St Mark stood at the landing-stage by
the Piazzetta. The day before, the Emperor, who was not permitted to
land at Venice, “until he had set aside his leonine ferocity and put on
the gentleness of the lamb,” was brought in great pomp from Chioggia to
Lido and passed the night at the Abbey of S. Nicolo. In the early
morning the Pope, having received at St Mark’s the formal abjuration
of the schism by the Chancellor of the Empire, solemnly absolved the
Emperor from the ban of the Church. The Doge and a great procession then
set forth and brought the Emperor from Lido seated in the ducal barge
between Doge and Patriarch. When he disembarked a procession was formed
headed by the Doge, the Patriarch, and the clergy bearing banners and
crosses, behind whom walked the Emperor. Having reached the Piazza he
saw the Pope enthroned in full canonicals and surrounded by a throng of
cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and clergy awaiting him in front of the
atrium of St Mark’s.[15] “Touched by the Holy Spirit” he cast off his
purple cloak, bowed his neck, and prostrated himself at the Pope’s feet,
“venerating God in Alexander.” The pontiff then arose, stretched forth
his hand, raised the Emperor, gave him the kiss of peace and blessed
him. The air shook with the pealing of bells and the singing of the Te
Deum by the Germans. The doors of St Mark swung open, the Emperor,
giving his right hand to the Pope, led him to the altar, and having
received his benediction returned to the Ducal Palace. The next day at
the request of the Emperor a solemn mass was sung in St Mark’s by the
Pope. The Emperor laid aside his mantle, took a wand, expelled the laity
from the choir and led the aged Pope to the altar protecting him from
the crowd. Himself sat in the choir amid the clergy, and devoutly and
humbly listened to mass. At the sermon the Pope noticing the Emperor
close by the pulpit ordered the patriarch of Aquileia to translate the
sermon from Latin into German. The _credo_ having been sung, the Emperor
approached the Pope’s feet and made his oblations. At the end of mass
the Emperor took the Pope’s hand, led him to his white horse and held
the stirrup while he mounted. The Pope permitted him to go no further,
dismissed him, and gave him his blessing. The successful accomplishment
of this reconciliation added great lustre to the Venetian state. Never
had she stood so high in the eyes of Europe. Nor were more solid gains
lacking. Making the best of both worlds she received valuable privileges
both spiritual and political before Pope and Cæsar left her shores. Many
were the legends that clustered round this dramatic scene. Stories were
told in later days of the fugitive Pope arriving in Venice, in mean
attire, wandering about the tortuous ways until overcome by fatigue he
lay down and slept on the bare ground near the Church of S. Apollinare.
When rested he wandered on until he was received in the monastery of the
Carità, where he served six months as a common scullion. A Venetian who
had been on a pilgrimage to Rome recognised him. The Doge was advised
and the Pope led to the palace in great pomp. To this day near the
Church of S. Apollinare an inscription marks the legendary spot where
“Alexander III. reposed when fleeing from the violence of Frederick the
Emperor.” Frederick then bade the Venetians, so runs the fable, deliver
up the fugitive or he would plant his eagles in St Mark, where they had
never been before. To which the Doge retorted that the Venetians would
not wait for him, and on learning that a fleet of seventy-five ships
under the Emperor’s son, Otho, was under sail for Venice, set forth with
thirty-four galleys, attacked the imperial fleet, captured forty
vessels, sunk two, and made Otho prisoner. In the great scene before St
Mark’s the Emperor was imagined lying prostrate on the ground, the Pope
placing his heel on the imperial neck and saying: “I will tread on the
asp and on the basilisk.” To which the Emperor objected: “Not to thee
but to Peter”; to be quickly answered by the Pope: “Both to me and to



The festival of La Sensa was celebrated during the Pope’s stay at
Venice. The pontiff on that occasion handed a consecrated ring to the
Doge saying: “Receive this as a pledge of the sovereignty which you and
your successors shall have in perpetuity over the sea.” Henceforth
the ceremony was held with added magnificence, and became the
greatest of the many pageants for which Venice was so famous. On his
gilded barge, the Bucintoro, commanded by three admirals and many
captains of the fleet, and impelled by the arms of one hundred and sixty
shipwrights from the arsenal, four to each oar, stood the Doge
surrounded by the Patriarch and clergy, the great officers of state and
the foreign ambassadors, the standard of St Mark waving over their
heads. A great procession of gilded galleys and gondolas bright with
flags followed the Doge to the island of St Helena where a collation of
peeled chestnuts and red wine was offered by the Bishop of Castello and
his clergy, while the Doge presented damask roses in a silver cup. One
he took himself and distributed the others to his suite. The Bucintoro
then swept through the Porto of the Lido into the open Adriatic. The
patriarch blessed the ring and handed it to the Doge who cast it into
the sea pronouncing the formula: “Sea, we wed thee in token of our true
and perpetual dominion over thee.” From the musicians’ gallery on the
barge rang out a joyous theme, and the Doge returned to the Molo after
having heard mass at S. Nicolo. In the evening a banquet was given at
the palace to the admirals and the hundred masters of the arsenal, the
chief magistrates and the ambassadors. A great fair was held and the
city gave itself up to a week’s festivities. Such with some
modifications in detail was the famous wedding of the Adriatic, which
ended only with the Republic herself in 1797.

Among the spoil from Syria were three huge granite columns, one of which
had fallen into the canal during unloading: the other two lay on the
shore, and no one could be found to raise them. A proclamation was made
that any _onesta grazia_ would be granted to the master who should erect
them on the piazzetta. Many had tried and failed when Nicolo Barattieri,
a Lombard engineer, offered his services. He is said to have stretched
stout ropes, soaked them in water and fixed them to the pillars.[16] As
the ropes dried and contracted the columns “with great art and some
little assistance” were slowly elevated and were surmounted with the
familiar bronze and marble statues of the Lion of St Mark and St
Theodore. The former was cast and erected in 1178, the latter carved and
erected in 1329. When asked to name his reward, Nicolo begged permission
to set up gaming-tables between the columns. His request was granted,
but orders were given that all public executions should henceforth take
place there, and the “two red columns”[17] have a gruesome interest in
subsequent Venetian history. Two attempts, one in 1559, another in 1809,
were made to recover the third pillar. The same ingenious master is said
to have erected the first wooden Rialto bridge in 1173.

On Ziani’s retirement the method of electing the Doge was again
modified. Instead of the eleven, four members of the Great Council were
chosen who nominated an electoral college of forty. Only a single member
might be taken from any one family, and the forty elected the Doge by an
absolute majority of votes.

When the papal summons came to Venice in the reign of Ziani’s successor,
Mastropiero, for a naval contingent in the service of the third Crusade,
she held too great a stake in Syria to remain wholly indifferent. Manuel
promised satisfaction for the spoliation of the Venetians in 1177 by the
payment of a large indemnity, and the long struggle with the Hungarians
for the recovery of Zara and the Dalmatian protectorate was intermitted.
A fleet was sent to the east which bore a brave part in the relief of
Tyre and the famous two years’ siege of Acre. But Venice fought in
conjunction with her rivals of Pisa and Genoa, and it was not until the
barons of France, during the organisation of the fourth Crusade gave
her the opportunity of demonstrating her naval supremacy and controlling
the movement for her own ends that she put forth all her strength.

Enrico Dandolo, now an old man of more than four score years, was made
Doge in 1193. On his election he was made to subscribe to a _Promissione
ducale_ (coronation oath), an ingenious instrument designed in the
interests of the aristocracy, which defined and limited his powers.
Dandolo had inherited the Dalmatian trouble, and was occupied with
stubborn Zara, which for the fourth time had resisted the efforts of the
Venetians to recover it from the King of Hungary, when a wail of
distress from the hard-pressed Christians in Palestine reached the ears
of the great Pope Innocent III. and the fourth crusade was launched.


_Enrico Dandolo and the Capture of Constantinople_

                    “August pleasant Dandolo
    Worshipping hearts about him for a wall,
    Conducted blind eyes hundred years and all
    Through vanquished Byzant, where friends note for him
    What pillar, marble massive, sardius slim,
    ’Twere fittest to transport to Venice’ square.”


The fourth crusade afforded Venice an opportunity of rising to a
commanding position in Europe. She seized it with resolution yet with
the cautious deliberation so characteristic of her temper. Amid the
fervent enthusiasm of the crusaders she kept a cool head, ever intent on
directing the movement to the attainment of her secular policy--the
extension of her commerce and of her dominion in the East.

The story of the Conquest of Constantinople has been told for us by one
who played a leading _rôle_ in the drama, Jeffrey of Villehardouin,
Marshall of Champagne, who was one of the six envoys sent by the
organisers of the crusade to Venice to treat for the transport of the
army to the East. He was a man of simple piety and singleness of
purpose, a heroic soldier and capable administrator, but like his
fellows no match for the shrewd old Doge who then directed the policy of
the republic. It is difficult to say how far the almost cynical
exploitation of the crusaders’ enthusiasm, charged upon Venice by some
historians, was redeemed by nobler motives. The policy of making the
best of both worlds is not a modern invention, and states as well as
individuals are moved by mixed impulses. To the Doge and his councillors
it may well have seemed that the expansion of the Venetian Republic and
the cause of Christendom were not incompatible. Certain it is that this,
the finest armament that ever set sail to wrest the Holy Land over seas
from the infidel, was diverted by Venetian policy to an attack on the
possessions of a Christian prince, himself a crusader, and after wasting
a precious year melted away in a wanton conquest and spoliation of the
capital of Eastern Christendom, and in the attempt to maintain there a
Franco-Venetian Empire.

In February 1201 the envoys reached Venice and laid their request before
the Doge. A delay of three days was asked. On the fourth day they
entered the ducal palace, _qui mult ere riches et biaus_ (which was very
rich and beautiful), and found the Doge seated in the midst of his
Council. They prayed his help on behalf of the high barons of France who
had taken the cross to revenge the shame of Jesus and to reconquer
Jerusalem, for no people were so mighty on sea or so powerful to further
their cause. They entreated him in the name of God to have pity on the
land beyond the sea and on the shame of Jesus Christ, and lend them
warships and transports. “This,” replied the Doge, “is a great thing you
ask,” and begged eight days’ interval for reflection. In due time the
terms on which help would be forthcoming were stated. Venice would
furnish transports for 4500 horses and 9000 esquires, ships for 4500
knights and 20,000 footmen, with provisions for nine months. The sum
asked was 85,000 marks in silver of the standard of Cologne. The terms
were to hold good for one year from the day of the departure of the
Armata, “to do the service of God and of Christianity in whatsoever
place it may befall.” The Republic would add on her own part fifty armed
galleys on condition that of the conquests “which we shall make on land
or sea we shall have the one half and you the other.” The envoys
requested a day’s delay. They took counsel by night and in the morning
came before the Doge and agreed to the terms. “The Doge summoned the
Senate and Great Council, and by his great wisdom and clear wit disposed
them to do his will and praise his purpose. Then he assembled in the
Chapel of St Mark 10,000 of his people and bade them hear mass and pray
God for counsel concerning the envoy’s request, and so did they most
willingly. When mass was ended the Doge begged the envoys to come before
the people and humbly entreat them to agree to the conditions. There was
great curiosity to see the barons, and they were much gazed at. Jeffrey
spoke for them, and said: ‘Sirs! the highest and most powerful among the
barons of France have sent us before you. They crave that ye may take
pity on Jerusalem, which is in bondage to the infidel, and that for
God’s sake you be willing to aid therein to avenge the shame of Jesus
Christ, for they know no other nation so mighty as yours on the sea, and
they command us to fall at your feet and not to rise again till you have
granted their prayer and had pity on the Holy Land _oltremer_.’ Then the
six fell upon their knees with many tears at the feet of the multitude,
and the Doge and all his people burst into tears of pity and cried aloud
with one voice--‘We consent, we consent.’ Great was the tumult, so that
the very ground did shake. When the noise was calmed and that great pity
assuaged, the good Doge ascended the pulpit and said: ‘Sirs! behold the
honour that God hath shown you, in that the best nation in the world has
scorned all the other nations and chosen your company to effect together
a thing of such high import as the deliverance of our Lord.’ All the
fair words the Doge spoke to them I cannot relate.”


Sealed contracts were exchanged with more weeping and genuflexions, the
parties to the contract on either side swearing on the bodies of the
saints to well and loyally keep their bond. It was secretly agreed that
Babylonia (Old Cairo) should be the objective of the expedition.
Publicly it was given out that it was bound for beyond the sea. On the
Feast of St John, 1202, the Frankish host was to assemble at San
Nicolo on the Lido, and the vessels were to be ready. Every detail was
specified; the amount of bread and wine per man, and corn per horse. A
court of arbitration was formed to settle matters of dispute that might
arise. But selfish and worldly motives swayed the actions of too many
among the warriors of the cross and whole armies were foresworn. A rich
and powerful detachment set sail from Bruges after swearing on the
gospels to join at Venice, but engaged transports at Marseilles and

Walter of Brienne,[18] with many another great knight, went off to
Apulia to subdue the inheritance of his wife and promised to meet the
army at Venice. “But adventures befall as it pleaseth God,” and at the
trysting-place they were found wanting. Many others, including the
Bishop of Autun, broke their oaths.

Great was the consternation of the leaders of the crusade. The Venetians
had honourably, indeed generously, done their part. Never had such a
fleet been beheld by Christian men. But the crusaders were too few to
fill it or to meet the payment due. The barons spared neither entreaties
to their erring companions nor their own possessions and credit. Time
went on: the day for meeting their obligations was past; the Venetians
demanded payment; 30,000 marks were still wanting, perchance to the
secret satisfaction of the Republic, for the Venetians had no keen
desire to dislocate their remunerative trade with the East. The Sultan
of Egypt was their good friend. Commercial privileges had been granted
them while the crusaders were gathering at Venice. Two envoys, Marino
Dandolo and Dom. Michieli[19] set sail for Egypt, and in May 1202 had
concluded a secret treaty between the Republic and the Caliph, by which
in return for increased and substantial commercial privileges the
Venetians implicitly agreed to divert the fleet from any attack on

The Doge was not slow to make the most of the crusaders’ hard case. For
the fifth time Zara had revolted and was held for the King of Hungary.
The Frankish leaders were eating their hearts out at the delay; inaction
was demoralising their forces. The Doge offered a compromise. The
contract had been broken, and legally the amount paid was forfeited, but
if the barons would help the Venetians to subdue Zara on the way, the
_Armata_ might sail and payment of the balance of money be deferred. The
papal legate, Peter of Capua, indignantly declaimed against the bargain,
but the barons were in a cleft stick. They could do no other than
accept, and the chance of winning from the spoils of Zara enough to pay
the balance of their debt was a potent factor in their decision.

All was now ready; the people were assembled in St Mark’s on Sunday, the
barons being present, and says Villehardouin _ere mult gran feste_
(there was a very great festival). “Before Mass began the Doge ascended
the pulpit and said: ‘Sirs, ye are companions of the best nation in the
world for the highest emprise that ever man attempted. I am old and
feeble and have need of repose, nor am I whole in body; but I perceive
that none can guide nor command you so well as I who am your lord. If ye
will grant that I take the sign of the cross and watch over you and
direct you, and that my son remain in my stead to guard the land then
will I go to live or die with you and the pilgrims.’ When the people
heard him they all cried out, ‘We beseech you in God’s name that ye do
even as ye say.’ Then great pity melted the hearts of the people of the
city and of the pilgrims, and many tears were shed for this valiant man
who had so much cause to remain at home, being old, and though his eyes
were beautiful he saw not, because he had lost his sight through a
wound. But he was of exceeding great courage. He left the pulpit and
fell on his knees before the altar, and the cross was sewn on the front
of a great silken biretta that it might be seen of all. Then the
Venetians began to put on the cross in great numbers, for up to that day
few were they who joined.”

[Illustration: S. MARCO, CHOIR.]

At length on the octave of the Feast of the Holy Incarnation of Jesus
Christ the host took ship and set forth. Never did so great a fleet sail
from any port. “Ah! dear God,” exclaimed Jeffrey, “how many a good steed
was there, and great ships charged with arms and gallant knights and
squires and banners so fair.”

It was indeed a gorgeous and thrilling spectacle. Three chief Venetian
galleys, the _Peregrina_, the _Paradiso_ and the _Aquila_ towered above
the rest of the fleet. The vessels were one mass of glittering steel and
magnificently coloured banners, that of St Mark, a golden lion on
crimson ground, waved proudly in the wind. The air trembled at the blast
of trumpets. In swelling chorus the host burst forth into the _Veni
Creator Spiritus_, and the mighty fleet turned its prows--for Zara.

On the way a punitive call was made at Trieste, which agreed to pay
tribute to Venice. Another call was made at Omago and an oath of
allegiance exacted. Zara was reached on St Martin’s Eve, the 10th of
November. The stronghold so impressed the Marshal of Champagne that he
exclaims: “How shall such a city be taken except God be with us!” On the
18th, after a stubborn fight the city yielded, pillage followed and half
the booty went to each ally. The Pope was scandalised. He had tried to
tamper with the French: he now demanded the restitution of the pillage
of a city that belonged to a Christian king and crusader. The barons
excused themselves as best they might; the Venetians boldly told the
papal nuncio that the Holy See had no concern with the affairs of the

The season was now far advanced, and the fleet wintered at Zara. The
chief of the Crusaders, Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat, who had stayed
at Venice, took up his command after the capture. The problem of the
fate of the expedition faced the allies. Already a bloody fray had
embittered the feeling between Venetian and Frank. Boniface, too, was
tempted by his own ambition. He claimed the kingdom of Salonika, and
hoped to subdue it with the help of the _Armata_.

And events seemed to beckon away from duty. The sickening drama of
bloodshed and treachery that stained the palace of the Greek Emperors
during the Comnenian dynasty had, in 1185, reached the point when Isaac
Angelos Comnenos, having stabbed his kinsman Andronicus (himself a
usurper), was enthroned at Constantinople. But a throne whose steps are
drenched with blood affords but a slippery foothold. In 1195 Isaac in
his turn was dethroned, cast into prison, and his sight destroyed by his
brother Alexius Angelos, who unaccountably spared Isaac’s son Alexius.
He was a bright lad twelve years of age when his father fell, and was
forced by his uncle to attend the court and exalt the usurper’s state.
He escaped, and after many vicissitudes reached the court of Philip of
Swabia, who had married his sister Irene. The fleet was on the point of
leaving Zara when the young Alexius arrived to implore the help of
Boniface on behalf of himself and his father Isaac. King Philip promised
in his nephew’s name tempting rewards. The moment was well chosen,
Boniface with an eye to Salonika lent a willing ear to his plaint:
Dandolo, too, apart from the 100,000 marks to be gained by another
year’s hire of the fleet, had politic reasons for giving the wronged
prince a sympathetic audience. Egypt would be safe from attack, and the
Venetians had an old score to settle with the Greeks, for a large part
of the indemnity promised by the Emperor Manuel for the wanton
spoliation of the Venetians in 1171 was still unpaid. Isaac, first
repudiating, then yielding to threats, had promised to pay the 200,000
marks due. When Alexius Angelos seized the throne the account was still
unsettled. He, too, was evasive, though ready enough to grant commercial
favours. The young Alexius, therefore, was told that the leaders would
receive him at Corfù, whither the fleet was bound.

But what of the unhappy infidel-ridden land over the sea? Many of the
more conscientious knights, mindful of their high purpose and of the
holy zeal with which they had set forth, loudly demanded to be led to
Syria. The Pope, who had just received news of the most wretched state
of the Christians in Palestine, wrote warning the crusaders that they
had taken the cross not to avenge the wrongs of princes but of God: he
refused his benediction, and menaced them with the curses of heaven. But
it was of no avail, present gain was more potent than a far call to
duty. At an opportune moment the young Alexius arrived. The chivalrous
natures of the crusaders were wrought upon: the recalcitrant knights
were swept away in a wave of enthusiasm for the wronged prince’s cause.

After much negotiation the start was made from Corfù on the eve of
Pentecost 1203. “There were all the transports and galleys of the host
and many a merchant ship. The day was fair and clear; the wind gentle
and mild; the sails were set to the breeze. And Jeffrey de Villehardouin
doth truly witness, who never lied in one word to his knowledge, and who
was present at every Council, that never was so fair a sight. And verily
it seemed that the fleet must subdue the land, for so far as the eye
could reach nought could be seen save the sails of ships and of vessels,
so that men’s hearts did much rejoice.” Once again the avenging host set
forth, and not against Saracen or Turk but against the capital of
Eastern Christendom.

To follow the incidents of the capture and re-capture of Constantinople
would take us too far. Venetian and Frank fought with desperate courage.
Dandolo by his local knowledge (for he had already been ambassador
there), by his iron will, his ready wit and dauntless spirit became
leader. It was a stupendous venture. The apparently impregnable city of
a million souls was girt by a double rampart of walls and towers, and a
moat wide and deep. The attacking force could have barely exceeded
20,000 men. Dandolo was the hero of the siege. At a critical moment the
brave old sea-dog was seen erect in his armour on the prow of his
galley, the gonfalon of St Mark unfurled before him. His men had
wavered; with entreaties and threats he urged them on. The galley was
driven ashore and the old fellow[20] leapt on to the beach, the gonfalon
being borne before him. From shame and humiliation the Venetians
followed. Twenty towers soon fell into the hands of the Venetians.
Meantime news came that the French were in danger. Alexius Angelos at
the head of sixty squadrons was about to fall upon them. Dandolo, with
characteristic chivalry, let the prize fall from his grasp and hastened
to relieve his allies. The very rumour of his coming was enough to scare
the craven heart of the Greek prince. He returned within the walls, and
having gathered a great treasure of gold and jewels, sought safety and
won disgrace by flight. Isaac was led from a dungeon to a throne: his
wife recalled to his side: his son restored to him. But his joy was
tempered by a hard and one-sided bargain. Fulfilment of the promise made
by Philip in the name of young Alexius at Zara was demanded by the

Twenty thousand marks were to be paid to the Venetians; the Greek Church
was to recant her heresy and submit to Rome: 10,000 men were to be
raised for the Holy Land. Young Alexius as he entered the city in
triumph by his bearing and presence won the hearts of the people. But
the bond lay heavily on the restored family. Holy vessels and images of
the saints were seized and melted; private fortunes were impounded. Yet
sacrilege and extortion combined did no more than meet in part the
demands of the allies. Disaffection began to show itself. Young Alexius,
fearing lest the departure of the crusaders would leave him at the mercy
of his fickle subjects, urged his deliverers to winter at
Constantinople, and promised to pay the Venetians for the extended hire
of the fleet. The more restive barons, chafing at the delay, were
overruled by the authority of the Doge. The young Prince gained his
purpose. Boniface was bribed by the promise of 1600 pieces of gold to
head him (now joint-Emperor with his father) on a tour of the provinces
to test the loyalty of his subjects and attempt the capture of his
uncle. But his popularity at the capital, already waning, was quenched
by the fanatical license of the Latins, who, in destroying a mosque and
in spoiling the Jews, wrought the destruction by fire of a whole quarter
of the city. On his return, young Alexius had to choose between his
subjects and the hatred of the Latins. He was weak and angered both. The
allies sternly demanded the execution of his bond. Their envoys with
almost incredible daring penetrated to the very throne-room of the
palace, passing lines of sullen and angry Greeks eager to leap at their
throats. They saw Isaac enthroned, between his wife and son and
surrounded by all the luxury and pomp of an Eastern court. In a
peremptory voice they delivered their ultimatum, strode proudly from the
imperial presence, leaped on their horses, and rode to camp. They were
but six, three Venetians and three Franks, who braved the fierce
passions of a treacherous populace and the armed retainers of a despotic
court. The rage of the Greeks at this insult reacted on the restored
family. Alexius Ducas, dubbed Murzuphles from his black and shaggy
eyebrows, led the revolt. The Venetian fleet was saved from destruction
only by the vigilance of a sentry and the address of the sailors.

The instrument of the popular vengeance was a Prince of far different
calibre from his namesake. His unscrupulous ambition was served by
energy, resolution and capacity. He first fawned on the young Alexius,
then seized his person and saw him strangled. At once grasping the
sceptre, the opportune death of Isaac spared him another crime. He sent
an envoy with a plausible story to the French camp and an invitation to
the chiefs of the army to dine at the palace, but the sagacity of the
Doge saved them from the fate that awaited them had they accepted.

After some parley the second siege of Constantinople was decided upon. A
plan of operations and the principles on which the booty was to be
shared were arranged. It was a tougher job than before. Murzuphles was a
resourceful leader; the Greeks were hot with the passion for revenge.
Early on the morning of the 9th of April 1204 the assault began. The
French made desperate though unsuccessful efforts to scale the walls.
But stout old Dandolo heartened his Venetians by an oration thus given
by Da Canale:--

“Sirs, marvel not that the French have failed to take the city, for
though they be brave men and wise they are not used to climb ships’
ladders as you are. Remember what your forefathers did at Tyre, and
through Syria and Dalmatia and Romania, where verily no fortress could
withstand their onslaught. I know well that ye be of such lineage that
no city can be defended against you. And I promise you, by the faith I
hold in God, that I will share among you the great treasure within the
city; and to the first who shall plant the ensign of Monsignor S. Marco
on the walls I will give 1000 perperi; to the second, 800; to the third,
500; to the fourth, 300; to the fifth, 200; and 100 to every one who
shall mount the walls. Now, be valiant, that the blood of your
forefathers, whose issue ye are, may be proven in you, so that by the
help of Jesus Christ and of S. Marco, and by the prowess of your bodies,
ye be masters of the city and may enjoy the riches thereof.”

On the 12th the second assault was made, and after varying fortune, by a
happy change of wind, the huge galleys, the _Pellegrino_ and the
_Paradiso_, the flagships of the bishops of Soissons and Troyes, firmly
locked together, were brought under one of the principal towers of the
city. The ladders just reached the summit. Two whose names are preserved
to us, Pietro Alberti of Venice and André d’Artoise of France, were the
first to win a foothold; their fellows swarmed up, and the tower was
won. Meanwhile three gates were battered down. Panic seized the Greeks,
and the besiegers rushed in. They stood by their arms all night, and in
the morning the enormous riches of the city lay before the victors. It
was forbidden to slay, but free scope was allowed to rapine. The sack of
the town began, and lasted through Holy Week. “Humanity reddens with
shame,” says Romanin, “and the mind recoils from telling the story of
the horrors committed.” The Crusaders’ lust was unrestrained even by the
sanctity of virgin vows. Nothing was spared. Palaces and houses were
ransacked; churches and sanctuaries stripped; priceless statues were
melted down; pictures torn to shreds. The Latin Christians wrought more
havoc in those few days than Hun, Sclav or Arab had done in as many
centuries. The Venetians, says Romanin, _che animo più gentile aveano_
(who were a more cultured people), exerted themselves to save as many as
possible of the wondrous works of art from destruction.

It had been decided that all the loot should be placed in three churches
set apart for that purpose, but large spoils of jewels and of smaller
objects of value were secreted by individuals. The worth of the French
plunder, after deducting the 50,000 marks due to the Venetians, amounted
to the magnificent sum of 400,000 marks. All over Western Europe the
monasteries and churches were enriched by reliquaries and precious
stones, some of them finding their way as far as Norfolk. The plunder of
the city, says Jeffrey, exceeded all that has been witnessed since the
creation of the world. The four famous bronze horses of St Mark’s formed
part of the Venetian spoil. It is related that a hind foot of one of the
horses was broken during the transit, and Morosini, the owner of the
galley that was freighted with them, begged permission to retain the
foot as a memorial. The Senate agreed, and had another foot cast and
fitted to the horse. “And,” says Sanudo, “I have seen the said foot at
the front of Morosini’s house in S. Agostino, whence it was afterwards
removed to the corner of a house in the SS. Apostoli.”

Two master passions dominated the Venetians--to possess living commerce;
and dead saints. As a centre of hagiolatry, Venice now became second to
Rome. She acquired the bodies of St Simeon the Apostle and of St Lucy,
part of the wood of the Holy Cross, some of the Holy Blood, part of the
body of St John the Baptist, the arm of St George the Martyr, and the
famous image of the Virgin, which still remains the object of Venetian
devotion in St Mark’s.

The political results were incalculable, for the chief bulwark of the
Cross against the growing power of the Crescent was shattered. Six
electors were appointed by each of the allies to choose an Emperor.
Dandolo by his commanding genius was the obvious choice, but he refused
the proffered honour and threw his weight on the side of Baldwin, Count
of Flanders, who became the first Latin Emperor of the East. Of the
territorial spoils St Mark took indeed the Lion’s share. One-fourth
formed the Emperor’s domain; another fourth was shared among the
Frankish lords, Boniface’s reward being the sovereignty of Crete and of
Salonika. To Venice went one-half--a rich possession, including the
Morea, the Ionian islands, the islands of the Archipelago, a large slice
of Thessaly, among other cities those of Adrianople, Trajanople and
Durazzo, the province of Servia and the coasts of the Hellespont. But
the Lion of St Mark had a greedy maw. Like the _Lupa_ in the “Inferno,”
after a meal he was hungrier than before. Crete, the largest and most
fertile of Mediterranean islands, was a trading centre of tempting value
and covetous eyes were set upon it. Boniface was approached, and for a
sum of 10,000 marks the island was transferred to Venice which at one
bound rose to be the dominant power in the Levant. To the title of Doge
of Venice, Croatia and Dalmatia was now added that of Despot and Lord of
one-fourth and one-half of the Romanian Empire. A Venetian--Tomaso
Morosini--was appointed to the Partriarchate of Constantinople, and the
Chapter filled with his nominees.

But to carve out territory on a map is one thing: effective possession
another. Adrianople was recalcitrant. In April 1205, while the united
forces of Baldwin and Dandolo were attempting to subdue it, the King of
Bulgaria, once spurned by the haughty Latins, appeared with a powerful
army to raise the siege. The Latins, attacking with their usual
impetuosity, were snared by the enemy’s light cavalry; the Emperor and
many knights taken prisoners; the main body put to flight. Jeffrey gives
a graphic picture of the disaster. The old Doge, infirm but unbroken in
spirit, advised a retreat to Constantinople and led the van. The retreat
was successfully accomplished but the Latins were in evil plight; their
Emperor was a prisoner; Boniface slain; the whole country swarming with
the Bulgarian light horse; an Armenian reinforcement wiped out. And now
the great Doge, their chief counsellor and leader, worn by disease and
privation, died. His long span of life was but two years short of a
century. He was buried in June 1205, with due pomp and honours, at St
Sophia in a private chapel belonging to the Venetians, “for even the
church was divided.”

The magnificent tomb erected to perpetuate his memory was destroyed by
Mahomet II. and the old hero’s breast-plate, helmet, spurs and sword
were afterwards given to Gentile Bellini, who brought them back to
Venice on his return from the Turkish court. To this day a marble slab
remains in the south gallery of the great mosque of S. Sofia with the
inscription--Henricus Dandolo. His best epitaph, is the simple phrase of
Jeffrey, _mult ere sages et proz_ (he was very wise and brave).

[Illustration: SUNSET ON THE ZATTERE.]

It was on the 20th of July that a post galley brought the sad news to
Venice that her greatest Doge lay dead. Pietro Ziani, a wealthy noble,
experienced in Venetian statecraft, was chosen to second him. The
Republic had now in fact become an empire. From the mother city along
the Gulf of Trieste over Dalmatia, Croatia, the Morea, the islands of
Corfù, Crete and the Archipelago from Greece to Constantinople, even up
to Syria, the standard of St Mark was planted. Most of the islands were
granted in fief to such of the leading Venetian nobles who engaged to
secure and maintain effective possession. Crete was made a great feudal
colony. Many vassals of the Greek Empire swore allegiance to their new
masters and promised tribute. But the cost of empire was soon felt. A
new loan was raised. A fleet of forty-three galleys and thirty ships was
placed under the joint-command of Premarino and of Dandolo’s son Renier,
for the seas were swarming with Genoese pirates and a heavy task
remained to consolidate and occupy the new possessions. The fleet sailed
eastwards and in its way captured the Genoese corsair Liovecchio, an old
enemy of the Republic, and twelve galleys; another, Arrigo Bellapolo,
with five galleys, met the same fate. The Venetians swept the sea. Da
Canale describes them as swooping down like hawks on their quarry. They
reached Corfù, hanged Liovecchio and planted a garrison there. Crete,
ever a stubborn and rebellious vassal, gave more trouble. Renier Dandolo
was slain, and many a stout Venetian bit the dust or died a sailor’s
death ere the dominion of Venice was made good. The Latins meanwhile had
recovered themselves at Constantinople, but their empire was a shadow;
the real masters were the Venetian governor and his ubiquitous
officials. Baldwin I. did not long survive his captivity. The story of
Joseph and Potiphar’s wife was enacted in his person and that of the
Bulgarian queen. He met a horrible death at the hands of the abused king
and his successor and brother, Henry of Flanders, held unquiet
possession of the Empire for ten years, continually fighting against
stubborn vassals. Henry’s sister, Yolande, and her consort, Peter of
Courtenay, next sat on the unstable throne. Their son Robert, a feeble
prince, succeeded. His incapacity and the anarchic state of the Empire,
raised the most vital problem that ever Venetian statesmen were called
to face. Events seemed inevitably tending to one solution--that they who
were masters in fact of the new Latin Empire should proclaim themselves
so in name. Doge Ziani called a meeting of the Great Council and put
forward a proposition, fraught with tremendous issues, that the seat of
the Government should be transferred from Venice to Constantinople. The
orations made by Ziani for and by the venerable Angelo Faliero against
the revolutionary motion are given at great length by the chroniclers. A
curious passage in the speech attributed to Faliero recalls Macaulay’s
famous New Zealander: “A few years hence perchance,” cried the old
statesman, “some Venetian traveller calling at these islands will find
our canals choked, our dykes levelled, and our dwellings razed. He will
see a few pilgrims wandering amid the ruins of our rich monasteries, a
scanty and fever-stricken population; and a foreign ruler will be
sitting in this very hall dictating laws to what was once Venice.” When
the motion was put to the vote the ballots for and against were found to
be equal, and a casting vote decided the fate of Venice. It was known
afterwards as the vote of Providence.


_Peace and War--The Holy Inquisition--Conflict with the Genoese--Loss of

     “Who hath taken this counsel against ... the crowning city, whose
     merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the

The Easter of 1214, falling in a year of general peace and prosperity in
Italy, was celebrated by many great festivals. The Trevisans had sent
invitations to the whole surrounding country, especially to the
Venetians, and never was so magnificent a spectacle. The procession of
the Trade Guilds was witnessed by a great multitude, among whom were
2600 noble gentlemen and 3600 gentlewomen with a numerous train of
squires and pages and ladies-in-waiting. The principal feature was a
Castle of Love erected in the Piazza, with portcullis and turrets
complete, decorated inside and out with precious tapestry and other
sumptuous ornaments, wherein were placed the fairest and most graceful
dames and damsels richly clothed with silk and resplendent with jewels.

It was ordained that they should be striven for _per amore_ by three
companies of noble youths. On the one part the Trevisans essayed to
effect a surrender to them by calling, “_Madama Beatrice, Madama
Fiordelice! ora pro nobis!_” On the other part the Paduans exhorted the
ladies to yield to them, and shot into the Castle sweets, pasties, tarts
and roast chicken that they might eat and be well-disposed. But, if we
may believe Sanudo, the Venetians, with a profounder insight into
feminine psychology, cast in, with nutmegs, ginger, cinnamon and
sweet-smelling spices, _some ducats and other coins_. The fair garrison,
seeing the _gentilezza_ of the Venetian youths at once capitulated.
Whereupon was great rejoicing and the standard of St Mark was run up on
the Castle ramparts. This proved too much for the Paduans; they waxed
wroth and tore down the Venetian standard and broke it to pieces. An
undignified scuffle ensued and the celebration of peace ended in open
war. The Paduans aided by the Trevisans, wasted Venetian territory,
advancing near to Chioggia and threatening the fortress of Bebbe, but by
the prompt action of the Podestà of Chioggia, who called out the militia
without waiting for orders, the garrison was relieved and the Paduans
routed. Four hundred prisoners were made, among whom were two hundred
nobles, and taken to Venice. The Paduan prisoners were humiliated--it is
said by offering ten of them to any Venetian who brought a white
hen--and afterwards released without ransom through the mediation of the
Patriarch of Aquileia. The Chioggians were relieved of a tribute of
twenty couples of hens due to the Doge, and their Podestà was richly

For twenty-five years save one, Ziani presided over the destinies of the
Republic. Her commercial influence was extended. Valuable treaties were
concluded with Germany, Hungary, Aleppo, Egypt and Barbary.

“In this reign,” says Sanudo, “were two most saintly men, Francis of
Assisi and Domenic of Spain. Now St Francis returning[21] from beyond
the seas came to Venice where he found that many birds were come to sing
on the boughs of the trees in the marshes. He having gone thither with
his companion, stood in the midst of the birds reciting the offices and
commanded them to be silent; whereupon they kept silence, nor did they
depart until he had given them leave. And he stayed in a certain oratory
where at present are a church and monastery of the friars called San
Francesco del Deserto.” The traveller to-day on his way to Torcello
will see in the distance on his right hand the island and monastery,
with its picturesque setting of pine and cypress. It is still inhabited
by a few brothers and recalls the sweetest, gentlest human soul that
ever breathed since Him of Galilee.

The choice of Ziani’s successor gave rise to a novel incident. The votes
of the College were equally divided between Marino Dandolo and Giacomo
Tiepolo. For five days they were scrutinised in the vain hope of finding
a casting vote. The Senate then authorised an appeal to chance. Lots
were cast, and fortune declared in favour of Giacomo Tiepolo on the 6th
of March 1229. During the interregnum between the resignation of Ziani
and the election of his successor opportunity was taken to strengthen
still further the power of the aristocracy and to weaken that of the
Doge. A Board of Correctors of the Ducal _Promissione_ or Coronation
oath, and another of Inquisitors of the dead Doge were formed. The
former was composed of five men of great wisdom and experience, whose
duty it was to examine and reform the _Promissione_ at the death of each
Doge. On the latter board three sat who were charged to listen to the
complaints of those who felt aggrieved at any action of the late Doge;
to examine his papers for any unpaid debts, and award praise or blame of
his conduct whether as citizen or as head of the state. As a result, the
_Promissione Ducale_ exacted from Dandolo and Ziani was made still more
stringent in the case of Tiepolo. He was forbidden to communicate with
foreign princes or to interfere in ecclesiastical matters: he was made
to pay taxes. The _Promissione_ sworn by Tiepolo is given in full by
Romanin, and covers nine closely-printed large octavo pages. The details
are curious: the number of his cooks was fixed; he swore to receive no
gifts nor presents of any kind from any person save and except
rosewater, flowers, sweet-smelling herbs and balsam, “which it shall be
lawful for us and our agents to receive.”


A great work was done in the codification and reform of the statute
laws. The navigation laws were made a model of humane legislation.

Meanwhile anxious eyes were again turned to the East. As the Latin
kingdom waned the Republic had increased her power at Constantinople,
and in return for naval services the arsenal was ceded to her. On the
death of Robert Courtenay the crown descended to his brother, Baldwin
II., a lad of ten. But in stirring times a child emperor was impossible,
and John of Brienne, titular king of Jerusalem, a heroic old crusader,
was during his minority chosen as Emperor.

John of Brienne had filled his thankless office but two years when the
capital was menaced by the allied forces of the Emperor of Nicea and the
King of Bulgaria. It was a critical moment. The Latin army was much
reduced by desertion, and it is said Brienne had less than two hundred
knights and four hundred footmen to oppose an army of many tens of
thousands. But the brave old Emperor--he was eighty years of age--put
himself at the head of his little band and sallied forth to meet the
host. An impetuous charge scattered them like chaff. The Venetians, too,
were not slack. An urgent message had been sent for help, and a fleet of
twenty galleys was hastily sent to Constantinople, which swooped down on
the Greek fleet at the entrance to the Dardanelles. The whole _Armata_
and transports were destroyed or taken, and the Venetian admirals made
triumphant entry into Constantinople to receive the felicitations of the
Emperor. Two years later the Greeks were again foiled by the
irresistible onslaught of the Venetian and Latin fleets.

At the death of John of Brienne financial ruin was impending and a
strange expedient was adopted to raise a loan. Of the sanctuary spoils
at the taking of Constantinople, the crown of thorns had been appointed
to the emperor. It was now brought forth with the lance of the passion
and mortgaged to the Venetian Bailo of Constantinople, Alberto Morosini,
for the loan of 14,000 _perperi_ subscribed by the leading merchants.
The bill fell due: the money was not forthcoming and the security was
legally forfeited. But a third party was found in the person of a rich
Venetian banker, who, towards the end of the year 1237, advanced the sum
for a month to give breathing time. If the payment was again deferred
the lender might remove the relic to Venice for a period of four months,
which being expired the mortgagee was empowered to foreclose. Meanwhile
the saintly king, Louis IX. of France, had heard of the transaction and
was much scandalised. He sent two Dominicans to Constantinople to redeem
the pledge and secure the precious relic for Paris. It was, however,
already on its way to Venice when the two black friars reached the
capital of the Empire. The good ship that was freighted with the thorns
arrived at Venice on the 4th of September 1238. Hastily the envoys
retraced their steps and sought an audience of Tiepolo, who straightway
led them to St Mark’s and showed them the sacred treasure. They then
went to the banker and offered the money to redeem the pledge. It was
handed to the friars who returned joyfully to Paris. King Louis,
barefoot and in his shirt, took part in the solemn procession that
accompanied the relic through the streets of Paris and the Sainte
Chapelle, the richest gem of Gothic architecture in North Europe, was
built to receive it.

Commercial expansion continued through Tiepolo’s reign. Trieste renewed
her fealty and treaties were concluded with Ravenna, Padua and Ragusa.
The Sultans of Aleppo and of Egypt confirmed and extended privileges
granted to the Venetians, and owing to the skill of their ambassadors
Barbary and Armenia were generous in concessions. To the tale of
saintly relics were added the bodies of St Marina and of St Paul the
first hermit, minus the head.

“In Tiepolo’s time,” says Sanudo, “so I have read, our citizens went as
magistrates to all the cities of Italy, for they were righteous men.”
They were usually chosen by the free communes of Lombardy, where their
capacity and incorruptibility made them eagerly sought for. The Doge’s
son, Pietro, ruled at Treviso; a Zeno at Bologna; a Morosini at Faenza;
a Dandolo at Conegliano; a Badoer at Padua. The cities of the Lombard
League deposited their funds with Venetian bankers. The papacy which had
consistently taken the side of the free cities of Italy against the
western emperors now found herself sorely pressed in her fierce struggle
with Frederic II. Pope Gregory IX. turned with longing eyes to the one
Italian state that could decide the contest. Desire for vengeance and
state policy made it easy for Venice to join the league--at a price.
Eccelino da Romano, at Frederic’s instigation, had devastated Venetian
territory up to Mestre and Murano to punish the Republic for her moral
support to the league. It was agreed that the Venetians should fit out a
punitive expedition to Sicily, of which half the cost was to be met by
the Pope, who promised moreover to cede Bari and Salpi to them and to
grant in feud all the territory they might conquer in Apulia and Sicily.

Ferrara, formerly held from the Holy See by Azzo of Este, had become a
Ghibelline stronghold and Azzo had been banished. To Venice happily
Guelph and Ghibelline were but names. No factions destroyed her domestic
peace; no feudal tyrants spoiled her citizens, or fury of popular
jealousy flung itself against her nobles. But in Ferrara valuable
trading rights granted by the Countess Matilda and maintained by the
Guelphs were ignored by the Ghibellines. The restoration of these rights
was made the price of her alliance with the Papal forces in an attack on
Ferrara. The siege was a long one. The city was defended by the
Imperialists under the most famous soldier of the day, Taurelli
Salinguerra. At a critical moment the Papal legate appealed for help to
the Doge, who, impelled by memories of his great predecessor,
determined to take command of the forces in person. His son was left to
rule in his absence, and after mass in the Church of Santo Spirito the
expedition sailed forth, the Bucintoro, with the Doge on board, leading.
Ferrara was subdued and the Doge was careful before leaving to exact
from the restored Azzo the reinstatement of the Venetians in their
former advantageous position as traders. Meanwhile the naval expedition
had reached Apulia and after devastating many cities, returned to Venice
with a rich booty.

Tiepolo is said to have possessed a prodigious memory. “This note I have
found,” says Sanudo, “_solum_ in one chronicle, yet it was the truth.
This Doge was very wise and had great fame through all parts of the
world. When any ambassadors came to deliver their suits he held his eyes
shut: after he had heard he recited chapter by chapter and answered
everything which they had expounded in such manner that all marvelled
greatly at so profound a memory, for he was a most wise Doge.” On the
20th of May, 1249, Tiepolo, weary of his burden of the state, laid it
down to retire to his house in S. Agostino.

The foundation in 1234 of the Dominican Monastery and Church of Santi
Giovanni e Paolo (S. Zanipolo) was due, the chroniclers relate, to the
piety of the Doge, who saw in a vision the oratory and neighbouring
Piazza of San Danieli filled with flowers and white doves bearing on
their heads crowns of gold, and two angels came down from heaven and
perfumed the place with golden censers. Then a voice was heard saying:
“This is the spot I have chosen for my preachers.” Thereupon the Doge
made over certain marshy lands near Santa Maria Formosa to Brother
Alberico of the Dominicans, and aided by papal favour and the piety of
individuals the building was so far advanced by 1293 that it was ready
to accommodate the general chapter of the order. The facade was finished
in 1351, and after the lapse of a century the mortal remains of the
founder were laid there. His simple tomb wrought with figures of doves
and angels, recalling the visions, still exists on the left of the
entrance. The great church and monastery of the rival order of friars,
S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, was also begun in Tiepolo’s reign. Until
that time the friars of St Francis, says Sanudo, had no monastery in
this city and dwelt near S. Lorenzo, where they worked with their hands
and lived by their labour and by alms.

At Tiepolo’s death the electoral college increased to forty-one, chose
Marin Morosini, an experienced magistrate and civil servant, as his
successor. Meantime the Inquisitors had met and decided that the late
Doge had been too zealous in the advancement of his sons. A new clause
was therefore added to the coronation oath forbidding the Doge to ask or
cause to be asked any office for any person, or to accept any charge
outside Venetian jurisdiction or in Istria.

The short reign of Morosini was marked by one important innovation. The
Republic by tradition and policy was eminently tolerant. It was
essential to a great commercial metropolis that men of all nations and
of all creeds should freely assemble and carry on their business without
fear of ecclesiastical penalties. Venice therefore had consistently
refused to admit the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition within her
boundaries. In the _Promissione Ducale_ of Morosini, however, an article
was inserted by virtue of which the Doge was ordered to name in
agreement with his Council certain religious men of integrity and wisdom
who were to search out heretics, and commit to the flames those who were
declared to be such by the Patriarch of Grado or any of the bishops of
the Dogado. But before condemnation the consent of the Doge and his
Council had first to be obtained. The Republic thus asserted her
authority and defended her subjects from arbitrary and ecclesiastical
domination. This, however, was far from satisfying the papal
authorities. The Venetians were repeatedly exhorted to admit the
jurisdiction of the Holy Office itself, but nothing further was
effected until 1289 when it was decided to accept the Inquisition, but
under stringent limitations. Two of the three Inquisitors appointed by
the Pope were made subject to the veto of the Doge. Three lay
representatives, _the Savii all’Eresia_,[22] over whom the Vatican
should have no power to assert direct or indirect power, were to be
present at every session of the tribunal with the object of preventing
abuses, false accusations, or any exercise of arbitrary power. They had
the right to suspend proceedings or stay execution of sentences, and
were charged to keep the Government informed of all that transpired at
the sessions of the Holy Office. Generally they were to maintain the
purity of the faith while safeguarding the rights of the State. No
extradition was allowed. The property of condemned heretics[23] was to
descend to their heirs. The funds of the Holy Office were to be under
the charge of a Venetian treasurer who was to render his account and be
responsible to the civil authorities alone.

Morosini’s reign was a peaceful and happy one. “So long as he was Doge,”
says Da Canale, “the Venetians were doubly blest, and with joy and
gladness their hearts were filled. Every man, rich or poor, increased
his substance, for Messer Marino Morosini was right gracious and none
durst assail him in war. His ships went beyond the seas to all places
without guard of galleys: he had peace with all: the sea in his time was
void of robbers.”

The advent of Renier Zeno in 1253 to the Ducal throne was marked by a
further suppression of popular rights. It was decreed that, before
publication of the new Doge’s name by the electoral college of the
forty-one, the people should swear to accept their choice. The blow was
accompanied by an application of Napoleon’s favourite device--Amuse the
people with toys. A magnificent tournament and gorgeous processions
celebrated the new Doge’s election and enthronement. Zeno was a tried
administrator and soldier; he had commanded as _podestà_ the Bolognese
forces at the siege of Ferrara. Nor did his military genius rust for
lack of use. In his troublous reign of sixteen years began the long and
exhausting struggle with Genoa for naval supremacy and commercial

At St Jean d’Acre was a church dedicated to St Sabbas, and there the
Genoese and Venetians were wont to worship in common--each, however,
claiming exclusive ownership in the building. A dispute as to an alleged
Venetian corsair captured by the Genoese ended in a riot. The Genoese
raided the Venetian ships, sacked their quarter of the city, and burnt
the church.

After vain and perhaps insincere attempts at pacification Venice
determined to wreak vengeance on her rival, and in 1286 Lorenzo Tiepolo
was despatched with a fleet to Acre. He spoiled and burned the Genoese
vessels in harbour, landed and destroyed part of their settlement, and
after some fighting captured their stronghold, the castle of Mongioia.
They sued for a truce, which was granted for two months. As trophies and
palpable sign of his success, Tiepolo sent to Venice the short column of
porphyry which now stands at the south-west angle of St Mark’s known as
the _Pietra di Bando_, (proclamation stone), because there were
promulgated the laws of the Republic; and the two beautifully decorated,
square, marble columns that stand side by side facing the Piazzetta,
over against the south side of the church.

The truce was a hollow one. Each side was eager to try its strength
again, and fleets were hastily collected. A desperate battle was fought
between Acre and Tyre. The Genoese were defeated and their admiral was
taken prisoner. Meanwhile a second Venetian squadron raided the Genoese
settlements all over the Levant. Domestic troubles at Genoa prevented
for a time further action, but in 1258 a new fleet was fitted out and
set sail under Rosso della Turca to retrieve her fortunes. The
Venetians, too, had reinforced their admiral, and the hostile squadrons
met on Midsummer Day near the scene of Tiepolo’s former victory. A day
was spent in vain attempts by the Genoese admiral to outmanœuvre his
enemy. On the morrow he was forced to give battle. Before the action
Tiepolo delivered a stirring oration to his men, exhorting them to brave
deeds. He bade them remember that the honour of Venice, the command and
security of the seas, were at stake. A great shout of _Viva San Marco
protettore del Veneto dominio_ was raised, and the attack began. It was
a long, bloody and stubborn fight. In the end the Venetians were again
victorious. Twenty-five galleys and 2600 men were captured and sent to
Venice, the prisoners being lodged in St Mark’s granaries. The remainder
of the fleet was scattered and Tiepolo’s damaged vessels returned to
Acre to refit, where the Venetians in the heat of victory stained their
country’s reputation by a wanton attack on the Genoese quarter, which
they sacked and burned.

It was a heartrending spectacle to Christian Europe: another act in that
pitiful and suicidal struggle between the two most powerful maritime
states which in the end reduced one to impotence, and left the other too
exhausted to resist the advancing tide of Turkish conquest. The Papacy,
generally solicitous to compose the differences of Christian states,
intervened, and an honourable but temporary peace was made.


Three years passed and a fresh storm burst in the East. Under the feeble
rule of Baldwin II. the Latin Empire was tottering to its fall.
Self-indulgence and corruption had destroyed the character of the
Frankish knights, death, desertion and private interest had reduced
their numbers. The Emperor, poor futile creature, had employed most of
his reign in wandering about Europe from court to court, whining for
outside help. The Crown of Thorns had already been pledged, the rich
jewels and precious objects _alla greca_, the beautiful icons of gold
and silver, known in Sanudo’s time as the jewels of St Mark, had
followed, and the emperor’s son was now left at Venice, a princely pawn,
for a loan advanced by the Cappellos. Meanwhile by the energy of her
princes the Greek empire of Nicea was being welded into a powerful
military state. In 1260, Michael Paleologus, guardian of the heir to the
throne, had bid for and won the imperial office. To make his hold secure
he aimed at nothing less than the restoration of the Greek Empire at
Constantinople. By prudent and virile measures he had collected an army
of 25,000 men near the city under the command of his favourite general,
Alexios. One of the gates was treacherously opened by night. The city
was entered; the Greek inhabitants, weary of alien domination, welcomed
the invaders, and the imperial city that cost the apostasy of a
Christian army, two sieges and the flower of Frankish chivalry, was lost
in a night. Venice truly had long foreseen the danger, and had kept a
great armament in the Bosphorus to watch events. Was she playing for a
higher stake and hoping ultimately to pick up the falling Frankish
sceptre? _Chi sa?_ What did happen to the amazement and disgust of the
Home Government was that the fleet, when the critical moment came, was
away on a punitive expedition in Thrace, and returned only in time to
receive the fugitive Baldwin and the Venetian governor. The crestfallen
admirals gazed impotently at the reddening sky, on a multitude of their
fellow-countrymen and their allies on the shore stretching forth their
hands to implore protection, and heard the cries of the victims, and the
exultant shouts of the conquerors in the city. On the 26th of July 1261,
Michael Paleologus made a triumphant entry into Constantinople, once
more the capital of the Greek Empire, and the pillage was stayed. It was
a bitter humiliation to Venice. She knew the Genoese had secretly allied
themselves with the new Emperor, and soon learned the price of the
alliance. The island of Chios, a Venetian possession, was made over to
them for a trading station. The very palace of the Venetian governor was
surrendered to them, and later was razed, the more precious of its
marble decorations being sent as spoil to Genoa.


Negropont, a Venetian fief, was with Michael’s approval seized and the
Venetians expelled. All the results of more than fifty years’ effort and
sacrifice were lost in a few hours, and the proud masters of the masters
of the Latin Empire found themselves degraded to the level of Pisa in
the city they perhaps regarded as their ultimate prize.


_The Duel with Genoa--The Closing of the Great Council_

                              “The dire aspect
    Of civil wounds ploughed up with neighbours’ swords.”


But Venice was yet in the full vigour and buoyancy of lusty manhood, and
nerved herself to regain her lost position. Alone among the Italian
states she was able to evoke a fervent, whole-hearted patriotism. Rich
and poor, patrician and plebeian were stirred. To the amazement of her
enemies, fleet after fleet was expedited against the Genoese. Some minor
engagements were fought with varying success, and at length the two
powers met off Trapani in 1264 for a final battle. The Genoese were
superior in numbers, and had the wind in their favour. The Venetians,
having intoned the gospel for the day and called for help on Christ and
Monsignor S. Marco, began the attack. A fierce struggle ensued on the
interlocked vessels, which formed a vast battlefield. The carnage was
terrible. At length Venetian courage and Venetian skill inflicted a
crushing defeat on the Genoese, who lost the whole of their fleet.

The affection of the Greek Emperor for the Genoese was now chilled; he
sued for terms, and after much debate, in which the forward party in
Venice vainly pushed their policy of founding a new empire, with its
centre at Constantinople, a treaty was signed in 1268, by which Venice
recovered her commercial standing in the capital, though she chafed
under the necessity of tolerating the presence of her rivals.


In 1265 the banner of the Cross was again raised in Venice, this time
against an Italian prince, Eccelino da Romano, the black-browed monster
of Padua, who for his infamous cruelty was immersed by Dante up to his
eyes among the tyrants in the river of boiling blood. A platform was
erected in the Piazza, from which the papal legate, the Archbishop of
Ravenna, inveighed against the atrocities committed by the _serverissimo
tiranno_ whom the Pope had excommunicated, declaring that if he were
permitted to live longer it would be to the shame of Christendom. The
Doge made an oration in support of the crusade, and Venice joined the
league against the tyrant. Eventually Padua was stormed and captured,
Eccelino’s victims released, himself in a later engagement mortally
wounded by a bowshot. He fell, asking the name of the place where he was
struck. “Sire,” replied his attendant, “it is called Cassano.” An
astrologer had foretold that he should die at Bassano. “Bassano,
Cassano,” the dying lord was heard to mutter, “small difference is there
between Bassano and Cassano.” He plucked the arrow from the wound,
thrust aside a friar who sought to confess him and died impenitent.
Never was such joy in Italy, says Da Canale, as when the news came that
the tyrant, more cruel than Pharaoh or Herod, was slain. The bells were
rung all over Venice in praise of God, even as they do on saints’ days.
In the evening all the towers were illuminated with candles and torches
so that it was a great marvel to see. The same annalist, writing of
Venice with all the enthusiasm of an Elizabethan singing the praises of
England, gives a vivid picture of his native city as it appeared towards
the end of the thirteenth century. “In the year of the Incarnation of
our Lord 1267, I, Martin da Canale, toiled and travailed so that I found
the ancient story of the Venetians and how they made the fairest,
noblest and pleasantest city in the world, filled with all beauty and
excellency. And I have set me to translate this story for the honour of
that city men call Vinegia from Latin into French, for that language
hath course throughout the whole world and is more delightful to read
and to hear than any other. For I would have all men to know, who may
travel thither, how the noble city is built; how filled with all good
things and how mighty is the lord of the Venetians, the most noble Doge;
how powerful are her nobles; how full of prowess her people and how all
are perfect in the faith of Jesus and to Holy Church obedient, for
within that noble Venice neither heretic, nor usurer, nor murderer, nor
thief, nor robber dares dwell. And I pray Jesus Christ and His sweet
mother, St Mary, and Monsignor St Mark, the Evangelist (in whom after
Jesus Christ we have put our trust), that they may grant health and long
life to Monsignor the Doge and to the Venetians. From all places come
merchants and merchandise, and goods run through that city even as
waters do from fountains. Provisions in abundance men find there, and
bread and wine and land-fowl and water-fowl, meat, fresh and salt, and
great fish from the sea and from the rivers. You shall find within that
fair city a multitude of old men and youths, who, for their nobleness,
are much praised; merchants, and bankers, and craftsmen, and sailors of
all kinds, and ships to carry to all places, and great galleys to the
hurt of her enemies. There, too, are fair ladies, youths and maidens
adorned most richly.” The chronicler describes the Piazza much as we see
it in Gentile Bellini’s picture (p. 262). “St Mark’s is the most
beautiful square in the world. Towards the east is the fairest church in
the whole world, the Church of Monsignor St Mark, and next is the palace
of Monsignor the Doge, great and most marvellously beautiful. Towards
the south is the end of the Piazza over the sea, and on the side of that
Piazza (the Piazzetta) is the palace of Monsignor the Doge, and on the
other side are palaces to house the commoners, and these hold as far as
the Campanile of St Mark, which is so great and high that the like could
not be found. And there, next the Campanile, is a hospital which Madonna
the Dogaressa has built to receive the sick, and men call it the
Hospital of St Mark. Next are the palaces of the treasurers, whom the
Venetians call the procurators of St Mark, and next to their mansions
are the palaces to lodge nobles, and these houses go far along the
Piazza up to a church (S. Geminiano). On the other side (N.) are noble
buildings for high barons and gentlemen, and these reach as far as the
church of St Mark.”

The firm hand kept by the aristocracy on civil government was felt
during Zeno’s reign. The Genoese were too high-spirited to submit to
terms while under the shame of defeat and a new naval war was imminent.
To meet the cost the corn tax was increased and a bread riot took place
on the Piazza. The Doge tried in vain to reason with the mob, and at
last was driven to resort to force. Troops were levied; the sedition was
crushed; the ringleaders were beheaded between the red columns. But when
order was restored the obnoxious tax was quietly withdrawn. The
Government was severe to aristocratic brawlers. Two of the Dandolo
family sided with the people, and Lorenzo Tiepolo, son of Doge Giacomo,
headed the Government party. The rival leaders met in the streets and
Tiepolo was assaulted. The Dandoli were at once heavily fined and a law
was passed forbidding the people to have the escutcheons of any nobles
painted on their houses or to wear any of their emblems. The Doge died
in 1268 and was honoured with a sumptuous State funeral in S. Zanipolo.

Before the election of a successor the most complicated machinery ever
devised by the wit of man for the election of a chief magistrate was
elaborated by the Venetian aristocracy.

The youngest of the Privy Councillors having invoked the divine blessing
in St Mark’s, issued forth and laid hands on the first boy he met on the
Piazza. Meantime the Great Council met and having excluded all members
who were under thirty years of age, those that remained were counted.
Ballots equal in number to the purged Council were then prepared, into
thirty of which was inserted a piece of parchment inscribed with the
word “_lector_.” The ballots[24] were placed in a hat; the captured boy
was introduced and bidden to draw out the ballots and hand one to each
Councillor. The ballots were then opened and the thirty who held the
parchment stayed in the chamber; the others left. The thirty reduced
themselves to nine by the same process; which nine sat in close conclave
until they had chosen forty, each by a majority of at least seven votes.
These forty were reduced by lot to twelve. The twelve elected
twenty-five, each by a majority of at least nine votes. The twenty-five
were again reduced to nine, who chose forty-five, each by at least seven
votes. The forty-five reduced themselves to eleven who made the final
choice of forty-one by at least nine votes each. The electoral college
of forty-one thus formed, having heard the Mass of the Holy Ghost, met
and chose three presidents and two secretaries. Each elector in turn
placed the name of his candidate in an urn. The secretaries unfolded the
papers and read out the names. The papers were again folded and placed
in the urn and one was extracted. If the candidate thus selected were in
the room, he was ordered to withdraw, and each elector invited to state
his objections to him. The candidate was then called in to refute any
charges made against him, and a last vote was taken for or against the
candidate. If he obtained twenty-five ballots he was declared Doge. The
election was proclaimed, and a deputation led the Doge-elect to the
Ducal Palace, and then by the ducal staircase to St Mark’s. He ascended
the marble pulpit to the left of the choir and showed himself to the
people. Having heard mass, he swore fealty to the State and to observe
its laws. The Primicerio then solemnly invested him with the ducal
mantle and handed him the standard of the Republic. He was then chaired
and made the usual tour of the Piazza, distributing largess to the
people. Afterwards he ascended the great staircase (after the Giants’
Staircase was built he stood between the statues of Mars and Neptune),
where the oldest Councillor placed the ducal cap on his head. A banquet
given by the Doge to the electors completed the ceremony.


Such, with slight modifications, was the machinery by which the Doges
were elected until the fall of the Republic. The ceremony over, public
festivities followed. By Da Canale’s vivid description of the rejoicings
that attended the election of Lorenzo Tiepolo in 1268 we are able to
gain some idea of what they were like. “On the day of S. Apollinare was
such great joy in Venice that the mouth of man could not tell of it. For
the Venetians had remembrance of Messer Jacopo Tiepolo, father of
Lorenzo, how noble and debonnair, how famous for good deeds he was, and
great were their hopes of Messer Lorenzo.” Soon as the good news was
known the bells rang a glad peal, and all the people, even the little
children, ran to St Mark’s shouting, “Messer Lorenzo Tiepolo is made
Doge!” After mass and consecration he was given the gonfalon of St Mark
all of gold. Having ascended the palace stairs he stood, gonfalon in
hand, while the lauds[25] were sung, and again swore fealty to the
people and spake wisely to them. Meanwhile his chaplains went to S.
Agostino to fetch the Dogaressa, and to her also were praises sung. On
the morrow, having made a public reconciliation with the Dandoli, a
naval review was held on the Grand Canal in front of the Ducal Palace,
led by Pietro Michiel, who with a great fleet of galleys was about to
sail overseas. Choirs were aboard who sang the ducal lauds. The waters
were alive with boats of all kinds, those of Torcello and Murano
adorned with banners and shields distinguishing themselves by their
splendour. A grand procession of Guilds next defiled before the Doge.
First came the master smiths, two by two, each wearing a garland,
accompanied by their trumpeters and other musicians and by their
standard-bearers. As they came in front of the Doge they saluted him and
wished him long life and victory. His serenity returned a gracious
answer, and they then went their way shouting, “_Viva nostro Signor
Messer Lorenzo Tiepolo_,” to S. Agostino, to salute the Dogaressa. Then
followed the furriers, dressed in ermine, calimanco and taffeta; the
tanners, richly clothed in rare furs and bearing silver cups and phials
filled with wine; the weavers, clad in finest cloth; the tailors,
magnificently arrayed in white garments, adorned with vermilion stars
and trimmed with furs, “and the great joy they made must be truly told,
for they set their gonfalon in front, with trumpets and instruments of
music, and gave themselves up to great gladness, singing _canzoni_ and
folk-songs; and having in their turn saluted their new lord right well,
went their way to Madame the Dogaressa rejoicing exceedingly.” The
wool-workers bore olive branches in their hands and garlands of olive on
their heads--they, too, were filled with great joy. The silk-weavers,
“they that make pellisses right richly,” decked their bodies all anew
with coats and mantles of fustian. The makers of quilts and doublets, to
honour their lord, arrayed themselves newly with cloaks of white,
trimmed with _fleur-de-lys_, and each cloak had a hood richly dight with
pearls set in gold; little children marched in front of them. The makers
of cloth of gold were apparelled in cloth of purple and of gold, with
crowns of pearls set in gold; the shoemakers and mercers in fine silk
and cloth of gold; the cheesemongers and pork butchers in cloth of
scarlet and purple and divers colours, wearing garlands of pearls and
gold; the fishmongers and poulterers followed, “and know, sirs, that
right well should Messer Lorenzo Tiepolo have them that sold fish in
remembrance as they passed, for many a fair trout and sturgeon and other
great fish had he obtained from them.” The glass-makers bore some of the
finest of their wares in their group, and the comb-makers a cage full of
birds of all kinds, and as they passed, opened the door and set the
birds free to delight the Doge. And “there, sirs, you would have heard
great laughter on all sides.” But the barber surgeons were they that
most distinguished themselves by their ingenuity. They had with them two
men on horseback armed cap-à-pie, called knights-errant, who escorted
four damsels, most gorgeously apparelled, two on fair steeds and two on
foot. On reaching the Doge one of the horsemen dismounted and making
obeisance, cried: “Sire, we be two knights-errant who rode to seek
adventure, and enduring pains and travail have won these fair damsels.
Now are we come to your Court, and if there be any knight who is minded
to prove his body and win these strange damsels we are ready to defend
them.” “Sirs,” answered the Doge, “ye are welcome, and may the Lord let
you rejoice in your conquest, for I will that ye be honoured at my
Court.” The knight then remounted his steed and all cried, “Long live
our lord, Messer Lorenzo Tiepolo,” and went their way to repeat the play
before the Dogaressa.

How many were the Guilds that took part in the procession we know not
for Da Canale stays his narrative to tell of the Genoese wars, after
describing the goldsmiths wearing on their caps and cloaks, pearls and
gold and silver, sapphires, emeralds, jacinths, amethysts, jaspers and
carbuncles and other precious stones. After the procession an exhibition
was held in the palace, of all the arts of Venice, in honour of the

Scarcely had the echoes of the music and shouting in the Piazza died
away when the gaunt spectre of famine hovered over Venice. The wheat
harvest had failed in Europe, the Crusaders had devastated Africa, and
she appealed to her allies on the mainland for help. A strong state ever
fighting for its own hand may win the respect born of fear, but
sympathy, never. The entreaties of Venice fell on deaf ears. Strenuous
efforts were made to collect cargoes of corn from Dalmatia, Greece and
even Asia. In the nick of time a small consignment came in from Dalmatia
and was immediately distributed with absolute impartiality among the
people. When the pressure was relieved, a corn office, consisting of
three _magistrati delle Biade_, was created to control the corn trade
and take measures to prevent any future possibility of famine. The
bas-relief in the Ducal Palace, now known as the Cobden Madonna (p.
253), commemorates the wise means adopted by these magistrates in a time
of scarcity two centuries later.

The coronation oath sworn to by Tiepolo was made even more stringent on
the accession of Jacopo Contarini in 1275. The Doge was fast becoming
little more than the official mouthpiece of the aristocracy. A clause
binding the Doge to keep himself informed of the number of prisoners in
the cells at the Ducal Palace and to see that each and every prisoner
should be brought to trial within a month of his incarceration,
demonstrates how careful the aristocracy were to justify power by wise
principles of government. Contarini was an old man of eighty when he
accepted office, and after six years retired on an annuity of 1500 lire,
the first pension ever granted to a Doge. The steady pursuance of
commercial aggrandisement brought Venice in the previous reign into
conflict with Bologna. Duties were levied on all ships trading in the
ports between Ravenna and Fiume, and a captain of the Gulf of Adria
appointed to exact them by force of arms. It was only too apparent that
Venice aimed at making the whole Adriatic a Venetian sea, and in 1283
the territories of the Republic in Dalmatia were menaced by a formidable
coalition of Aquileia, Ancona, and the Count of Goritz.

The Republic replied by laying siege to Trieste. During the armistice
granted by Morosini, the Venetian commander, to enable the Patriarch of
Aquileia to bury his nephew, fallen in battle, a certain Contestabile of
Infantry, Gerard of the Long Lances, was found to have corresponded with
the enemy by means of slips of paper attached to his arrows. He
confessed under torture and was shot from a mangonel into the enemy’s
camp, a mangled mass of treachery. The siege was, however, a failure,
and Morosini on his return was disgraced and imprisoned. The victorious
allies marched on Caorle, captured the _podestà_ and burned his palace:
they even singed the very mane of the Lion of St Mark by a descent on
Malamocco. The executive, endowed with unlimited powers, made a levy _en
masse_ on the whole able-bodied population, another armament was fitted
out and at length Trieste fell. The Pope, anxious to buttress the
tottering fabric of the Latin dominion in the East, effected a peace,
and a huge bonfire in the Piazza made of the surrendered Triestine
artillery satisfied Venetian pride, though her attempt to dominate the
Adriatic was but partially successful.

The sleepless eyes of Venetian statesmen were now turned southwards.
Constance of Swabia, unhappy Manfred’s

                “bella figlia, genitrice
    dell’ onor di Cicilia e d’ Aragona,”[26]

by her marriage brought the strong arm of Peter of Aragon to enforce her
claims to the throne of the Two Sicilies, which the Pope’s darling,
Charles of Anjou, had won by the defeat of Manfred and the destruction
of the Ghibelline cause at Benevento.

The Republic, still smarting under the commercial condominium of the
Genoese at Constantinople, and enticed by the prospect of regaining her
former ascendency, was drawn into an offensive and defensive alliance
with the Pope and Charles against the Greeks. But on Easter Eve, in
1282, an insult offered to a noble Sicilian damsel by a French soldier
fired the rage of the Sicilians, and before the dawn of Easter Day
the blood of eight thousand French in Palermo alone had glutted their
vengeance. The Sicilian Vespers wrecked Charles’s fortunes, and the
Republic turned to renew her former understanding with the Greek
Emperor. Martin IV., enraged at the defection of his ally, laid Venice
under the ban of the Church, but his opportune death soon made
reconciliation possible.


Visitors to Venice may have noticed a traditional motto written in brass
nails on some of the gondolas that ply for hire which admirably sums up
the old popular Venetian idea of government: _Pane in Piazza: Giustizia
in Palazzo_ (Bread in the market-place: Justice in the palace). This
principle always inspired the rule of the aristocracy. In 1284, during
Giovanni Dandolo’s reign, a calamitous inundation had plunged the people
into misery. To meet their urgent needs a loan was raised on Government
security, and ten thousand bushels of wheat were distributed at a
nominal cost among the people.

In October of the same year the mint issued the first gold ducat of
Venice, which for centuries was famous for its purity, fineness and
weight throughout the whole commercial world. Orders were given that it
was to be similar to and even purer than the golden florin of Florence,
which had been coined thirty-two years before. Sanudo remembers to have
seen an inscription on marble in the mint, dated 1285, commemorating the
first striking of the gold ducat of the Venetians in honour of the
Blessed Mark the Evangelist and of all saints, in the reign of the
renowned Doge of the Venetians, Giovanni Dandolo. This beautiful
zecchino (sequin) was worth about nine shillings and sixpence in English
money, and admirably illustrates the dress of the Doges during a period
of five hundred and thirteen years. The evolution of the _corno_ or horn
on the ducal bonnet may be clearly traced on the coins issued between
the reigns of Francesco Foscari and Leonardo Loredano.

The sepulchre had hardly received the body of Giovanni Dandolo in 1289
when a formidable demonstration in favour of Giacomo, son of Doge
Lorenzo Tiepolo, put the new constitution to a severe test. Giacomo, son
and grandson of Doges, was known to have popular leanings, and so
threatening was the attitude of the crowd on the Piazza that the Privy
Council personally urged him to disclaim any intention of accepting the
proffered honour.

Tiepolo, preferring his country’s peace to the gratification of his own
ambition, exhorted the crowd to respect the law, and left for the
mainland till the crisis should be past. But the delicate electoral
machinery was never for a moment put out of gear. The provisional
Government was appointed; through all the tumult the electors calmly
rattled their ballots in the Ducal Palace, and to the sullen displeasure
of the popular party a prominent aristocrat, Pietro Gradenigo, was
proclaimed Doge twenty-three days after the death of his predecessor.
For the first time the officer who recited the formula: _Quest’è il
vostro doge si vi piacerà_, turned aside without staying to receive the
approbation of the people.

The long reign of Gradenigo (1289-1311) is one of the most important in
the annals of Venice. By the fall of Acre in 1291 the doom of the
Christian power in the Holy Land was sealed, and Venice, whose interest
in the Crusades and in the Latin dominion over Syria was frankly a
commercial one, turned the new situation to her own advantage. Her
policy was to frustrate her rivals, the Genoese. To the scandal of
Christendom a treaty was concluded with the infidel in 1299, and ere
long slaves and materials of war were openly sold by the Venetians in
their ports. The Sultan declared in the charter his steadfast will that
the Venetians should be protected and honoured beyond all people in the
world, and entitled to the sole right of a Saracen escort for Christian
pilgrims to Jerusalem. The Genoese found themselves squeezed out of the
coast towns, and Venice in exclusive possession of the Syrian trade.

[Illustration: ON THE GRAND CANAL.]

The Pope, anxiously revolving the sad vicissitudes of the Christians
in the east, turned to Venice and Genoa, praying them for the love of
Christ to combine and save the fair island of Cyprus, still unpolluted
by the presence of the infidels. But the lion of St Mark was a fierce
yoke-fellow. The more restricted the field of influence became between
Venice and Genoa the more bitter grew their jealousy. Two fleets were,
however, fitted out in response to the Papal appeal. Their prows had
scarcely touched Cyprian waters when a fight took place between some of
the allied ships, and to the edification of the Saracen the two greatest
maritime powers of Christendom were soon engaged in mutual destruction.
Unavailing efforts were made by the Church to heal the strife, for while
the Dominican envoys were treating at Venice the feverish activity at
the arsenal told too plainly that the time for the peacemaker was not
yet come. Rumours soon reached Venice of an alliance between the Genoese
and the Greeks and of the threatened closure of the Dardanelles to her
ships. She delayed no longer to strike. All her seamen between sixteen
and sixty were enrolled; her patrician houses were called to furnish
their part of a new armament, and on October 7th, 1294, the fleet was
under sail. The admiral, Marco Besegio, sighted the Genoese fleet under
Nicolo Spinola off Ayas, in Asia Minor. The enemy was inferior in
strength, and Besegio, too confident perhaps of victory, was
out-manœuvred, defeated with heavy losses, and himself slain. The
Genoese, to clinch their victory, despatched a mighty fleet of nigh two
hundred sail manned by forty-five thousand men, among whom were the
chiefs of their noble houses. Meanwhile Venice, shrewdly calculating
that the heavy financial strain involved in the maintenance of so huge
an armament would soon wear the enemy out, steadily equipped a new
fleet, called out a fresh levy, and concentrated her force on the
defence of the lagoons. Before a year was past the Genoese, after
spoiling and slaughtering the hapless inhabitants of Canea in Crete,
returned to port.

Early in 1295 news came to Venice which stung her to fury. A street row
at Constantinople had developed into a general attack by the Genoese on
the Venetians. The former were victorious, and after flinging the
Venetian Governor out of the windows of the palace, dashing him to
pieces, proceeded to an indiscriminate massacre of the inhabitants of
the Venetian colony. The Greeks sent envoys to disclaim any
responsibility in the outrage, but they were hectored by the Doge, who
demanded an enormous indemnity, which served but to cement their
alliance with the Genoese. Late in the spring the Venetian commander,
Ruggieri Morosini, with a fleet of forty galleys, forced the
Dardanelles, wasted the Genoese suburb of Galata and laid siege to
Constantinople. Meanwhile another fleet, under Giov. Soranzo, entered
the Black Sea and sacked the Genoese settlement of Caffa; but the
elements amply avenged the Genoese. Soranzo returned to Venice bearing
an unheroic story of vessels disabled and men frozen to death by the
rigours of an Euxine winter. The year 1297 passed in petty expeditions,
and towards the end of the autumn Boniface VIII. essayed to negotiate a
peace. The magnanimous Pope (Dante’s pet enemy) went so far as to offer,
if the Genoese paid one-half, to pay himself the other half of the
claims of the Venetians, but the latter rejected all compromise, and
Boniface despairing of success inculpated the pride of Venice, and
washed his hands of the whole business. Each power prepared for a final

Among the wealthy Venetians whose enthusiasm took the form of offering
themselves and their ships to the common cause was a certain Marco Polo
but recently returned from adventurous journies in the mysterious lands
of the Grand Khan of Tartary; in Persia, China, Japan, and the Indies;
and who from his wonderful stories of the million peopled cities and
millions of jewels and treasure he had seen in his twenty-five years’
wanderings was popularly known as Messer Marco Milione. In August 1298
all was ready and a fleet of ninety-five sail, under the command of
Andrea Dandolo, set its course southwards and came upon the Genoese
squadron of eighty-five vessels, under Lamba Doria off the island of
Curzola. The fleets were about evenly matched, and on September 8th the
action began. Doria, by superior seamanship, got the weather gauge and
the Venetians, fighting too with the sun in their eyes, were routed.
Twelve galleys, whose captains, panic-stricken, had abandoned the fight,
alone escaped. With abject mien they told the extent of the disaster.
The fine fleet was sunken, captured or burned, the loss in killed
appalling, and seven thousand of their countrymen were on their way to
Genoese prisons.[27] Among the captives was Messer Marco Milione
himself, who to relieve the tedium of his imprisonment, dictated in
halting French to his prison comrade Rustichello the story of his
wanderings and adventures. A small court, in which Marco Polo’s house
stood on a site now covered by the Malibran Theatre, is called to this
day the Corte del Milione.


Venice, conscious that her staying power was greater than her rival’s,
without a moment of panic set about equipping another fleet of a hundred
galleys. But Genoa, exhausted by her costly victory, was willing to
treat, and in 1299 the Imperial Vicar of Milan effected a peace between
the Republics on honourable terms.

During the Genoese war the aristocracy had quietly matured plans for
fencing off their preserves from any intrusion of the democracy. Two
abortive attempts had been made in 1286 and 1296 to restrict membership
of the Great Council to members of the aristocracy. Gradenigo, who was a
leader of iron will and indomitable purpose, succeeded the next year in
achieving the revolution in the Constitution known as the shutting of
the Great Council (Serrata del Gran Consiglio). The Quarantia[28] were
charged (1) to put to the ballot one by one all who for the past four
years had sat in the Great Council. Those who received not less than
twelve votes were to be members up to Michaelmas, when, after being
subjected to a new ballot, they were to serve for a further period of
one year. (2) Three electors were to be appointed who should submit
further names of non-members of the Great Council for election under the
same system of ballot. (3) The three were to sit in the Council until
Michaelmas, when they were to be superseded by other three, who should
sit for a year. (4) The law could not be repealed save with the consent
of five of the six privy councillors, twenty-five of the Quarantia, and
two-thirds of the Great Council. Such were the chief provisions of the
measure which transformed the aristocracy into an oligarchy and created
the Maggior Consiglio.


It will be seen that by the second clause an avenue was left open by
which a Venetian, not a member of the favoured class, might enter the
aristocratic close, but it was rendered inoperative by the principle
which the three laid down for their guidance, that only those whose
paternal ancestors had been members of the Great Council between 1172
and 1297 should be eligible for ballot. The effect of the change was to
increase the number of the Council. In 1296 it consisted of two hundred
and ten members. In 1311 they had risen to ten hundred and seventeen; in
1340 to twelve hundred and twelve; in 1490 to fifteen hundred and
seventy; and in 1510 to sixteen hundred and seventy-one.

In 1315 it was enacted that a book be kept for the inscription of the
names of all persons above eighteen years of age who had the right to
enter the Council. So keen was the ambition to be inscribed that in the
year following a fine of thirty lire was imposed on all those whose
names were unlawfully entered and who did not remove them within a
month. In 1319 _Avvogadori_, a sort of heraldic officers, were appointed
and charged to subject to the severest scrutiny the titles of applicants
for inscription, and in order to frustrate any attempt to tamper with
the electors it was ordained that as many ballots should be used as
there were names inscribed, and that of these, a number equal to the
candidates to be elected should be of gold. The names were read out in
the order of their entry and a boy extracted a ballot as each man was
called. Those to whom the gold ballots fell were declared elected. It
was further ordained that after the lapse of two years all who had
reached the age of twenty-five years and were in possession of the
necessary qualifications should _ipso facto_ be entitled to enter the
Council. Thus the electors’ functions ended, and any descendant of an
aristocratic family who fulfilled the conditions required by the law
became at that age a member of the Great Council. This was the actual
and definite _Serrata_ (Nov. 25th, 1319).

Every noble was bound to notify his marriage and the birth of his
children at the Avvogaria to be entered in a book and stringent
regulations were from time to time laid down to insure the purity of the
family record. Owing to the association of the golden ballots with the
right to enter the Council, this book was called the _Libro d’Oro_, the
Golden book. The Council elected all officers of State, imposed taxes,
decreed laws, made peace and war, concluded alliances, until owing to
its unwieldy growth many of its powers were delegated to the Senate, the
Council retaining as its chief function the election of the officers of
the Republic. The Senate was definitely established in 1230 and
consisted of sixty members, nominated by four electors of the Great
Council, to whom later other sixty were added called the _Zonta_ or
addition. The _Consiglio Minore_ (Privy Council) was still composed of
six members chosen from the wards of the city. They, with the Doge,
presided over the Senate, and with the three chiefs of the _Quarantia_
formed the _Serenissima Signoria_ (Signory). They could act in the
absence of the Doge but the Doge could take no action without them. They
opened dispatches, received petitions, prepared the agenda for the Great
Council and the Senate, read the Coronation oath every year to the Doge
and if need were admonished him. The _Quarantia_ (Council of forty) was
the judicial authority and controlled the Mint, heard complaints from
the subject cities and provinces, and gave audience to ambassadors. In
the fifteenth century the civil and criminal functions of the
_Quarantia_ were separated and two _Quarantie_ established. The Doge,
the living embodiment of the Republic, presided over all these
assemblies. In 1308 a small _giunta_ of seven _Savii_ (wise men or
experts) was formed to deal with Ferrarese affairs and did its work so
well that it continued in office. It was subsequently enlarged and
subdivided in 1442 into three bodies, one dealing with home affairs, one
with mainland affairs, the third with the arsenal. The three united
formed the _Collegio_ (Cabinet). By the permanent appointment of the
Council of Ten in 1335 was evolved the famous constitution of Venice
which for its stability and efficiency became the admiration of every
statesman in Europe, and filled with envy the Italian states of the

[Illustration: BOATS AT ANCHOR.]


_The Oligarchy--Commercial supremacy--The Bajamonte Conspiracy--The
Council of the Ten--The Prisons_

     “O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea which art a
     merchant of the people for many isles, ... thou hast said: I am of
     perfect beauty. Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy
     builders have perfected thy beauty.... Thy wise men were thy
     pilots.... All the ships of the sea were in thee to occupy thy
     merchandise.... Syria was thy merchant ... they occupied in thy
     fairs with emeralds, purple and broidered work, fine linen and
     coral and agate.”--_Ezekiel._

The fourteenth century opens the era of the oligarchy. Venice had made
peace with the only rival that could challenge her maritime supremacy.
She had not yet entangled herself in an aggressive continental policy.
The tramp of the advancing Turk was too far away to echo in the lagoons.
The wealth of the Indies and of the far East flowed through her markets.
Her merchants laid the known world under contribution. “By way of the
Syrian ports and of Alexandria came the cloves, nutmegs, mace and ebony
of the Moluccas; the sandal wood of Timor; the costly camphor of Borneo;
the benzoin of Sumatra and Java; the aloes, wood of Cochin China; the
perfumes, gums, spices, silks and innumerable curiosities of China,
Japan and Siam; the rubies of Pegu; the fine fabrics of Coromandel; the
richer stuffs of Bengal; the spikenard of Nepaul and Bhutan; the
diamonds of Golconda; the Damascus steel of Nirmul; the pearls,
sapphires, topazes and cinnamon of Ceylon; the pepper, ginger and satin
wood of Malabar; the lac, agates and sumptuous brocades and jewelry of
Cambay; the costus and graven vessels, wrought arms and broidered shawls
of Cashmere; the bdellium of Scinde; the musk of Thibet; the galbanum of
Khorossan; the assafœtida of Afghanistan; the sagapenum of Persia;
the ambergris, civet and ivory from Zanzibar; the myrrh, balsam and
frankincense of Zeila, Berbera and Shehr.”[29] The bare recital of this
catalogue has the effect of a poem and fills the imagination with
visions of Oriental splendour. Every year six trading fleets averaging
about five hundred vessels each sailed, one for the Black Sea, another
for Greece and Constantinople; others for the Syrian ports; for Egypt,
Barbary and North Africa; for Flanders and England. These ships were the
property of the State, and in due time a public crier announced the
number of galleasses ready for the annual voyages. They were farmed out
to the highest bidders, who were required to prove their qualifications
and the amount of their capital, and to provide on each galleasse
accommodation, a suitable mess, and space for a small cargo, for eight
young nobles, who thus were trained in naval science and gained
experience of commerce. The vessels were constructed on fixed models and
convertible at will into men-of-war. Every man aboard, passenger or
seaman, bore arms, and was compelled to fight the ship in case of
attack. Standardised fittings were obtainable at every Venetian maritime
station to replace any that might be lost or damaged by storm or battle.
The food and comfort of the seamen were carefully provided for. A cross
painted or carved on the side served as a load-line, and Government
inspectors checked any attempt to overload. Each ship carried a band of

The cargo of a Syrian or Egyptian galleasse was worth about two hundred
thousand[30] ducats, and it has been estimated that the Republic in the
fifteenth century could dispose of three thousand three hundred ships,
thirty-six thousand seamen and sixteen thousand shipwrights. The consuls
at every Venetian port were charged to inspect the weights and measures
of the traders and to prevent adulteration or fraud. If the consul were
found to be venal he was branded on the forehead. At home the same
measures were taken to maintain the standard of quality. In 1550 English
woollen goods from the Thames were exposed with the brand of the Senate
upon them in St Mark’s Palace as evidence of English dishonesty and the
decay of English faith. In the fifteenth century, when Turkish pirates
infested the seas, _navi armate_ (war-ships) were built to convoy the
merchant fleets, and a state navy was thus formed in which slaves or
criminals were forced to work the oars.

In 1556, sixty out of a gang of Lutherans convicted of heresy, marching
through Flanders on their way to the Venetian galleys, were rescued from
slavery by the people of Maestricht and their guards stoned. In earlier
times, before the navy was differentiated into merchant and war-ships,
Sclavonians were employed for this exhausting labour, and those who
manned the galleasses to Flanders and England possessed a burial vault
in North Stoneham Church near Southampton.

In the event of a naval war a levy was made on all the male inhabitants.
Those liable were divided into groups of twelve and lots were drawn to
decide who should serve first. The unfit provided substitutes or were
fined. Those on service were given free bread rations and were paid five
lire a month by the Commune and one lira from each man of the twelve who
was not chosen. Romanin estimates that the equipment of a galley in the
early thirteenth century was equal to that of a frigate of seventy-four
guns in his day (1850). The discipline was perfect. The seamen were said
to obey their chiefs as sheep do their shepherd. Gambling or swearing
was severely punished by flogging.

“When the hour of departure neared, the Commander came on board preceded
by trumpeters and followed by his staff. Perfect silence reigned as he
began his inspection. Every man was at his post, every oar in its place.
All the arms, accoutrements and appointments were carefully examined,
and when the trumpeters gave signal for departure the rowers
simultaneously plied their oars, or if the wind were fair threw them up
and sails[31] were set with marvellous alertness. A general holiday was
observed with great pomp and magnificence. The ships were coloured white
and vermilion, the sails bright with variegated stripes, the poop was
richly gilt, the figure-head of the most beautiful design. The Doge and
his Council with dazzling pageantry, senators in scarlet robes, the
_élite_ of Venetian ladies, famed for grace and beauty and arrayed in
gorgeous dresses, and hundreds of citizens in gay gondolas witnessed the
departure.”[32] A stirring scene, surpassed alone by that when the
clanging of bells from St Mark’s tower called the people to view a
victorious fleet sailing up the lagoons and the enemy’s standards
trailing on the waters.

In Gradenigo’s reign we note the first indication of a policy of
territorial aggrandisement on the Italian mainland. Little wars had
already been waged: with the Paduans in 1142, to prevent the diversion
of the course of the Brenta; and with Ferrara in 1240, to maintain
trading privileges. In 1308 these were again endangered by a dispute
between rival claimants for the lordship of Ferrara. Venice intervened
and was brought into conflict with the Pope. His Holiness, as a temporal
enemy, fought at a vantage, for to the material bolts of Mars he was
able to add the spiritual thunders of the Church. When the Papal warning
was received, the Doge addressed the Councillors, and stoutly defended
his policy and told them that they were not children to be frightened by
words. There was an angry scene in the council chamber, and for once the
ominous cries, “Guelph and Ghibelline,” were heard within the walls of
the palace. The ducal party maintained their position and the ban was
laid on Venice. The Doge, his Councillors and the citizens were
excommunicated, their possessions in Ferrara confiscated, every treaty
with them declared void, commercial relations forbidden, and all the
clergy summoned to leave. The Pope’s words, however, were winged with
terror to the Venetians. News soon came of banks, factories and ships
sacked in Italy, France and England, and even in far Asia. Their trade,
except with the infidel, was paralysed; religious and civic life
disintegrated. But the Republic never winced. On the very day that the
papal interdict reached Venice instructions were sent to the Venetian
_podestà_ at Ferrara to fortify himself in _Castel Tebaldo_ and manfully
and potently to uphold the rights and honour of his country.

The Venetian garrison, however, weakened by disease, surrendered after a
long struggle, and met the fate of the vanquished. The fleet was
destroyed, and growing unrest in the State forced the Doge and his party
to make terms with the Pope. Ferrara was acknowledged to be a papal
fief, and an indemnity paid for the restoration of the trading
privileges of the Republic.

In the year of the _Serrata_ the corpses of Bocconi, a popular leader,
and ten of his followers dangled between the red columns as a warning to
the disaffected, but after the inglorious issue of the war the
discontent of the people was intensified, and found a rallying-point in
certain ambitious and disgraced nobles of the Quirini, Tiepolo and
Badoer[33] families, who were united by a common hatred of the ducal
party. Secret meetings were held in Casa Quirini near the Rialto, and
Bajamonte, the people’s darling, the “_Gran Cavaliere_,” son of Jacopo
Tiepolo, was drawn into the conspiracy. It was determined to organise a
revolution and assassinate the Doge and his chief supporters. The
insurrection was fixed for Sunday, June 14th, 1310, the eve of St Vito’s
Day. Down the two main avenues of traffic that debouch from the north on
the Piazza, the Calle dei Fabri and the Merceria, two divisions under
the leadership of Marco Quirini, the chief conspirator, and of
Bajamonte, were to march and simultaneously attack the palace, meanwhile
Badoer was sent to collect sympathisers at Padua. All had been foreseen
save the treachery of man and of the elements. In the early dawn, as the
revolutionists rushed from Casa Quirini, shouting “Liberty” and “Death
to Doge Gradenigo,” their faces were lashed by a driving rain, their
voices smothered by peals of thunder and the howling of the wind. The
movements failed to synchronise, and the Quirini section encountered in
the Piazza, not their allies from the Merceria, but a ducal force which
scattered them and slew their leader and his son. Men who will betray
the State will betray their fellows. The plot had been divulged by one
Marco Donato, and the Doge had met the danger with his wonted courage
and alertness. He increased his guards, summoned help from Chioggia,
Murano and Torcello, called out the arsenal men, armed his Councillors
and their servants. Having disposed of the Quirini, the Doge was able to
deal with Bajamonte’s division in the Merceria. During the fighting
Bajamonte’s standard-bearer met the fate of Abimelech.[34] A woman aimed
a stone mortar from an upper window at him: it struck him on the head,
and the bearer and the banner inscribed with the word, “Liberty,” fell
to the ground. Panic seized the rebels and they fled across the Rialto
bridge. Meanwhile the remnant of Quirini’s party rallied and made a
stand on the Campo S. Lucia, only to be finally crushed by members of
the Painters’ Guild and of the Guild of Charity. A more serious task
remained, to subdue Bajamonte and his followers, who had hewn down the
bridge and fortified themselves in some houses yon side the Rialto.
After many negotiations the rebels surrendered. Their lives were spared,
but they agreed to banish themselves from Venetian territory. Ill-hap,
too, had fallen on Badoer’s reinforcements, which were defeated by the
Chioggians. Badoer and his chief followers were captured and hanged
between the red columns. To perpetuate the memory of this narrow escape
from a great peril S. Vito’s Day was made a day of public festival and
thanksgiving for evermore. To Marco Donato and his descendants was
granted membership of the Great Council. The woman, Lucia Rosso, who had
cast the fateful mortar, being asked to name her reward, begged
permission to fly the standard of St Mark from her window on every feast
day, and desired that the procurators of St Mark, to whom the house
belonged, would not raise to her or to her successors the annual rental
of fifteen ducats. The house, known as the _Casa e bottega della grazia
del morter_, appears from an old painting in the Correr Museum to have
stood on the site of the first house on the left-hand side of the
Merceria entering from the Piazza. The mortar was cast from the third
floor window. “The banner I have seen raised,” says Sanudo, “but now
that the new buildings are made it can no longer be seen from the
Piazza. The under part of Marco Quirini’s house in Rialto was made into
shambles, and there they remain to this day” (about 1520).[35]
Bajamonte’s house in S. Agostino was razed, the site made over to the
commune, and a column set up in the Campo S. Agostino with an
inscription stating that the “land once Bajamonte’s had been confiscated
for his wicked treachery and to inspire others, with terror.”[36]
Certain of the marbles of the house were assigned by the Republic in
1316 for the restoration of the church of S. Vito. For eighteen years
Bajamonte lived in exile and never ceased to plot his revenge until he
was secretly disposed of by an emissary of the Ten.


The Consiglio de’ Dieci shares with the _Comité du Salut publique_ a
sinister notoriety in history. Let us see how far the earlier and more
enduring body deserves its reputation. The great plot had showed the
urgent need of an executive able to act with rapidity and secrecy. The
Council of Ten was appointed to deal with further developments of the
plot, but proved so admirable and effective an instrument that it was
more than once renewed and finally made permanent in 1335. The Ten were
charged “to preserve the liberty and peace of the subjects of the
Republic and protect them from the abuses of personal power.” They were
elected by the Great Council with careful deliberation among the most
reputable of the citizens, and no more than one member of any family
could serve. A member sat for one year, he was not eligible for
re-election, he received no pay, he was obliged to retire if any of his
relations were among the accused; it was a capital offence to receive a
gift of any nature. His term of service ended, the dread decemvir passed
again into private life. The Ten elected from themselves three chiefs
(_Capi_) who served for one month, during which period they were
forbidden to go about the city, to frequent shops or other public places
where the nobility were wont to gather. Among other duties, on the first
day of their month the _Capi_ were required to send to the Signory a
list of the prisoners detained by order of the Ten with suggestions for
any reform or improvement in the prisons, and to take measures to
expedite the trial of the accused. They were to report to the Council
all the arrests made by the previous _Capi_ and to remind the Council of
all cases _sub judice_ in the preceding month. The Doge and his six
Privy Councillors were present at the sittings, and a legal officer
without a vote watched the proceedings to check any abuse of power.
Secret denunciations placed in the _Bocche del leone_, especially if
unsigned, were subject to most elaborate procedure before they were
acted upon. The accused were usually interrogated in darkness, but if
five-sixths of the tribunal agreed, the interrogation might take place
in the light. They could call witnesses. If the minutes of the trial
exceeded a hundred and fifty sheets they were read a second time on
another day, that the members might refresh their strained powers of
attention. The defence was read entire. If the condemnation, after five
ballotings, did not command more than half the votes of the Council, the
accused was set at liberty or the case was retried. When the
condemnation had gained an absolute majority it was subject to four
re-ballots before being made final and irrevocable. The Ten dealt
with--criminal charges against nobles; treachery and conspiracy in the
State; espionage; unnatural crimes; secret information likely to be of
advantage to the Republic; the regulations of the Greater _Scuole_ or
Guilds; the use of secret service money; disobedient State officials;
false coiners and debasers of the precious metals used in jewellery;
forests and mines; the glass industry at Murano; acts of violence on the
water; the use of arms; theatres; masked balls and public morals
generally; and, after 1692, the censorship of the printing press.

The tribunal could inflict pecuniary fines; corporal punishment;
banishment, with power to compass his death if the proscribed one were
found outside bounds; imprisonment for any period, and for life; the
galleys; mutilation; death, secretly or publicly. The death sentence was
generally carried out by decapitation or hanging from the columns of the
palace or between the red columns in the Piazzetta. For the more heinous
crimes the guilty were conducted in infamous guise along the Grand
Canal, flogged and broken upon the wheel. Secret executions were rarely
resorted to, and generally with the object of saving the prestige of the
nobility by withdrawing from the public gaze the disgrace of an honoured

In 1539 the ever-present dread of Spanish plots fed by the gold of the
New World led to the permanent establishment of _Il Supremo Terribile
Tribunale_ of the Three State Inquisitors. For among the large body of
State officials and members of councils were many patricians who,
impoverished by the decline of commerce, were peculiarly open to
corruption, and the need was felt of a smaller and more expeditious
body than the Ten. Of the _Tre Inquisitori di Stato_ two were appointed
by the Ten, one by the Doge’s Privy Council. The latter sat in the
middle clothed in red and was called the _rosso_; the former sat one on
either side clothed in black, and were known as the _negri_. They served
for a year and were eligible for re-election. Service was compulsory
under a fine of 500 ducats. Their powers were delegated to them, as
emergencies demanded, by the Ten, who reserved the right of revising
their judgments, which were also published in the Great Council. If the
Three were not unanimous they must refer the case to the Ten. Carefully
indicted rules guarded against the abuse of secret denunciations, and
against the venality or the errors of spies. Suspects were arrested at
night and examined in secret, torture being used in accordance with the
usual legal procedure of the day. Witnesses were also examined in secret
by the Secretary or a ducal notary. The triumvirs acted with appalling
swiftness[37] and secrecy, and stout of heart was he who did not quail
when the officer of the Three touched him on the shoulder with the usual
formula, “Their Excellencies would like to see you.” During the
sixteenth century the Ten and its Committee grew to be the dominant body
in the State, until in 1582 the right of calling the _Zonta_ was
abolished, and having no longer the power of associating with them
members of any and every council and of spending money they reverted to
their former position.

The tribunals occasionally abused their powers, committed some crimes,
and made errors. The murder of the Carraras was a national sin; the
execution of Foscarini a grievous blunder. But they were a popular body,
and withstood every attack upon them. They were a bulwark against
treachery: they protected the people from the insolence and
arbitrariness of nobles: they maintained equality, and were stern
censors of morals. Their best defence is the fact that they endured to
the fall of the Republic.

[Illustration: PONTE DI PAGLIA]

Much undeserved obloquy has been cast upon the Ten even by historians of
repute when treating of the famous prisons under their charge, the
so-called _Pozzi_ and _Piombi_ (wells and leads). Lurid pictures have
been drawn of victims tortured in cells hot as furnaces under the leads,
and in dungeons beneath the canal, where neither _light_ nor warmth ever
penetrated, and where the prisoner _saw_ the instruments of his torture
on the wall before him. But in truth the _Pozzi_ were as little
underground as the _Piombi_ were (immediately) under the leads. The
Ducal Palace had been furnished with prisons from its construction by
Angelo Participazio and its restoration by Seb. Ziani until the new
prison over the Bridge of Sighs, and beyond the _rio del Palazzo_, was
completed in 1606. Except the _Torreselle_ (prisons in the towers), one
of which, at the angle of the palace overlooking the Ponte della Paglia,
was demolished in 1532 by order of the Ten, the old prisons were
situated on the east wing of the palace between the inner court and the
_rio del Palazzo_, and later extended to the other side towards the Molo
on the south. They were on the ground floor, which was sub-divided into
two storeys of cells. Some of the windows looked on the public
courtyard, and at one period the prisoners could talk with passers-by.
They were not known as _Pozzi_ before the seventeenth century. After the
erection of the new jail on the opposite side of the Rio the so-called
_Pozzi_ were used for the more dangerous prisoners, and on the fall of
the Republic in 1797 four only were found therein, scoundrels who richly
deserved their fate. The Republic bore a unique reputation for its
humane treatment of prisoners. Zanotto,[38] from whose admirable
monograph we mainly draw, quotes the testimony of Friar Felice Fabri,
who, visiting Venice in the middle of the fifteenth century, was struck
by the merciful treatment of the prisoners of the Republic. In 1443 the
Great Council appointed an advocate to defend the cause of the poor
detained prisoners, and in 1553 a second advocate was chosen. In common
with the whole of Christian Europe Venice used torture to extract
confessions, but she honourably distinguished herself by appointing a
surgeon to examine the prisoners and to report if they were able to bear
the infliction. In 1564 the Ten ordered an infirmary to be prepared for
sick prisoners. The disinfection and cleanliness of the cells and the
quality and quantity of the food and wine supplied to the incarcerated
were carefully inspected.

In 1591 the Senate permitted the Ten to make use of a floor above the
Sala de’ Capi in order that the detained might be in more comfortable,
lighter and better-ventilated cells than those allotted to the
condemned. The rooms were known as the _Piombi_, since they were on the
floor next below the roof, which was covered with lead. According to
Zanotto, between the ceilings, which were made of a double layer of
larch planks, and the roof, was a space of several yards, varying with
the slope of the roof. The rooms were small; roughly, about twelve by
fourteen feet, and from six feet to eight feet high, and were wainscoted
with larch. They were lighted from a corridor, and ventilators were
fixed in the doors. The detained dressed as they pleased, were allowed
to see visitors, and to walk in the corridor.


Gradenigo died before the papal ban had been removed, and found quiet
sepulture at Murano. A distinguished senator, Stefano Giustiniani, was
chosen his successor, but renounced the office and retired to the
monastery at S. Giorgio. The annalists relate that while the electors
sat anxiously pondering the situation thus created, a saintly old man
was seen passing the palace on his daily round of charity, followed
by his servant carrying a load of bread. It was deemed a happy omen, for
the need of an understanding with the Pope was urgent, and _Zorzi il
Santo_ would be an excellent mediator. Being entreated, he accepted the
charge and filled the ducal chair for ten months, during which period he
was able to obtain a relaxation of the interdict, which was finally
removed in the next reign.

Giorgio the Sainted left a troublesome legacy to his successor, Giov.
Soranza. Zara, aided by Hungarians and Croats, was again recalcitrant,
and only subdued after a heavy expenditure of men and treasure. But
Soranza’s sixteen and a half years of office coincided with a time of
great prosperity, and the strain was lightly borne. Venetian trade,
aided by diplomacy and enterprise, expanded eastward and westward. The
arts of life were developed. Refugees from Lucca founded a silk
industry, which became a source of great profit to the Republic. They
were governed by their own magistrates, the _Provisores Sirici_, who
were located in the Corte della Seda, near Marco Polo’s house. The city
was further embellished, and Soranza enjoyed the popularity that comes
to a prince ruling in times of plenty. It was in Soranza’s reign, August
1321, that Dante came to Venice, an ambassador from Guido Novello da
Polenta of Ravenna, to negotiate a peace with the Signory, and returned
to die a few days after his arrival at Ravenna of a fever caught on the


_Conquests on the Mainland--Execution of Marin Faliero--The Fall of

    “Ill-fated chief----
     Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends
     Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends.”


When the Great Council met in 1328 after Soranza’s death the oldest
member rose, and after uttering praises of the late Doge and
lamentations at his death, exhorted all around to be of good heart and
to pray God for the election of a wise prince to succeed him.

And never had Venice greater need of wisdom in her rulers. Unhappy
Italy, “reeling like a pilotless vessel in a mighty tempest,” had seen
the last vain attempt of the Emperors to execute their ideal function.
The heroic spirit of Henry VII. of Luxemburg, _l’alto Arrigo_, had
already ascended to fill the vacant and crowned seat, which Dante saw
awaiting him among the ranks of the blest, and the poet’s hopes of a
Cæsar firmly seated in the saddle and curbing the wanton and savage
beast of faction in Italy were shattered. From the political chaos three
great families of despots emerged in North Italy, the Scalas of Verona,
the Viscontis of Milan and the Carraras of Padua. In 1329 the lords of
Verona under Mastino della Scala held sway over Vicenza, Padua and
Treviso. Mastino, an ambitious prince subtly urged by the deposed
Marsilio da Carrara of Padua, determined to tap the wealth of the
Republic by levying duties on all Venetian goods passing through his
territories. Venice retaliated by cutting off the supply of salt and a
tariff war began. But her food supplies soon ran short and an appeal to
arms impended. It was a tremendous choice, for the strength of Venice
lay in her naval not in her military power. To fight the mainland
despots she must employ mercenaries and successful _condottieri_ were
bad servants. Her infallible bulwark, the sea, would be gone, squandered
for a vulnerable land frontier and the financial drain of a continental

Such were the considerations that appealed to the mind of the new Doge
Francesco Dandolo. But the time was past when a Doge could dictate the
policy of the State. The oligarchy felt that inaction meant national
suicide. If the passage for Venetian goods to North and West Europe was
blocked, it meant ruin to her trade, and war was declared in the
chivalrous fashion of the times. To the confines of Padua, envoys were
sent, who delivered a protest and in token of defiance, three times cast
a stone into the enemy’s territory. A levy was made on all males between
twenty and sixty years of age, and alliances concluded with Florence,
Milan, Ferrara and Mantua. Mastino, alarmed at the coalition against
him, sent Marsilio da Carrara to treat with the Signory. Marsilio was
invited, so the story runs, to sit next the Doge at dinner. The “wily
old fox” made a sign to the Doge that he wished to speak with him. The
Doge let fall his knife. Marsilio bent down to pick it up and as the
Doge bent down too, whispered: “What would you give him who gave you
Padua?” “We would make him lord of Padua,” replied the Doge. Mastino was
unable to stand before so powerful a combination. Padua by collusion
with the Carraras fell to Venetian arms, and Alberto della Scala,
Mastino’s brother, was led captive to Venice. Marsilio became once more
lord of Padua. The provinces of Treviso and Bassano were made over to
Venice, who thus came into possession of one of the passes into North
Europe and a rich corn land in North Italy. The glorious initiation of
this new and vaster policy was celebrated with great rejoicings at
Venice and the prophets of evil were silenced. The Republic proved
herself a wise and tolerant mistress. Her new subjects were ruled with a
paternal regard for their welfare, while local feeling and
characteristics were tenderly treated. The device which still remains
from Venetian times over the town-hall of Verona, _Pro summa fide summus
amor_, admirably expresses the attitude of the Republic towards her
mainland provinces. The citizens of many a State scourged with the
scorpions of Italian despots hailed with delight the advent of Venetian
rule. Sanudo in his diary describes the entry into Faenza of the
Venetian governor on its occupation in 1495. The streets were decorated
with tapestry and cloth. For many days the painters had been doing
nought but paint _San Marco_ on the doors of the houses. The whole city
with great demonstration of joy came forth to receive the new governor,
shouting “Marco! Marco!” A quarter of a century later the Venetian
ambassador was able to tell Cardinal Wolsey that although the Duke of
Milan and the Marquis of Mantua were candidates for the governorship of
Verona, the Venetian army as it defiled through the mountains was
received by the Veronese with joyful cries of “Marco! Marco!” and the
Venetian commissioner installed in the seat of government. St Mark’s
lion on his column standing in the market-place of an Italian city was
the symbol of a firm, just, enlightened rule.

While Bart. Gradenigo was Doge, Venice was visited by an awful tempest.
For three days the angry waves surged against the city. On the third
night, February 25, 1340, so runs the legend, as the storm increased in
violence a poor old fisherman was making fast his boat at the Molo when
he was accosted by a stranger who craved to be ferried over to the
island of S. Giorgio Maggiore. The fisherman, terrified by the awful
storm, would not venture, but being urged and reassured by the stranger,
he loosed his boat and they set forth and reached the island. Here a
mysterious knight embarked and commanded that they should be rowed to
S. Nicolo on the Lido, and on the boatman protesting the danger of
going with one oar he was again comforted and promised good pay. Arrived
at S. Nicolo, a third stranger, a venerable old man, joined them and
demanded to be taken out to sea. Scarcely had they reached the open
Adriatic when they beheld a ship filled with devils pressing swiftly
forward to wreak destruction on Venice. Soon as the three strangers
sighted the vessel they made the sign of the cross and ship and devils
vanished. The sea grew calm: Venice was saved. The three strangers were
then rowed back whence they departed and revealed themselves as St Mark,
St George and St Nicholas. As St Mark stepped ashore he was stayed by
the boatman, who demurred to accepting the honour of taking part in the
miracle as adequate payment. “Thou art right,” answered the saint, “go
to the Doge and tell what thou hast seen and ask thy reward. And say
this has happened because of the master of a scuola at S. Felice, who
had sold his soul to the devil and at last hanged himself.” The old man
protested: “Even though I tell this, the Doge will not believe me.” St
Mark then drew a ring from his finger the worth of which was about five
ducats, gave it to the fisherman, saying, “Show this to the Doge and bid
him keep it in my sanctuary.” The saint’s bidding was done and the
fisherman well rewarded.

In 1343 Andrea Dandolo was raised to the Dogeship. The first patrician
who had taken a doctor’s degree at Padua, he had already served on the
Ten, and filled the office of Procurator of St Mark, when at thirty-six
years of age he was elected Doge. Plague, earthquake and war scourged
the Venetians during the scholar Doge’s reign. Zara, tempted by the
Hungarians, tried another fall with her Venetian masters for
independence. Marin Faliero, a member of one of the most ancient and
illustrious families of Venice, who had served as _podestà_ of Padua and
of Treviso, was placed in command of a land force: forty galleys set
forth under Pietro da Canale to attack by sea. Faliero met the
Hungarians forty thousand strong about eight miles from Zara, and won a
decisive victory. Meanwhile Canale had forced the harbour, and in a few
months the tough old fortress again surrendered. The walls were
dismantled, and this time a strong Venetian garrison was left to overawe
the Zarantines.

For a century Genoese and Venetians had been rivals in the Crimea for
the control of the fur trade with Tartary. In 1346 Marin Faliero was
sent to Genoa to complain of certain piratical acts by the Genoese. The
latter retorted by accusing the Signory of bad faith in dealing with the
Tartars. But the ravages of the Black Death in 1348, when two-fifths of
the people of Venice are said to have perished, and fifty noble families
to have become extinct, absorbed for a time the attention of the
Republic. In 1349 friction with the Genoese led to a definite breach,
and another act in the tragedy of Christendom was begun. Two years of
naval warfare passed with little advantage to either power. In 1353, in
alliance with Peter of Aragon and the Emperor of Constantinople, the
Venetians sailed up the Bosphorus and came upon the enemy under Paganino
Doria, off Pera. Two hours before sunset the engagement began and a long
and bloody struggle raged through the night, illumined only by the lurid
glare of burning ships. The Venetians were defeated, and Nicolo Pisani,
their commander, retired to Crete to recruit and await reinforcements.
In February 1353 he was able to join the Aragonese fleet in Sardinian
waters and attack the Genoese under Ant. Grimaldi off Lojera. The enemy
were outmanœuvred, their armament utterly destroyed, and Grimaldi,
with a few shattered galleys, reached Genoa crushed and humiliated.
Panic seized the city. In the despair engendered by defeat a momentous
step was taken. The cowed Genoese surrendered their independence and
implored the protection of Giov. Visconti, Lord Bishop of Milan. Time
for recuperation was, however, needed, and Visconti sought peace for his
new vassal by sending Petrarch to Venice as his envoy. The poet had
already, by an epistle to Dandolo, which reads like an echo of his
pathetic canzone _All’Italia_, besought the rivals to exchange the kiss
of peace and not persist in a war which must end in one of the eyes of
Italy being quenched, the other dimmed. As well appeal to two eagles
fighting for their quarry. After some weeks at Venice, honoured as a
poet but unheeded as a messenger of peace, he returned sorrowing to
Milan. A year passed, and a new fleet left Genoa under Doria, who
cleverly slipped by Pisani, sailed up the Adriatic, devastated Lesena,
Curzola and Parenza, and anchored within striking distance of the
lagoons. It was now the turn of Venice to feel alarm. The channels were
fortified, a new fleet was equipped, a war tax levied. The Doge,
prostrated by the news, never recovered, and died of a broken heart on
September 7th, 1354. He lies in the Baptistery that he did so much to
beautify, and under his noble and simple monument there still remains
the Latin epitaph composed for him by Petrarch, his friend. Andrea
Dandolo is remembered as a Venetian historian and an accomplished
legist, a lover of the arts, and a great humanist.

On October the 4th the Bucintoro was sent to Chioggia to meet Marin
Faliero, recalled from the Roman legation to assume the ducal cap. The
great State barge set forth, but so dense a fog enveloped Venice that it
was deemed prudent to land in small boats. The gondola bearing Faliero
failed to make the usual stage by the Ponte della Paglia, and, sinister
augury, landed the Doge between the red columns of the Piazzetta.

Faliero, however, began his term of office happily by signing a truce
with the Genoese. The breathing time was used in concentrating the
fleet, and scarcely was the term ended when Nicolo Pisani, with his son
Vettore, sailed for the Ionian Isles in search of Doria. But the Genoese
refused to be drawn, and Pisani went into winter quarters at Portolungo
in the Morea behind the island of Sapienza. Doria saw an opportunity to
trap his enemy. By a brilliant manœuvre he got part of his fleet
between the Venetians and the shore, and attacking front and rear routed
them with terrible loss, no less than six thousand being made prisoners.
Pisani and his lieutenant, Quirini, escaped with the remnant of the
armament to be impeached and degraded in Venice. Under the shadow of
this disaster Venice displayed her wonted fortitude. With admirable
self-control the Signory exhorted all their _podestà_, consuls and
agents to be of good courage, and called for men and ships in defence of
the fatherland. Eight thousand ducats were despatched to Genoa to soften
the lot of the captives. Before, however, the spring made further
operations possible, a truce was effected by the mediation of the
Emperor; and while negotiations were pending for a definite peace,
Europe was shocked by the news of the trial and execution of a Doge of
Venice. The chroniclers give very circumstantial details of the drama,
but to Petrarch, who was on terms of closest intimacy with the Doge, and
to other contemporaries the whole business was shrouded in mystery. No
record of the trial exists.

Faliero was of a proud and fiery temper. While _podestà_ at Treviso he
is said to have boxed the bishop’s ears for having kept him waiting at a
religious procession. After the usual bull-fight and festivities in the
Piazza on Carnival Thursday the Doge gave a sumptuous banquet and dance
in the palace. Among the guests was a young noble, Michel Steno, who,
heated with wine, misconducted himself and was by the Doge’s orders
expelled from the hall. Steno, furious with rage, pencilled on the ducal
chair, as he passed through the Doge’s apartment, an insulting
reflection on the Doge’s honour: _Marin Falier della bella mujer tu la
mantien e altri la galde_. Steno was accused before the Quarantia and
let off with a punishment which the Doge regarded as derisory. On the
morrow it befell that a choleric noble, Marco Barbaro, went to demand
certain things of the Arsenal authorities, and being refused struck the
Admiral Ghisello with his clenched fist. He was wearing a ring and an
ugly wound was left. The Admiral, with bloody face went straightway to
the Doge and prayed to be avenged. “What would you?” said the Doge;
“Look at the shameful words written of me and the way that ribald Steno
has been treated.” “_Messer lo dose_,” answered Ghisello, “if you will
make yourself lord of Venice and get all those cuckold nobles cut in
pieces I am prepared to help you.” The tempter spoke to willing ears. A
vast conspiracy was formed to make Faliero despot of Venice. Secret
meetings were held in the palace, and it was arranged that sixteen
leaders should each prepare an armed force of forty men, who, however,
were not to be told for what purpose they were wanted. On Wednesday,
April 15th, a rumour was to be spread that the Genoese were in the
lagoons, and the alarm-bell of St Mark’s to be rung. The leaders with
their men were to converge on the Piazza and cut down the nobles and
influential citizens who would hasten to answer the call. Faliero was
then to be acclaimed lord of Venice. To incite the people to hatred of
the nobles, hired roysterers were sent by night about the city doing
violence to and insulting the women of the people, calling each other by
well-known names of nobles as they mockingly rioted through the streets.
“But the Lord God who hath ever watched over this most glorious city,”
says Sanudo, “inspired Beltrame Bergamasco, one of the leaders, to go
secretly to a beloved patron, Nicolo Lioni, and warn him as he valued
his life not to leave his house on the 15th.” Lioni’s suspicions were
aroused; he questioned Beltrame and finally locked him in a room while
he went to seek Giov. Gradenigo, dubbed Nasone (big nose) and Marco
Cornaro in order to take counsel together. They returned to Lioni’s
house and after again questioning Beltrame decided to send messengers
with an urgent summons to the Ten and the chief Councillors and officers
of the State to a meeting in the sacristy of S. Salvatore. Blanched with
terror they hurried together. Up to that time the complicity of the
Doge was not known, but the immediate arrest of two other conspirators
discovered the full danger of the situation. The Ten were equal to the
emergency. The chief police officials and heads of the wards were sent
for and asked to take good men and true, and arrest the leading
conspirators. Armed forces were summoned from Chioggia. All means of
egress from the palace were guarded; the bell-ringer forbidden to stir.
On the dawn of the 16th the Ten summoned a _Zonta_ of twenty of the
wisest, best and most ancient of the nobles of Venice to join them in
trying the Doge. He made no attempt to defend himself and was sentenced
to death. On the 17th, the biretta removed, stripped of his ducal robes
and clothed in a black gown, he was led to the spot on the landing of
the staircase[39] in the courtyard where seven months before he had
sworn to defend the Constitution. At one stroke his head was severed
from his body. A _capo_ of the Ten then went to the arcade of the palace
over the Piazza and showed the executioner’s bloody sword to the
assembled people, crying: “The great judgment has been done on the
traitor.” The gates were opened and the people rushed in to see the
body. At night all that remained of Marin Faliero was placed in a boat
with eight lighted torches and carried to burial at S. Zanipolo. No
record of the sentence is found in the acts of the Ten. On the unfilled
space where the minutes should be entered are the words _Ñ. S[=c]batur_,
“Let it not be written.” A year later his portrait was blotted out and
the place covered with a black veil with the inscription: _Hic est locus
Marini Faletro decapitati pro criminibus._ Meanwhile the leaders of the
plot as they were captured were hanged in a row, with iron gags in their
mouths, from the columns of the palace. St Isidore’s Day, April 16th,
was made a public festival and as late as 1520 Sanudo saw carried in
procession the white damask cloth bespattered with blood which was
used at the execution.


On the 21st the vacant chair was filled by the election of Gradenigo _il
nasone_, who had been largely instrumental in frustrating the plot. The
Genoese negotiations dragged on, and not until the June following was
the treaty of peace signed at Milan. Venetian statesmen had short rest
from foreign complications. The defeat of Sapienza and the supposed
laming of the executive by the miserable end of Doge Faliero, tempted
the Hungarians, who were rapidly increasing in population and
civilisation, to achieve their purpose of acquiring possession of a
sea-board. War was declared and Francesco Carrara, who held Padua under
Venetian tutelage, was called to aid his suzerain. But the Carraras
aimed at founding a dynasty and gave secret assistance to King Louis of
Hungary, who was besieging Treviso. The defence of Treviso and of
Dalmatia was beyond the power of the Republic. After a two years’
struggle and bitter hours of humiliation, Dalmatia, bought with so much
blood of Doges, patricians and people, was surrendered by the peace of
Zara, in February 1358, to the King of Hungary in exchange for the
retention of Treviso. Meantime Gradenigo had died (in 1356) and left to
Giov. Delfino the signing of the great renunciation. Delfino was stoutly
defending Treviso when elected, and being refused a permit to pass the
Hungarian lines broke through by night and met the Senate at Mestre.
Broken-hearted, his sight failing, he died of the plague in 1361. Under
Delfino’s successor Lorenzo Celsi, Crete, never wholly subjugated, burst
into revolt and terror reigned in the island. At this time Petrarch,
seeking peace and security, had settled in Venice, the “only nest of
liberty and sole refuge of the good.” He lived simply, at the sign of
the Two Towers on the Riva degli Schiavoni, where it was his delight to
stand at his window watching the huge galleys, big as the house he lived
in, and with masts taller than towers, passing and repassing. The poet,
honoured and cherished, was on intimate terms with the Signory and
advised the employment of the famous Veronese _condottiero_ Lucchino del
Verme to subdue the island. On the 4th of June about the sixth hour the
poet was at his window chatting with the Archbishop of Patras when the
friends saw a galley gliding swiftly up the lagoons, her masts wreathed
with flowers; her deck crowded with men waving flags; hostile banners
trailed in the waters behind her. She brought the news that Lucchino,
falling upon the insurgents, weakened by divided counsels, had defeated
them and punished the leaders. A thanksgiving festival was ordered which
lasted three days. “The Doge,” writes Petrarch, “with a numerous train
took his place to watch the sports over the vestibule of St Mark’s,
where stand the four bronze horses (a work of ancient and excellent art)
that seem to challenge comparison with the living and raise their hoofs
to tread the ground. An awning of tapestry in many colours kept off the
heat of the sun and I myself was invited to sit by the right hand of the
Doge.” The great Piazza, the church, the Campanile, the roofs, the
arcades, the windows, were a mass of people. A magnificent pavilion next
the church was filled with more than four hundred gaily dressed ladies.

English knights took part in the jousts. The poet, bored by the length
of the festivities, pleaded pressure of business on the second day and
came no more. But the rejoicings were premature, the revolt soon flamed
forth again, and a costly campaign of twelve months was needed to quench
it. Petrarch, to show his gratitude to the Venetian State, offered to
make over his great collection of books to found a public library if the
Republic would house them. The procurators of St Mark accepted the
charge, but the ultimate fate of this priceless gift is unknown. During
the short and peaceful reign of Marco Corner, Guariento of Verona was
employed to paint on the walls of the Hall of the Great Council the
story of Alexander III. and Barbarossa, for which Petrarch composed
inscriptions. In 1368 a deputation from the Great Council headed by
Vettor Pisani went in search of the procurator, Andrea Contarini, who
had been chosen Doge, and found him grafting fruit trees on his farm by
the Brenta. Contarini had been warned against accepting the Dogeship by
a Syrian sooth-sayer, and threats of confiscation were necessary to
force him from his retreat.

At the peace of Zara, Louis of Hungary had shielded Carrara from
Venetian vengeance, but the erection of two forts on the Brenta now gave
the Venetians a pretext for paying off old scores. Louis again stood by
his ally until the lucky capture of the King’s nephew by the Venetians
enabled them to exact the abandonment of the war as the price of his
ransom, and Carrara was made to pay heavily for disloyalty. Petrarch
accompanied the Paduan peace envoys--a grateful task to the poet of
peace and concord.[40] It was his last mission to Venice.

The final act in the struggle with Genoa now draws nigh. A quarrel for
precedence took place at the Coronation of the King of Cyprus between
the Venetian and Genoese envoys, Malipiero and Paganino Doria, in which
the latter, “being full of anger and venom,” made use of coarse and
unseemly words towards the Venetians. The quarrel was renewed at the
banquet that followed, and loaves of bread and other meats were used as
missiles. The Cypriotes sided with the Venetians, and many of the
Genoese present were flung out of the window and dashed to pieces. But
it was a dispute for the possession of the classic Tenedos _notissima
famæ insula_ which made war inevitable. The Signory offered the Greek
Emperor for the cession of the island (which by its position south of
the Dardanelles was of great strategical importance) the sum of three
thousand ducats and the return of the Imperial jewels which were held in
pledge at Venice. The offer was made a demand by a threat to treat with
the Turks if the Emperor refused the bargain. Paleologus had emptied his
treasury to meet the cost of the Ottoman wars, and accepted the offer.
The Genoese retaliated by taking in hand Andronicus, the Emperor’s
rebellious and renegade son, who in return for their support promised to
make them masters of the island. The islanders confronted by the rival
claims, came forth bearing crosses in their hands to welcome the
Venetians, and the Governor declared for St Mark. A Venetian garrison
was accepted and an attempted landing by the Genoese was defeated with
great slaughter. Each of the powers prepared for the struggle: Genoa by
allying herself with the King of Hungary and the Carraras of Padua;
Venice with Barnabo Visconti, lord of Milan, for the Milanese patronate
of Genoa was of brief duration. Carlo Zeno, whose varied career and
charmed life form one of the romances of history, was sent to harass the
Genoese in the Mediterranean, and Vettor Pisani given command of the
home fleet. After some minor successes Pisani was ordered by the Senate
to go into winter quarters at Pola. While resting his exhausted crews
and refitting his ships, the enemy appeared in the offing. Pisani, whose
better judgment was overruled by the civil Commissioners, was compelled
to give battle. Stung by a reflection on his courage he grasped a banner
and led the onslaught, crying, “Who loves Messer S. Marco, let him
follow me.” Luciano Doria the Genoese admiral was slain, and victory
inclined at first to the Venetians, but a clever feint broke their
formation. The Genoese turned and the whole Venetian fleet, save six
galleys that escaped to Parenzo, was annihilated. Pisani on his arrival
at Venice was accused of defective scouting, impeached, and punished by
degradation and imprisonment. Venice reeled under the blow. Zeno was far
away. The enemy was reinforced by Pietro Doria’s command, and for the
first time during many centuries a hostile fleet swept down on the
lagoons. But Venice never lost faith in herself or in her destiny. With
grim determination she set her teeth and tightened her armour. The
approved measures were taken to fortify the city and block the
channels. Messengers were dispatched to recall Carlo Zeno. A Franciscan
friar was sent to learn the price of the King of Hungary’s neutrality.
But the Genoese and Paduan envoys at Buda were already singing the dirge
of Venetian independence. A garrison was to be planted at St Mark’s and
a castle built at Cannareggio. Her inviolable bulwark the sea was to be
breached and indomitable Venice chained by a causeway to the mainland.
The attempt to detach the King from his ally failed. The miserable
remnant of the fine fleet was entrusted to Taddeo Giustiniani, who to
hearten the men decided to attack some Genoese galleys that were
hovering off Lido. As he sailed forth, a prisoner leapt from one of the
enemy’s ships and swam towards the Venetian fleet. A Genoese bowman took
aim and shot him in the head, but he pressed on, and when picked up
warned his compatriots that the whole Genoese fleet under Pietro Doria
was following. Giustiniani turned back, and his little armament was

Doria had sailed into the gulph, burning Umago, Grado and Caorle. He
turned towards the _lidi_, devastated Pelestrina, captured and utterly
destroyed Chioggia _minore_, and prepared to attack Chioggia _maggiore_.
On the mainland, the Hungarians had occupied important Venetian
possessions; Treviso was besieged; Carrara, by strenuous engineering,
had joined hands with his ally, and given Genoa a base on the mainland.
On the 16th of August a general assault was made on Chioggia. The
garrison fought bravely: Emo, their commander, with a handful of men
resisted to the last. But he, too, was at length overpowered, and the
banners of Genoa, Hungary and Padua floated over Chioggia. It was about
midnight when the calamitous news reached St Mark’s. The great bell was
tolled, and under the gloom of the disaster it was decided to open
negotiations with the enemy. But the offer of the Signory was haughtily
rejected. “Ye shall have no peace,” answered Doria, “until I have
bridled S. Mark’s horses.” Venice prepared for a death-grapple with her
adversary. The common peril evoked a noble enthusiasm. Patrician
offered to share the last crust with plebeian and fight shoulder to
shoulder in defence of the fatherland. After an unsuccessful attempt to
secure the services of Sir John Hawkwood, prince of _condottieri_, as
Captain-General, the post was given to Taddeo Giustiniani. But the
people, with finer insight, shouted for Vettor Pisani, under him alone
would they fight. The Senate gave way. A great multitude welcomed his
release from prison, and bore him in triumph to St Mark’s, crying,
“_Viva Messer Vettor Pisani._” But their hero rebuked them, and bade
them keep silence or shout, “_Viva Messer S. Marco._” They only cried
the more loudly, “Long live Vettor Pisani _and_ St Mark! Long live
Vettor Pisani our father.” As he was borne along, his veteran pilot,
Corbaro, shouted, “Now is the time to avenge thee, make thyself
dictator.” The answer was a blow from Pisani’s clenched fist. From St
Mark’s to his house in S. Fantino, so great was the press of people that
there was no place on the ground for a grain of millet seed. He reached
home to find that his brother was dead, that his father, too, had gone
to an obscure grave. On the morrow he went to the basilica to pray for
divine aid, and after his devotions stood by the high altar, and made a
_bellisima sermone_ in the vulgar tongue to the people. With cries of
“Galleys! galleys! arms! arms!” they streamed out to the Piazza. So
great, however, was the disappointment when it became known that Pisani
was to share the command with Giustiniani that the seamen refused to
serve, and the Senate again gave way. The people’s leader being assured
them, enthusiasm knew no bounds. Everyone able to bear arms enrolled
himself. A forced loan produced the magnificent sum of more than six and
a quarter millions of lire. Gold and silver, jewels and precious stones
were cast into the treasury; citizens stripped themselves even of the
clasps of their garments. The Signory decreed the ennoblement after the
peace of thirty families who should have contributed most in men and
treasure to the State. Foreigners were offered citizenship. The Doge
himself, seventy-two years and all, reared his gonfalon of gold in
the Piazza and decided to lead the armament. A new fleet was equipped:
the fortifications strengthened. Meanwhile Doria planned to winter in
Chioggia, and Pisani with daring and masterly resource determined to
take the offensive and imprison the Genoese in the harbour. On the night
of December the 21st, the Venetian fleet left its moorings, towing
behind it great hulks filled with stones. Before dawn it had reached the
channel of Chioggia. Five thousand men were disembarked on the tongue of
land at Brondolo. They were soon attacked and forced by the Genoese to
regain their ships. But the diversion had enabled Pisani to sink two of
his hulks across the passage, and soon an insuperable barrier blocked
the issue. Swiftly he turned under the very jaws of the Genoese cannon
and succeeded in holding the enemy while his sappers dammed the channel
of Brondolo. With equal skill and bravery the canal of Lombardy was
choked, and Carrara cut off from his ally. In a few days every issue
from Chioggia was barred, and Pisani hastened out to sea by the Porto di
Lido to deal with any reinforcements that might be sent to raise the
blockade. Slowly the dark, cold December days dragged on: the strenuous
fighting, privation and hunger broke down the spirits of the Venetians.
Some there were who murmured, saying, “rather than die here let us
abandon Venice and migrate to Crete.” But the Doge met them, drew his
sword and swore that though on the verge of eighty he would die sooner
than return defeated to St Mark’s. The end of the year was at hand, a
mutiny threatened, the Doge again appealed to them, and promised that if
on January 1st Zeno had not been sighted, the blockade of Chioggia
should be raised. On the morning of New Year’s day anxious eyes scanned
the seas. At length a watcher on St Mark’s tower raised a cry. Fifteen
sail were on the horizon. Was it invincible Zeno bringing salvation to
Venice, or Genoese reinforcements bearing her doom? Some light, swift
vessels were sent to reconnoitre. As they neared the squadron St Mark’s
banner was run up on the foremost galley. The darkest hour had passed.

[Illustration: SUNSET--MODERN VENICE.]

For six months after Zeno’s arrival the Genoese held out, but there was
never any doubt as to the ultimate result, and on June the 24th the Lion
of St Mark again waved from the Tower of Chioggia.

Two Genoese fleets were, however, still at large. Pisani was sent to run
them down and died of fever and wounds at Manfredonia.[41] Zeno took up
the chase, but the Genoese successfully eluded their pursuers. It was
the end of Genoa as a great maritime power. Even as Spain did in her
struggle with England two centuries later, Genoa had entered on a
contest which tried the nation beyond its powers. Hostilities on the
mainland continued till, by the mediation of the House of Savoy, a
congress met at Turin and a general treaty of peace was signed in August
1381. For three years no merchant ship had left Venice, yet she emerged
from the contest stronger than ever, the acknowledged mistress of the

In September 1381 the Great Council met to elect the thirty contributors
to the success of the war, who were to be ennobled. The balloting lasted
all day and great part of the night, and on the morrow the names were
cried at the edict stones of the Rialto and St Mark’s. Those thus
honoured went each bearing a lighted taper in solemn procession to St
Mark’s, and the ceremony ended in popular rejoicings.


_Aggression on the Mainland--Arrest and Execution of Carmagnola--The Two

    “Are these thy boasts--
      To mix with kings in the low lust of sway,
      Yell in the hunt and share the murderous prey.”


In June of the next year the venerable and faithful Doge Andrea
Contarini was laid to rest in the cloister of S. Stefano, and Michele
Morosini was elected in his stead. Morosini was one who in the gloomiest
time of the Chioggian war had given an inestimable pledge of his faith
in the Republic by buying some house property belonging to the commune
for 25,000 ducats, and when rallied by his friends for his folly,
replied,[42] “If ill befall the land, I have no desire for fortune.”

Plague carried off Morosini in less than a year, and in October 1382
Antonio Venier became Doge. Peace was a brief sojourner in Italy. A long
period of war and diplomacy with the despots of North Italy opens, in
which Venice is now the ally and now the foe of Carrara or Visconti.
Bribery, treachery and violence were among the weapons used on either
side. More than once the Senate and the Ten connived at attempts to
poison their country’s enemies. It was the time of the great
Condottieri. Patriotism was an affair of the highest bidder. Martial
courage and science were sold for a price. No gold, no army. Turk or
Christian, English or German, Italian or French, all were welcome who
would sell a strong arm and professional skill. English soldiers were
much in demand. “Let us have as many English as possible and as few
Germans and Italians.” “It would be well for the Paduan contingent to be
furnished with the English company, for a thousand lances of theirs are
worth more than 500,000 of others.” Such were the instructions of the
Signory to their commanders.

In 1387, by a secret treaty, Galeozzo Visconti of Milan and the Carraras
of Padua agreed to partition the Scala dominions between them. Visconti
was to have Verona: the Carraras, Vicenza. The feeble descendant of Can
Grande, Dante’s “magnifico atque victorioso domino” became a Venetian
pensioner until poison did Visconti’s work in Friuli, and the widowed
and orphaned family of the lord of Verona was reduced to beggary.[43]
Before, however, the Carraras had realised what had happened, Visconti
had stealthily seized Vicenza. They weakly appealed to Venice for
support. But the wounds left by the Chioggian war were not yet healed,
and the Signory lent a more willing ear to Visconti, who offered the
bitter-sweet morsel of revenge and a tempting prize. Treviso became
Venetian once more and territory commanding two passes into North Europe
was ceded to the Republic. She averted her eyes while Visconti grabbed
Padua. Lord of a wide domain, he now turned his lustful regard on
Florence. Venice, alarmed at the monster she had fostered, swung round
and helped the Carraras to regain Padua. But in 1402, when the aim of
his life seemed near achievement, death struck Visconti down and his
dominions became a prey to his generals and his enemies. The Carraras
joined in the scramble and attacked Vicenza. Visconti’s widow appealed
to Venice for help. The deal was a hard one: Verona and Vicenza were the
price of a Venetian alliance. The Carraras, summoned to raise the siege
of Vicenza, stood defiant. When their herald reached the edict stone at
St Mark’s to deliver the formal challenge, he would have been stoned to
death on the Piazza by the boys and populace, if some nobles who
happened to be passing had not shielded him; for a story had reached
Venice that when the trumpeter of the Republic arrived at the Paduan
camp before Vicenza he was seized by order of Jacopo Carrara, his ears
and nose cut off, and himself dismissed with the brutal jibe: “Now I
have made thee a S. Marco.”

The war was a triumph for Venice. In 1404 she occupied Vicenza, in 1405
Verona. Three months later Padua fell to her arms. The Carraras, father
and son, were captured and sent to join Jacopo (who had been taken at
Verona), in a Venetian prison. So bitter was the feeling at Venice, that
as they passed the people cried--“Crucify them! crucify them!” The
Signory treated them leniently at first, but the seizure of the
Carraras’ papers at Padua revealed a great conspiracy against the
Republic in which some of her own most exalted officers were implicated.
The Ten assisted by a _Zonta_ sat day and night to try the accused. On a
January evening in 1406 it was bruited about the Piazza that old Carrara
had been strangled in his cell. On the morrow, his two sons, it was
rumoured, had met the same fate. “Dead men wage no wars” was the grim
comment of the people. Another day passed and to the stupefaction of
Venice Carlo Zeno, now venerable and honoured, was summoned by the Ten
and ordered to be put to the question.[44] The stern decemvirs were no
respecters of persons. Zeno was convicted of having corresponded with
his country’s enemies, stripped of his honours and imprisoned.

During the early fifteenth century, Venice was riding on the full tide
of territorial expansion. On the north she touched the Alps, on the west
and south the Adige. Dalmatia, bought back for 200,000 florins, was
retained by force of arms, and for the eighth time St Mark’s banner was
run up over Zara. Several feudal lords dying without heirs left their
domains to the Republic. After a war with the Emperor and his allies she
gained the province of Friuli, and reached the Carnac Alps in the east.
In 1422 she had acquired Corfù, Argos, Nauplia and Corinth. A Venetian
sat on St Peter’s chair and two of her bishops were elevated to the
Sacred College. Over this vast empire she ruled, a mother city of less
than 200,000 inhabitants,[45] mistress of provinces and of the seas. Her
wealth was prodigious.[46] The pomp and circumstance of public and
private life grew more and more sumptuous. Four frocks prepared for the
trousseau of Jacopo Foscari’s bride cost 2000 ducats. In 1400 the famous
_Compagnia della Calza_ (Guild of the Hose) was founded to give
honourable and princely entertainment among its members and to the
guests of the Republic, and to contribute to the magnificence of State
festivals. Brilliant suppers, serenades, jousts and regattas were
organised by the members, who were drawn from the richest families. They
were divided into various companies bearing fanciful names--the
_Sempiterni_, the _Cortesi_, the _Immortali_. They wore embroidered on
their hose, lengthwise or crosswise, some quaint pattern in many
colours--arabesques, stars, or figures of birds or quadrupeds. On solemn
occasions the designs were formed of gold, pearls and precious stones.
The doublet was of velvet or cloth of gold with slashed sleeves laced
with silk ribbons. The mantle of cloth of gold or damask or crimson
_tabi_ cloth was fitted with a pointed hood, which, falling on the
shoulders, displayed inside the richly embroidered device of the
Company. The head was covered with a jewelled red or black cap. Pointed
shoes adorned with jewels completed the costume. Ladies were admitted
to membership and wore the _Calza_ device embroidered on the sleeves of
their dress. The _Compagnia_ was subject to the control of the Ten.


The festivities which celebrated the elevation of Michel Steno in 1400,
now an experienced and upright officer of the State, are said to have
lasted nearly a year. A significant change, however, had been made by
the correctors of the Coronation Oath--the Doge was no longer to be
addressed as _domine mi_, but plain _Messer lo Doge_.

On a midsummer day in 1405 a great platform was erected outside St
Mark’s, where the Doge sat supported by his chief officers of State to
receive the homage of Verona. The twenty-one Veronese ambassadors rode,
clothed in white, on chargers caparisoned with white taffeta. They
alighted in front of the Doge and bowed three times. High mass was then
sung, after which the chief orator presented his credentials, and read
an address beginning--“Glory to God in the highest.” He then handed to
the Doge the official seals and surrendered the keys of the Porta S.
Giorgio, the Porta Vescovo and the Porta Calzoni, the first representing
the knights and doctors, the second the merchants and citizens, the
third the common people. Two banners, one with a white cross on a red
field, another with gold cross on a blue field were then presented to
the Doge, and a white wand, emblematic of purity and perpetual dominion.
The Doge rose and made a speech beginning, “The people that walked in
darkness have seen a great light,” and applied the text to the good
fortune of the Veronese in coming under the dominion of Venice. The
orator began his reply with, “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” at the end
of which the Doge gave him the golden banner of St Mark, and all cried,
“Viva Messer S. Marco.” The two banners of Verona were then placed on
either side the high altar at St Mark’s. The same ceremony was used at
the homage of Padua.

Tomaso Mocenigo, “one of the noblest and wisest of her children,” came
to the throne at a critical epoch of Venetian history. Visconti’s son,
Filippo, inherited the fierce passions and regal ambition of his father.
Having assassinated his elder brother, Giovanni, he secured the services
of the greatest _condottiero_ of the time, Francesco Bussone da
Carmagnola. Brescia and Genoa were quickly recovered, and assuring
himself of Venetian neutrality, he seized Forlì and became a menace to
Florence, who prayed for a Venetian alliance in the face of a common
danger. The procurator, Francesco Foscari, his sails filled with
successful acquisitions in Friuli, beckoned to a forward policy and
favoured the Florentine alliance: Visconti was a danger to the State:
when Florence had been bludgeoned he would turn on Venice and rend her.
Foscari was answered in the Senate by Tomaso Mocenigo, in whose mouth
Sanudo places a long oration. The venerable Doge after reviewing the
story of the Milanese troubles, ranged through the whole of sacred and
profane history to enforce his plea for peace. He prayed the fathers to
be content with defending their present frontiers if attacked: “Let the
young procurator beware of the fate of Pisa that waxed rich and great by
peace and good government but fell by war.” He summarised the national
balance-sheet and the incidence of her trade. “Let the _procurator
giovane_ remember that commerce was the basis of Venetian prosperity,
peace her greatest interest. Let them trade with Milan, not fight her.
They were everywhere welcomed as the purveyors of the world; their
islands were a city of refuge from oppression.” He then lifted his
hearers to the higher spheres of religion and ethics, and warned them
that God would wreak vengeance on an aggressive and unrighteous nation.
Foscari was intriguing for the reversion of the Dogeship. He had been
chief of the Quarantia; three times a _capo_ of the Ten. His influence
was great among the patricians, by reason of his lavish distribution of
money, when procurator, to decayed gentlemen whose daughters he dowered
from the public charities. A few days after his speech in the Senate,
Mocenigo lay on his sick bed; some senators stood around him, and the
Doge feeling his end draw nigh again took up his parable and solemnly
entreated them as they loved their fatherland not to elect Foscari as
his successor; to preserve the priceless inheritance he was about to
leave them; and to keep their hands from their neighbours, for God would
destroy Venice if she waged an unjust war. Let them live in peace, fear
nought and mistrust the Florentines. But in truth Mocenigo’s warning
came a century too late. The Nemesis of Empire was already upon Venice.
She was impelled to grasp more and more in order to retain what she had
already won. The time had passed when so great was the fame of the
incorruptible justice[47] of the Fathers that sixty envoys of princes
might be found waiting in her halls to ask the judgment of the Senate on
important matters of State.

Foscari was elected after a close contest. At his proclamation the last
feeble echo of the popular voice was drowned. The Grand Chancellor,
reviewing the old formula, asked of the _Quarant’ uno_, “What if the
choice is not pleasing to the people?” and himself answered, “Let us
simply say we have elected such a one.” Foscari was presented to the
people in St Mark’s with the maimed formula, “_Quest’ è il vostro
doge._” “_Se vi piacerà_” was no longer heard. But the coronation
festivities were more gorgeous than ever and lasted a whole year. The
responsibility of power and the strained relations with the Emperor, for
a time sobered the impetuous Foscari. Once and again the Florentine
envoys were dismissed unsatisfied. After suffering a severe defeat at
Zagognara, the Florentines for the third time appealed to Venice, and in
an impassioned oration threatened that if the Venetians permitted
Filippo Visconti to make himself King of North Italy, they would help
him to become Emperor. Meanwhile Carmagnola, who had risen from a
Piedmontese hind to be an arbiter of States, had roused Visconti’s
suspicions and fled to Venice, where 30,000 ducats of his fortune were
safely invested in the funds. The Signory paid him a handsome retaining
fee and sent him to Treviso. Foscari’s opportunity was now come.
Carmagnola had been made a senator, and in supporting the Doge’s war
policy laid bare the weak parts in Visconti’s position. It was to be an
easy and glorious campaign. The terms of the alliance with Florence were
drawn up. On February 19th, 1426, Carmagnola was appointed
Captain-General, and on March 3rd laid siege to Brescia.

Carmagnola proved a careful, not to say leisurely tactician, and
professed much reliance on divine aid. April came, and the
Captain-General asked permission to take the waters at Abano for his
health’s sake. The Senate consulted physicians and suggested that his
presence at the siege was essential, and that an aperient might meet the
case. The Captain-General did not take the hint, and spent a pleasant
time at the baths. Again in November the delicate state of his health
necessitated another journey to Abano. At length Brescia surrendered.
Visconti offered to negotiate, and on the last day of the year a treaty
signed at S. Giorgio Maggiore gave the whole province of Brescia and a
large sub-Alpine territory to the Republic.


In February of the next year Carmagnola took the field with the finest
army ever seen in Italy, for Visconti had recommenced hostilities in the
Bresciano. It was a fair country. The gentle Italian spring gave way to
lusty summer. A battle had been fought in which the Republic suffered a
heavy loss in _horses_; in another some unfortunate cavaliers, including
the Captain-General himself, were dangerously hurt by falling from their
chargers during a surprise attack. The Senate protested, and urged
greater energy and decision. In October Carmagnola’s professional pride
was stung. He bestirred himself, won a brilliant victory at Macolò
and captured 8000 cavalry. History is silent as to the dead and wounded.
He was lavishly rewarded, made a Count, and given a house in Venice and
an estate in the country. The Senate now advised him to follow up his
advantage, strike at Milan and end the war. But Carmagnola’s aim was to
live, not to perish by the sword. The Republic was an excellent
paymaster, and it were sorry economy to bring so profitable a business
to a premature conclusion. Moreover, his adversary of to-day might be
his patron of to-morrow, and his delicate constitution again required
the stimulus of the baths. Visconti, too, was anxious for breathing
time, and began intriguing with his former general. In 1428 another
instrument of peace gave the province of Bergamo to Venice. Carmagnola
received princely honours but soon gave in his resignation. The Republic
offered him a salary of one thousand ducats a month in peace or war, and
all ransoms and prize-money when on active service. The promise of the
dukedom of Milan was held before him, but when the third Milanese war
began the General’s strategy was more exasperating than ever. He had no
plan of campaign, and was known to be in correspondence with Visconti.
The patient Senate resolved at last to act. Their members were bound to
secrecy, and the Ten with a _Zonta_ of twenty Senators were ordered to
deal with the case warily but vigorously. Carmagnola’s arrest was voted.
Giovanni de’ Imperi, secretary of the Ten, a pallid-faced notary, left
for the camp with instructions to invite the General to Venice for a
conference with the Doge. If he failed to take the bait, the secretary
bore letters-patent addressed to the staff of the army, commanding them
to concert measures for the arrest and detention of their chief. It was
a perilous mission, for the mighty Captain-General held the State in the
hollow of his hands. But Giovanni of the pale face and nerves of steel
successfully achieved his purpose, and Carmagnola left for Venice. On
his arrival he was met by eight nobles whose business it was to divert
him from his home and lead him to meet the Doge. When he reached the
palace the secretary of the Ten disappeared, and Leonardo Mocenigo,
procurator of the _Collegio_, informed the General’s suite that their
master was honoured by an invitation to dine with the Doge and that they
might retire. As the guest passed through the apartments he noticed with
some concern that the doors were closed behind him. On asking for the
Doge he was answered that his Serenity was confined to his room with
kidney disease, and would see him to-morrow. At the _Sala delle quattro
porte_ Carmagnola turned to go home: the officer touched his shoulder
and pointed to a corridor that led to the prisons, saying, “This way, my
lord.” “But that is not the way!” exclaimed the great captain. “Yes,
yes; quite right,” repeated the officer. A signal was given. Guards
surrounded him and he was hustled down the stairs, crying, “I am a dead
man.” The eagle was snared. At the trial Carmagnola was put to the
question. As the executioner prepared the cord, Carmagnola pointed to
the arm that had been broken in the service of the Republic. A brazier
was applied to his feet instead. On May 5th, 1432, the unhappy soldier
was led with a gag in his mouth to his doom between the red columns.
After three blows his head fell from his shoulders.

The awful tragedy had been planned and executed with consummate skill
and resolution. Two hundred officials were cognisant of the process. Not
one opened his mouth to betray the secret. From the time the victim left
Vicenza he was practically under arrest, though this he never suspected.
The remains were buried in the Frari and afterwards removed to Milan.
His widow was pensioned and his daughters were dowered. Four years later
another enemy of the Republic lost his head between the red columns. The
only surviving son of old Carrara had been convicted by the Ten of an
attempt to plot an insurrection in Padua.


During the long remaining years of Foscari’s reign the resources of
Venice were drained by a succession of costly campaigns in defence of
her conquests. The most famous condottieri, Gonzaga of Mantua,
Gattamelata, Francesco Sforza, and Bartolomeo Colleoni were employed, at
enormous expense. At length, in 1454, weary and exhausted by the
financial, if not by the mortal drain of thirty years’ war, and sobered
by the appalling news of the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, the
three chief belligerents--Venice, Florence, and Milan--laid down their
arms and signed a defensive alliance against any power that should
disturb the peace of Italy. The Venetians had held, and even added to,
their conquests. Ravenna was occupied in 1440 and the last of the
Polentas, father and son died in exile in Crete. Although St Mark’s Lion
never looked down from his pillar on a Milanese Piazza, Venice had won
the primacy of North Italy. In fifty years she had annexed eleven
provinces--Treviso, Vicenza and the _Sette Comuni_, Verona, Padua, the
Friuli, Brescia, Bergamo, Feltre, Belluno, Crema, Ravenna. Her yoke was
easy. The subject peoples had small reason to regret the change of
masters. The Brescians endured the horrors of a three years’ siege
rather than revert to Milanese dominion. The Signory “that could not
sleep till Brescia were relieved” organised the transport of a fleet of
thirty vessels across the mountains, a distance of two hundred miles in
mid-winter, lowered them down the precipitous flank of Monte Baldo and
launched them on Lake Carda, a stupendous feat of engineering skill and

Venice never denied her enlightened and paternal rule, which embraced
even the cut of ladies’ dresses and the duties of wet nurses. But St
Mark’s “insatiable greed” had aroused the jealousies of the transalpine
monarchies. The League of Cambrai, which broke down for ever the power
of Venice on the mainland, was a direct outcome of Foscari’s policy.

While men’s minds were pre-occupied with the Milanese war and the news
of the occupation of part of the Morea by the Turks, a grave domestic
scandal weighed upon the Fathers. Charges of corruption were openly made
against the Foscari, and in February 1445 the Doge’s only surviving son,
Jacopo, was denounced to the Ten for having accepted bribes to use his
influence with his father in the allocation of State appointments. The
young Foscari was a cultured, but pleasure-loving noble, whose
magnificent marriage festivities in 1441 had aroused even the critical
Venetians to enthusiasm. He was charged with “having regard neither to
God nor man, and accepting gifts of money and jewels against the law,”
and cited to appear on the 18th before the Tribunal of the Ten, who were
assisted by a _Zonta_ of ten nobles. The arrest of his valet, Gaspero,
on the previous day had, however, aroused Jacopo’s suspicions; and when
the officer of the Ten tried to serve the warrant, it was discovered
that Foscari had fled to Trieste with all the money he could lay hands
on. The tribunal having excluded the Doge and all his relations,
proceeded to try the accused in default. The members were declared
inviolable and permitted to wear arms. Jacopo was found guilty, and
banished for life to Nauplia. The Dogaressa was refused permission to
visit him at Trieste, and Marco Trevisano with a galley sent to deport
him. Messer Jacopo, however, treated the warrant with contempt, and
refused to embark. The price of contumacy was outlawry, and decapitation
between the two columns. The Ten did not enforce the extreme penalty,
and entreated the Doge to persuade his son to obey the law. But efforts
were of no avail, and on April 7th the sentence was confirmed, and
Jacopo’s property confiscated.

For more than a year the outlaw had been living defiantly at Trieste,
when fresh revelations led to the appointment of another _Zonta_ to deal
further with the scandal. Five months passed. Marco Trevisano died, and
Jacopo fell sick at Trieste. The Ten thereupon resolved to accept, in
the name of Jesus Christ, the excuses of the invalid for not proceeding
to Nauplia, and to substitute his own country house near Treviso for the
place of exile.

We hear nothing more of the case until April 1447, when a chest
containing 2040 ducats and some silver plate was discovered, and proven
to have been received by Jacopo from the Duke of Milan. The contents of
the chest were confiscated, but no further action was taken. In
September, the Doge presented a piteous petition for his son’s pardon.
The Ten resolved that, since the present critical state of public
affairs demanded a prince with a clear and untroubled mind, Jacopo
should be restored to his family, as an act of piety to our lord the
Doge. Three years elapsed. On a November evening, as Ermolao Donato, one
of the _Capi_ who had tried Jacopo, was leaving the palace after
attending a meeting of the Senate, he was fatally stabbed. The Ten and a
_Zonta_ met to investigate, but failed to penetrate the mystery. On
January 2nd, 1451, a signed denunciation was found in the _Bocca del
leone_. Jacopo Foscari was arrested, and put to the question. Incoherent
muttering, which the Ten thought to be an incantation, was all that
could be forced from his lips. The trial dragged on until March 26th,
when Jacopo was declared, on purely circumstantial evidence, guilty of
the murder, and banished to Canea, in Crete, where he was to report
himself daily to the Podestà. The Doge was exhorted to patience, and on
the 29th the condemned Jacopo was put on a galley that was sailing for
Crete. In the June of 1456 important despatches in cypher from Canea
came before the Ten. The home-sick and intolerant Foscari had written a
letter to the Duke of Milan, asking him to intercede with the Signory,
and another to the Turkish Sultan, begging that a vessel might be sent
to Crete to abduct him from the island. Jacopo and all his household
were cited to Venice. Before the Ten he frankly confessed all, and the
sentence was then debated. A _Capo,_ Jacopo Loredano, proposed the death
penalty. The motion was lost, and his relegation to Canea and a year’s
imprisonment were voted. His family were permitted to see him and
Jacopo, bearing marks of the torture, was led into the room, where his
father awaited him. The poor old Doge fell upon his son’s neck, while
Jacopo cried, “Father, father, I beseech you procure for me
permission to return to my home.” “Jacopo,” answered the Doge, “thou[48]
must obey the will of the land, and strive no more.” As the door closed
on his son for ever, the miserable father flung himself upon a chair,
uttering lamentations and moaning, “O! the great pity of it!” In six
months came news from Canea: Jacopo Foscari was dead. The Doge never
recovered from the blow. He secluded himself in his room, and sank into
hopeless, sullen grief. The most urgent affairs of State could not
divert him from his sorrow. The very Government was paralysed, and the
Ten were called to devise a way out of the dead-lock. Having excluded
the Doge’s relations, after long debate they decided to invite the Doge
in his great charity to take pity on the land and freely resign. They
offered a pension of fifteen hundred ducats, and gave him a day to
consider his answer. On the morrow, he would say neither yea nor nay,
and complained of the unconstitutional suggestion. A second deputation
was no more successful. It was then intimated to the Doge that he must
resign, and leave the palace within a week, or suffer the confiscation
of his property.

[Illustration: A FRUIT STALL.]

On Sunday the 23rd of October, in the presence of the Ten and the chief
officers of State, he silently drew the ducal ring from his finger. A
_Capo_ broke it in pieces and removed the ducal cap from his head. The
discrowned Foscari was bid to retire to his home in S. Pantaleone. As
the Councillors were leaving the room he noticed that one of the
Quarantia lingered awhile and gazed pityingly upon him. He called him,
took his hand and asked: “Whose son art thou?” “I am the son of Marin
Memo,” was the reply. “He is my dear comrade,” said the Doge. “Prithee
bid him come to see me, for it will be a precious solace to me: we will
visit the monasteries together.” Early on the morrow Francesco Foscari
left his apartments leaning on a crutched stick accompanied by his
brother Marco, his only suite a few sobbing kinsmen and servants. As
they neared the principal staircase Marco said: “It is well, your
Serenity, that we go to the landing-stage by the other stairway which is
covered.” “Nay,” answered Foscari, “I will descend by the same stairs up
which I mounted to the Dogeship.” Stripped of his honours, forsaken by
his Councillors, bent beneath the weight of his eighty-four years and
the long tenure of a great office, the humiliated Foscari tottered down
those steps in silence, which more than the third of a century before he
had climbed, erect, exultant, full of hope, amid the acclamation of a
whole city.


The Great Council met the same day: the electoral machinery was set in
motion and on the morrow, the 30th October, Pasquale Malipiero was
chosen and proclaimed Doge two hours before sunset. Two days after, on
All Saints’ Day, the new Doge, and his Council were at mass at St Mark’s
when a messenger came in hot haste with the news that Francesco Foscari
was dead. The Councillors gazed mutely at each other. The Ten were
convoked and, pricked perhaps by remorse at their severity, voted a
magnificent and honourable funeral, the widow protesting against the
mockery and declaring that she would sell her dowry to give her lord
worthy burial. Wrapped in a mantle of cloth of gold; crowned with the
ducal cap; sword by side and spurred with gold, all that remained of the
great Doge Foscari lay in state in the hall of the Senate, guarded by
four and twenty nobles in scarlet robes to indicate that if the Doge
were dead the Signory yet lived. The bier was borne by a picked body of
sailors. Pasquale Malipiero, clothed as a simple senator; the officers
of State; the clergy; the guilds followed. With solemn pomp the pageant
went its way lighted by innumerable tapers along the Merceria and across
the Rialto bridge to the Church of the Frari. The sumptuous monument,
erected in the choir to his memory, by Ant. Riccio, still testifies to
his fame. Those who would gaze on the striking, sensuous features of
unhappy Doge Foscari will find his bust in the corridor that leads to
the private apartments of the ducal palace, a faithful portrait carved
by Bart. Buon. It was rescued when the original group over the Porta
della Carta was destroyed in 1797.

Tomaso Mocenigo left Venice at peace with a flourishing exchequer: under
Foscari it became bankrupt. In ten years the Milanese war had cost seven
million sequins. The funds which stood at 60 when it began, sank to
18-1/2 before its close. Her hands tied by the war, Venice had been
compelled to look on while Constantinople fell to the Turks. Increased
taxes, forced loans, national default and commercial crises: non-payment
of salaries, depreciation of real estate, depression of industry and
reduction of population--this was the cost of military glory; the dark
background to the brilliant and memorable reign of Francesco Foscari.


     _The Turkish Terror--Acquisition of Cyprus--Discovery of the Cape
     Route to India--The French Invasions--The League of
     Cambrai--Decline of Venice_

        “The gods have done it as to all they do
    Destine destruction, that from thence may rise
    A poem to instruct posterities.”

    --_Chapman’s Homer_

In the eyes of Italian and European statesmen, Venice at the death of
Doge Foscari seemed mightier than ever, but in truth she had already
passed the meridian of her strength and was on the descending arc of her
destiny. For a century her consuls had warned the Signory of danger in
the East. Pope after pope had summoned his children to cease their
fratricidal strife and unite to meet the Turkish peril. During the
pauses in the fierce clash of Christian passions and ambitions, could be
heard, like the beat of muffled drums, the tread of the advancing
infidel hosts sounding the doom of an empire. But no state in Europe,
least of all Venice, grasped the full significance of the portent.

In 1416 a fleet had been sent to chastise the Sultan for permitting a
violation of treaty rights, and although in the words of the commander,
the Turks fought like dragons, yet by the grace of God and the help of
the evangelist S. Marco they were utterly routed and the greater part
cut in pieces: he was confident on the testimony of a captured Emir that
the Turks would never again venture to oppose the Venetians on the seas.
In 1438 the Greek Emperor himself came to Venice to implore her aid and
that of Europe against the enemy of Christendom. Twice in 1452 the
appeal was repeated, but the Christian princes were too busy with their
own quarrels to listen, and before a year passed the scimitar of the
Turk was red with the blood of the Christians at Constantinople. Had not
Venice herself proven that the strong city was not impregnable? When it
fell the Republic adopted her usual policy. She accepted the situation
and secured her trading privileges by treaty with the Sultan. But when
news came in 1463 of the conquest of the Morea and Epirus and that the
crescent was flying over the Castle of Argos almost in sight of the
Adriatic, Venice no longer stopped her ears to the Papal voice. Friar
Michael of Milan was permitted to preach the crusade in the Piazza and a
big, iron box was placed in St Mark’s for offerings of money. Cristoforo
Moro, the new Doge, addressed the Great Council and in an access of zeal
volunteered to lead the crusade. By 1607 ballots against 11 the Great
Council approved. Moro[49] was a devout but not very robust creature,
and pleading age and infirmity asked permission to withdraw. He was
bluntly told by Vettor Cappello to think less of his skin and more of
the honour and welfare of the land.

Pius II. came to Ancona with the Sacred College to organise the crusade.
A league was made with Hungary. The Duke of Burgundy offered to join in
person. Envoys were sent to other Christian princes. On July 30th, 1464,
three hours before sunset--a time selected by the astrologers as the
best--the Venetian fleet weighed anchor, the Doge leading in a new
galley named after him. Scarcely had he disembarked at Ancona when the
Pope died and all came to naught. The Doge returned to the ducal palace.
The Venetians single-handed fought on sea and land with their usual
intrepidity, but the State was already weakened by the Milanese wars. In
1470 she lost the whole island of Negropont. Dazed by the calamity the
members of the Collegio slowly walked with leaden feet and downcast
looks across the Piazza and, if spoken to, answered not a word. Were
they listening to the rustle of the wings of the sable-robed avenging
sisters? In the following year a crowd of panic-stricken refugees from
Istria and Friuli streamed into Venice and camped on the Piazza and
under the arcades of the ducal palace. An army of 20,000 Turks had
ravaged the provinces even up to Udine. The Republic was now at the end
of her resources. An attempted diversion from Persia had failed. A big
loan from her mainland provinces had been swallowed up. The Pope sent
her envoys away empty. Not one Italian state stirred to help her. The
good Tomaso Mocenigo’s warnings were verified. National wrong meant
national sorrow. Venice was harvesting the acrid fruit of the Genoese
wars and her fifty years of territorial aggression. At the Congress[50]
of Carisano in 1466 Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, had warned the
Secretary of the Republic that she was hated not only in Italy but
beyond the Alps. “You do a grievous wrong,” he vehemently exclaimed;
“you possess the fairest State in Italy, yet are not satisfied. You
disturb the peace and covet the states of others. If you knew the
ill-will universally felt towards you, the very hair of your head would
stand on end. Do you think the states of Italy are leagued against you
out of love to each other? No; necessity has driven them. They have
bound themselves together for the fear they have of you and of your
power. They will not rest till they have clipped your wings.”

Negotiations were twice begun with a view to peace, but the Sultan’s
demands were intolerable and the unequal contest continued. In 1476
Friuli was again devastated and the flames of burning cities could be
seen from St Mark’s tower. Sailors were clamouring for their arrears of
pay on the very steps of the ducal palace. Scutari (in Albania), after
heroically resisting two sieges, was nearing the end. A loan from the
mainland provinces and 100,000 ducats from the sum left to the Republic
by their condottiero Colleoni were swallowed up. In January 1479 Venice
yielded. She ceded Scutari, Stalimene and other territory in the Morea
occupied by the Turks during the war, in exchange for which the Sultan
restored all that had been taken from her beyond her old boundaries. She
maintained consular jurisdiction in Constantinople, but agreed to pay an
indemnity of 200,000 ducats and a tribute of 10,000 ducats a year for
her trading privileges. It was in Moro’s reign that the last vestige of
popular government was effaced. The title of “Communitas Venetiarum,”
long disused in actual practice, was formally changed to the “Signoria.”
During the wearing anxieties of the Turkish wars from the death of Moro
in 1471 to the signature of the peace under Doge Giov. Mocenigo in 1479
four Doges, Nicolo Tron, Nicolo Marcello, Pietro Mocenigo, and Andrea
Vendramin followed in rapid succession, the last a descendant of a
family ennobled after the Chioggian war. The delimitation of the new
frontiers had been barely concluded in the East when a dispute
concerning salterns and custom dues on the Po and the arrest of a priest
for debt by the Venetian Consul at Ferrara led to another war in the
peninsula. In 1482 the whole of Italy was aflame, and states that had
watched unmoved the agony of the sixteen years’ Turkish wars now turned
on Venice and accused her of sinister motives in concluding the peace.
The Republic was now allied with Genoa and the Papacy against the Duke
of Ferrara, supported by the King of Naples, by Florence and some minor
Italian states. The early operations were in her favour, but in a few
months the Pope, alarmed by an attack on Rome by the Neapolitans, joined
the league against Venice, and as feudal lord of Ferrara, summoned her,
under pain of excommunication, to abandon operations against that city.
When the interdict reached the Venetian Embassy at Rome, their
ambassador was absent and his agent refused to transmit the document to
Venice. It was then fixed on the doors of St Peter’s and afterwards
forwarded to the Patriarch at Venice, who was ordered under pain of
excommunication to serve it on the Signory.[51] The Patriarch fell
diplomatically sick and secretly informed the Doge. The Ten were
convoked. The Patriarch was warned to keep silence, and that the
services of the Church must proceed as usual. The Pope was a long way
off; the Ten were near; he obeyed them. A formal appeal was then made to
a future Council of the Church and a copy nailed by a secret agent on
the door of S. Celso at Rome.

The new combination was too powerful for the crippled resources of
Venice. Driven into a corner she adopted the impious expedient of
inviting the King of France to make good his claim to Naples and the
Duke of Orleans to vindicate his rights over the duchy of Milan. The
weight of the great French monarchy fell with decisive effect on the
league. Peace was made and the treaty of Bagnolo (1484) added Rovigo and
the Polesine to the Venetian dominions. Three days’ bell-ringing,
illumination and rejoicing celebrated the immediate results of the new
diplomacy. But the successors of Louis XI. were now factors in Italian
politics. The league of Cambrai was one stage nearer.

For a few years all went well. By a clever exploitation of dynastic
trouble the Signory was able to acquire the long coveted island of
Cyprus. On the death of King John II., Carlotta, the rightful heiress
and wife of Louis of Savoy, banished her father’s bastard son James and
seated herself on the throne. By the help of the Sultan of Egypt James
was able before a year was past to lead a revolt, expel the Queen and
her consort from the island and seize the crown. He made friends with
the Venetians and to ensure their goodwill desired the Signory to bestow
on him the hand of a Venetian maiden of noble birth. Caterina, daughter
of Marco Cornaro, who with two other patrician houses held the greater
part of the island in mortgage, was chosen and given a dowry valued at
100,000 ducats. The espousals were quickly celebrated with great pomp,
the Doge himself presenting a consecrated ring to James’ proxy, the
Cypriote ambassador, who placed it on Caterina’s finger in the name of
the King of Cyprus. The little maid was but fourteen years of age and
went from the splendour of the ducal palace to her usual life at home,
while James was affirming his authority in the island.

During the same year (1468) the Senate learnt that Ferdinand of Naples
was intriguing to draw James into an alliance with his own family. Stern
words were used to the King and at length in October 1469 Venice was
able to proclaim that she had taken the King and the island of Cyprus
under her protection. In the summer of 1472, escorted by a fleet of four
galleys, Caterina sailed to make a royal entry into Cyprus, but in a few
months her joy was changed to mourning. James died, leaving her with
child. The Senate aware that Carlotta was busy with the Italian powers
and the Sultan, despatched their Captain-General, Pietro Mocenigo, to
protect Caterina and to fortify and garrison the chief stations on the
island. Before he arrived, the partizans of Carlotta burst into the
palace, slew Caterina’s physician before her eyes and cut in pieces her
uncle Andrea and her cousin Bembo who were hasting to her aid. Mocenigo
on his arrival quelled the insurrection and hanged the ringleaders. Two
Venetian Councillors and a Civil Commissioner were sent to watch events.
A prince was born but died in a few months. Fearing a reversion of power
to the former dynasty, James’ mother, sister and bastard sons were
deported to Venice and Marco Cornaro was despatched with instructions to
comfort his daughter, to maintain the allegiance of the Cypriotes and to
declare the absolute will of the Republic that no change should take
place in the order of things. An emissary of Ferdinand, Rizzo di Mario,
was caught plotting at Alexandria, sent to Venice and condemned to death
by the Ten. The Sultan, who had known him as the ambassador of Naples,
threatened the Republic with his displeasure if the sentence were
carried out. The Ten had Rizzo strangled in prison and informed the
Sultan that he had poisoned himself. The Signory now determined to force
Caterina’s hand. Subtly but firmly the two Councillors and the
Commissioner usurped more and more power, and poor Caterina’s position
was made intolerable. She wrote pitiful letters to the Doge complaining
of the insults and petty persecutions suffered by herself and her
father; scuffles took place on the very stairs of the palace. In October
1488 her brother Giorgio was sent by the Ten to persuade her to
abdicate, while Captain-General Diedo was instructed to haste to Cyprus
and “by wise, circumspect, cautious and secure means to get the Queen on
board a galley and bring her here to us at Venice.” To persuasions and
threats Caterina at last yielded. The banner of St Mark floated over
Cyprus and an envoy assured the Sultan of Egypt of the sympathy of the
new government which was the “consequence of the full and free
determination of our most serene and most beloved daughter Caterina
Cornaro.” The deposed Queen received a pompous welcome at Venice; made a
solemn renunciation and a formal donation of Cyprus to the Republic in
St Mark’s; and went to live in petty state at the little township of
Asolo which was given to her by the Republic. There, the centre of a
literary circle, she passed many years of her life in works of charity,
until the storm of the league of Cambrai drove her for shelter to Venice
where she died, universally mourned, in 1509. To the end she signed
herself Queen of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia, and Signora of Asolo.

[Illustration: THE FISH MARKET.]

During the closing years of the fifteenth century the mercantile
supremacy of Venice, already threatened by the Ottoman conquests, was
doomed by two momentous geographical discoveries. The voyages of
Columbus and of Diaz were to change the face of Europe from the
Mediterranean to the Atlantic, and to shift the commercial centre of the
world from Venice to the Spanish peninsula and ultimately to England.
The former event excited curiosity in Venice, but not alarm. The
Secretary of the Venetian Embassy in Spain, with the alertness of his
class, won the confidence of Columbus, and finding him short of money,
was able to secure a chart of his discoveries and a copy of a long
treatise on the voyage which he caused to be translated and sent to the
Signory. Far otherwise was the effect of the latter event, by which the
ancient trade routes to the East were to be superseded by the ocean
route to India. Priuli gives a graphic story of the consternation which
seized the citizens, when, in the early sixteenth century, the report
was verified that Vasco da Gama with a Portuguese fleet had reached
Calcutta by rounding the Cape of Good Hope, and had returned to Lisbon
with a cargo of spices. The wiser heads at once saw the gravity of the
news. Owing to the heavy dues exacted by the sultans and princes the
cost of a parcel of spices was increased from one ducat to sixty or a
hundred by the time it reached Venice. The Portuguese, carrying by sea,
would escape the levies and undersell the Venetian merchants in the
markets of Europe. Their large and profitable trade from the East would
be captured. Leonardo da Ca’ Masser disguised as a merchant was sent to
Lisbon to get information. An attempt was made to throttle the nascent
commerce by working on the fears of the Sultan of Egypt. Envoys were
sent to warn him of the danger to his revenue if the Portuguese were
allowed to succeed, and to urge him to ally himself with the Indian
princes, and give military aid if necessary, to destroy their trade. But
the efforts of Venice availed nothing, for they were directed against
the very course of the world’s evolution.

The flourishing Eastern trade began to wither, but events seemed to
offer opportunity of compensation by permitting a forward policy on the
mainland. Venice had opened the gates of Italy to the French king, and
it was not long before Charles VIII. marched in with an army such as had
never before been seen in the peninsula to achieve his designs on the
kingdom of Naples. From his camp at Asti came to Venice Philippe de
Comines as an envoy seeking alliance with the Republic. The French
diplomatist in his memoirs has left us a charming description of Venice
as it appeared in 1494.

[Illustration: PALAZZO DARIO]

As he approached the city he marvelled at the innumerable towers and
monasteries, the fair churches, the great mansions and fine gardens all
founded in the sea. Twenty-five nobles, well and richly clad in fine
silk and scarlet cloth, bade him welcome and conducted him to a boat,
large enough to seat forty persons, covered with satin cramoisy and
richly carpeted. He was prayed to take his seat between the ambassadors
of Milan and Ferrara. “I was taken,” he writes, “along the _grande rue_,
which they call the Grand Canal, and it is very broad. Galleys cross it,
and I have seen great ships of four hundred tons and more near the
houses, and it is the fairest street I believe that may be in the whole
world, and fitted with the best houses, and it goes the whole length of
the said city. The mansions are very large and high and of good stone;
the ancient ones all painted. Others, made a hundred years ago, are
faced with white marble, and yet have many a great piece of porphyry
and serpentine on the front. Inside they have chambers with gilded
ceilings and rich chimney-pieces of carved marble, gilded bedsteads of
wood, and are well furnished. It is the most triumphant city I have ever
seen and that doeth most honour to ambassadors and to strangers, and
that most wisely doth govern itself, and where the service of God is
most solemnly done: and though they may have many faults I believe that
God hath them in remembrance for the reverence they bear to the service
of His Church.” De Comines found the Doge (Agostino Barbarigo) an
amiable, wise and gentle prince, experienced in Italian politics, and
after a stay of eight months, left with his mission unfulfilled. The
Most Christian King, if we may believe the Venetian ambassador
Contarini, lacked many inches of regal majesty. He was short in stature,
ill-formed, had an ugly face, prominent white eyes, a big, coarse,
aquiline nose, thick lips always open, and a nervous twitching of the
hands very unpleasant to see. He was slow in expressing himself and
dull-witted. Nor was Anne of Brittany, the Queen, portrayed less rudely.
She, says the ungallant diplomatist, was short, bony and lame, with a
rather pretty face. She was only seventeen, but most astute for her age,
inordinately jealous of the King’s majesty, and always succeeded in
getting her way by the use of smiles or tears. The _Cristianissimo_
marched triumphantly through the length of Italy to realise his dream of
winning Naples, and then overthrowing the Mussulman power in the East.
Florence, Rome, Naples were successively occupied; the balance of
Italian politics was disastrously overthrown, and the unhappy land soon
became a cockpit where the rival ambitions of France and Spain were
fought out. Milan and Venice had each thought to use the Transalpine
Powers for her own ends; they both became their prey. Charles had
himself crowned King of Naples, Emperor of the East, and King of
Jerusalem, but soon discovered that to conquer was easier than to hold.
The rival powers began to league themselves against him, and in the
bewildering moves on the political chess-board Venice and Milan came
into line. In March 1495 the Signory assured De Comines that his master
should have a free passage for the return of his army through Italy; in
July of the same year she concerted with Milan, and fell upon the French
at Fornovo di Taro, as they were toiling down the Cisa Pass to Parma.
The French were severely punished, and in the fighting the King himself
narrowly escaped capture. How the news was received at Venice, a letter
dated July 9, 1495, and transcribed by Malipiero, gives a vivid picture.
“I arose early and went my usual way to St Mark’s,” says Nicolo
Lippomano, “when I saw a great fury of people running to the Piazza,
crying--‘Marco! Marco!’ I asked the cause and was told the French camp
had been routed. I arrived at the corner of St Mark’s, where the elders
are wont to meet, and found them all glad and many shed tears for joy. I
went to Rialto and found everybody talking of the victory, and one
kissed the other for very gladness. In a trice all the banks and shops
were closed. Boys with flags began to run about the streets shouting of
the victory and sacking the fruit-sellers’ shops on the way. On the
Rialto they met eight Savoyards whom they pelted with eggs, lemon peel
and turnips, and otherwise ill-treated. All the people shouted--‘To
Ferrara! to Ferrara!’ All my days I never saw the city in greater
uproar. To God be the praise.”

The spot is still shown where, in 1498, Charles broke his foolish head
against a beam in a dark passage of the castle at Amboise. His
successor, Louis XII., to the ill-hap of Italy, united in his person the
claims both of the Orleans princes to Milan and of the French kings to
Naples. Ludovico Sforza, fearing for his duchy, approached the Signory,
but, to his disgust, learned that Venice had already secretly agreed to
aid Louis in his designs on Milan, in return for Cremona and other
cities and lands on the east of the Adda. Sforza, to revenge himself on
Venice invited the Turks to attack her. In twenty days Louis had won the
Milanese, and Venice was paid the price of her shame.

In November 1499, despatches from Constantinople warned the Signory that
the Sultan was preparing to attack. Strenuous efforts were made to raise
money. Antonio Grimani was sent with a large fleet to the East, and came
upon the enemy off Sapienza, a name of ill-omen in Venetian naval
history. The Turks had made amazing progress in naval construction; one
of their ships is said to have been manned by one thousand Janissaries
and sailors. The first encounter, after four hours’ fighting, ended on
August 12, 1499, in a Turkish success. On August 20, a small French
fleet joined the Venetians, and on the 25th the final engagement was
fought. The Venetians suffered a disastrous defeat. Malipiero, who was
present as civil commissioner, roundly accused Grimani of want of
patriotism and faint-heartedness, and declared if he had done his duty,
the whole Turkish fleet would have fallen into their hands surely as God
was God, and that, owing to want of discipline among the Venetian
sailors, the French had retired disgusted from the operations. “We have
lost eight hundred men, and the reputation of Venice.” Grimani was sent
home in irons. As he landed, his son, Cardinal Domenico, fought his way
through the crowd, and lifted his father’s chains to lighten his burden
as he was led to prison. At the trial Grimani defended himself
eloquently, and was banished to Dalmatia. The operations on land were
not less humiliating. Such was the paralysing terror inspired by the
Turk, that the native militia in Friuli refused to take the field, and
the commander of the Stradiote mercenaries struck not a blow. Venice
sued for peace. She weakly tried to inculpate Sforza for the outbreak of
hostilities, but was told that the Duke of Milan had no power to move
the Sultan; the depredations of her own subjects were the cause of her
chastisement. On trying to soften the hard conditions exacted, her
envoy was advised to bid the Signory hasten to accept the Sultan’s
terms: “Tell your Doge,” said the Pacha, “that up to the present he has
wedded the sea; it will be our turn in future, for we own more of the
sea than he does.” The Signory rejected the terms offered by the Porte.
Allies were sought, and a league was made with the King of Hungary and
the Pope. The King of Portugal promised help; Spain sent a fleet; France
a small contingent of men. Some small successes failed to compensate for
the loss of Lepanto, Modone, Corone and Navarino. Practically Venice was
left, as usual, to fight single-handed, and ultimately peace was made
with the Sultan, at the price of further territory in the Morea. Before
the treaty was concluded, Agostino Barbarigo, who had succeeded his
brother Marco in 1486, died. In October 1501, Leonardo Loredano, whose
shrewd, clear-cut and ascetic features in Giovanni Bellini’s portrait,
are so familiar to visitors to the National Gallery of London, was
preferred to the Dogeship. Owing to poor health, says Sanudo, he lived
abstemiously. He was kindly, though of uneven temper, wise in counsel,
very skilful in the conduct of public business, and his opinion
generally prevailed with the Council.

In August 1503 the death of Pope Alexander VI. had foiled the plans of
his bastard son, Cesare Borgia, to recover Romagna for the Papacy.
Venice had been closely watching events, and on the advent of the feeble
Pius III., determined to slice up the Papal States. Instructions were
sent to the _podestà_ of Ravenna, informing him of certain negotiations
between the Signory and some cities of Romagna. He was to confer with
the military commanders, in order to bring the negotiations quickly to a
successful issue; but he was to act cautiously and secretly. The chief
cities, by promise of remission of taxation, placed themselves under
Venetian protection. The Duke of Urbino followed their lead, and was
promised an annual subsidy.


During the short twenty-six days of Pius III.’s reign, and the interval
between his death and the election of a successor, Venice had occupied
Bertinoro, Fano and Montefiore, and was hastening to seize Rimini and
Imola. Julius II., at first favourably inclined to Venice, was in a few
weeks made her enemy by the occupation of Rimini and the capture of
Faenza. To Julius’ angry protests and his threat of winning back
Romagna, cost what it might, Venice urged her devotion to holy Church
and the benevolence of her motives in trying to free Italy of the
tyranny of Cesare Borgia. “_Signor Oratore_,” cried the Pope, “your
words are good, but your Signory’s deeds are evil. We have neither men
nor money to make war, but we will complain to the Christian princes,
and invoke divine aid.”[52] To Julius’ demand for restitution, the
Signory answered, “We will never restore the territory, even though we
have to sell the very foundations of our houses.”

“I tell you,” wrote De Comines, after his return from Venice in 1495,
“that I have found Venetian statesmen so wise and so bent upon
increasing their Signory that if it be not soon provided against, all
their neighbours will curse the hour.” The provisions made by the most
Christian princes were characteristic. “By an unprincipled treaty of
spoliation,” says Rawdon Brown, “the Great Powers of the Continent bound
themselves together to fall upon Venice by surprise in a time of
profound peace, and, in despite of the most solemn obligations, to
despoil her of her territories.” After much treatying and protocolling
there met on a November day in 1508 in a secret chamber at Cambrai, the
Cardinal d’Amboise acting for the King of France, and Margaret of
Austria for the Holy Roman Emperor. The papal nuncio and the King of
Spain’s envoy were near, but their views were known, and for greater
safety they were not allowed to enter. After many difficulties, says
Romanin, and such altercations that they wellnigh tore out each other’s
hair (_s’acciuffassero pei capegli_) the plenipotentiaries decided “that
it was not only useful and honourable but necessary to call upon all the
Powers of Europe to take a just vengeance, and quench, as they would a
general conflagration, the insatiable greed of the Venetians and their
thirst of dominion.” The modest reward which the Powers proposed to
themselves for “making an end of the rapine and injury wrought by the
Venetians and their tyrannical usurpation of the possessions of others,”
was as follows. His Holiness the Pope was to have Ravenna, Cervia,
Faenza, Rimini and all the territory held by the Venetians in Romagna;
the Emperor, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Roveredo, the Trevisano, the Friuli
and Istria; the King of France, Brescia, Bergamo, Crema, Cremona, the
Ghiaradadda and all the dependencies of the Duke of Milan; the King of
Spain and of Naples, Trani, Brindisi, Otranto, Gallipoli and other
cities held in pledge by Venice for an unpaid loan to his cousin whom he
had deprived of the kingdom of Naples. The King of Hungary, if he
joined, was to have Dalmatia; the Duke of Savoy, Cyprus. Some offal was
reserved for the jackals of the minor states, if they ran at the heels
of the royal beasts of prey. Florence later on informed the Sultan of
Turkey and invited him to seize the oriental possessions of Venice when
she was down. The Pope was to reinforce the temporal weapons of the
confederates by the use of the spiritual arm.

But the Lion of St Mark, though his claws were a little blunted and his
joints stiffened, had not lost his cunning. Moreover, he was forewarned.
A dramatic story of the premature disclosure of the plot is told in the
Venetian State papers. Spinola, an emissary of Gonsalvo of Cordova, came
secretly to Cornaro, the Venetian ambassador, at Valladolid, in February
1509, and asked him to meet the great captain at mass in an unfrequented
church at the far end of the town. He went and the secret was revealed
to him. He refused to believe it, but later Spinola showed him a copy
of a letter from Gonsalvo’s wife at Genoa in which the details of the
proposed partition were given, and offered his master’s services to the
Signory. Cornaro informed the Ten. They, too, hesitated to believe in
any cause for attack, advised caution, and asked for further proof.
Secret information from England soon brought confirmation and the Ten
sat day and night to prepare for the coming storm. The weakness of the
league lay in the fact that each spoiler was to seize his own share of
the prey. Self-interest was its motive power. Self-interest would lead
individual members to abandon the hunt if their portion were thrown to
them. This the Ten quickly saw and acted upon with consummate art and
patience while pushing on with all speed defensive military operations.
The aged and infirm Doge Loredano, so overwrought by emotion that it was
piteous to see, addressed the Great Council begging them to turn to
righteousness and offer their lives and substance in defence of the
fatherland. Himself would give an example by sending his silver plate to
the mint. On April 27, 1509, Julius flung a bull of excommunication
couched in almost savage terms against the Republic. The Ten forbade its
publication and sent officers to take down any copies posted on churches
or on the walls. They consulted learned canonists; drew up an appeal to
a future council of the Church and sent emissaries to Rome who nailed a
copy on the doors of St Peter’s. The secular arm swiftly followed.
Sanudo tells us that while he and two other Senators were examining a
map of Italy painted on the walls of the Senate hall, a courier arrived
with the news that the French had crossed the Adda, fallen on the fine
army of the Republic at Agnadello and utterly routed it with a loss of
four thousand in killed alone. Faces gathered gloom and despair. “Give
me my cloak, wife,” said Paolo Barbo, one of the most experienced of the
fathers, “that I may go to the Senate, speak a couple of words and die.”
One disaster trod on the heels of another. Bergamo and Brescia fell and
before the month was ended nearly the whole of Lombardy was lost.
Preparations were even made to defend and victual Venice. Envoys were
sent to treat with the Kings of France and Spain. The Pope was tempted
by an offer of partial restitution and help towards a crusade against
the Turks. Meanwhile the Imperial Eagle swooped down from Trent. The
Signory, by ceding Verona and Vicenza, hoped to conciliate the Emperor
and save Padua. In vain were the civil commissioners with the army
entreated to make a stand, “lest the whole of our cities surrender in an
hour.” Padua fell and Treviso alone stood by the Republic. At bay she
now turned to the Sultan of Turkey and begged for money and men,
especially men. If his Highness would advance them one hundred thousand
ducats and would agree to buy no more cloth of the Genoese and
Florentines, who only used his money to help a League that sought his
hurt, the Signory would send him fifty thousand ducats’ worth of cloth,
and jewels worth fifty thousand more, as security. The Venetian consul
at Alexandria was instructed to incite the Sultan of Egypt to ruin
Genoese and Florentine commerce in his dominions. The good offices of
the Kings of England and Scotland were sought.

But the gloom was wearing away. One day in July two tall, mysterious,
armed men were observed leaving Fusina in the gondola of the Ten.
Arrived at Venice they remained closeted with the Ten and the Doge far
into the night, then were rowed back whence they came. On the night of
the 16th there was a hurrying to and fro of transports and armed vessels
between the islands. The Doge’s two sons and two hundred noble youths,
fully armed, left for the mainland. The police boats of the Ten allowed
no one to go out of Venice without permission. Next day Padua, disgusted
by the insolence and exactions of the Imperialists, was won back for
Venice before the laggard Emperor could reach the city. Sanudo
remembered the 17th of July, for did he not buy a Hebrew Bible worth
twenty ducats for a few pence as he was going home? Two attacks by the
Emperor were successfully resisted, and the foiled Cæsar retired to
Vicenza in October with anger in his heart against the French. In
February 1510, after long and tough negotiations, the Pope was given his
prey and detached from the league, but at the price of a bitter
abasement of Venice. Time had avenged the Empire. It was now the Queen
of the Adriatic who, in the person of her ambassadors, bowed the neck
before the enthroned Pope in the atrium of St Peter’s, surrendered her
ecclesiastical privileges, admitted the justice of the excommunication,
craved pardon for having provoked it, and was at length absolved and
bidden to do the penance of the seven churches. The Ten, however,
entered in their register a protest of nullity, declaring that the
conditions had been extracted from the Republic by violence. The Pope
who, as he told Venice, had no pleasure in seeing the ruin of her State
to the aggrandisement of the barbarians, now became her ally. Soon other
cities, sickened by the atrocities of the invaders, returned to their
allegiance, and by skilful playing of King against Emperor, and Pope
against both, Venice was able to regain the bulk of her territory.


     _Loss of Cyprus--Lepanto--Paolo Sarpi--Attack on the Ten--Loss of
     Crete--Temporary Reconquest of the Morea--Decadence--The End_

     “Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and
     purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and
     pearls!... Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all
     that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness.”--_The
     Revelation of St John the Divine._

We may not here attempt to tread the maze of chicanery and violence
which ended in the peace of Cambrai.[53] We are permitted to see a
fighting Pope exhorting his soldiers and directing siege operations
against an Italian city, and climbing by a scaling-ladder through the
breach to take possession. In 1514 the Spaniards desolated the land up
to the lagoons and levelled their cannon at Venice. In 1515 the
encampments of four armies were exhausting and polluting Lombardy. King,
Popes, and Emperor died and their successors took up the unholy heritage
of war and duplicity. Gaston de Foix, Bayard and other renowned
chevaliers perished. In 1521 the Emperor Charles V. came upon the scene,
and in alliance with the great Medicean Pope, Leo X., swept the French
and their Venetian allies out of Lombardy. In July 1523, when the power
of France was waning, the Venetians made terms with the Emperor. They
were suffered to retain their territory up to the Adda in return for an
annual tribute of 250,000 ducats. Venice excused herself to Francis I.
by professing solicitude for the peace of Christendom in view of the
threatening attitude of the Sultan. Before the year was ended King and
Emperor were competing for Venetian help in a renewed struggle for
mastery. While the Republic was temporising, the Imperialists had
descended on Lombardy, routed the French before Pavia and captured their
King. “Nothing is left to me,” wrote Francis, “but honour, and life
which is safe,”[54] and proceeded to send his ring secretly to the
Sultan and to grovel before Charles. The victorious Emperor brushed
aside the subtleties of the Venetian ambassadors. “If you were to send
all your lawyers,” he cried, “you would not convince me. You must pay
80,000 ducats for the troops you failed to send to Pavia. You are rich:
my expenses are heavy: you must help me.”

After perjuring himself at the peace of Madrid, January 1526, the
_Cristianissimo_ returned to France. In less than six weeks a “holy
league” of France, Venice and the Papacy had been signed at Cognac for
the “liberation” of Italy from the Imperialists. But Francis, whose
moral fibre had been rotted by lechery, was no match for the virile
genius of Charles, strong with the united resources of the Empire and of
Spain in her greatness. The Emperor was soon again master of Italy. Rome
was captured and sacked; Pope Clement VII. imprisoned. But the miserable
condition of Italy and the news that the Turks were threatening Vienna
disposed Charles to treat, and in July 1529 Margaret of Austria was once
more at Cambrai negotiating on behalf of the Emperor with Louise of
Savoy, who represented Francis.[55] Two adjacent houses were chosen and
the party-wall pierced that the ladies might confer with absolute
secrecy. In two months, while the Venetians were finessing, the “_paix
des dames_” was concluded and Venice left to make the best terms she
might with the Emperor. Francis had given way all along the line. “The
peace of Cambrai,” says Michelet, “was the moral annihilation of France
in Europe.” During the coronation festivities at Bologna the Emperor and
the Pope found time to deal with the Venetians, who agreed to pay the
balance of the annual tribute of 250,000 ducats due on the treaty of
1523; to restore the cities of Naples and Apulia to the Emperor; and to
the Papacy Ravenna and Cervia, which they had seized during the Pope’s
imprisonment at Rome. Thanks to the impassable lagoons Venice preserved
her capital inviolate, but her prestige and her military power were

After the League of Cambrai a change comes over the Venetian temper.
Patricians, instead of using their talent in commerce and discovery,
chose to live on their invested capital and on the revenues of their
mainland estates. The power of initiative was gone. In 1522, before
Sebastian Cabot sailed for the New World, he contrived to meet
Contarini, an emissary of the Ten, secretly at Valladolid, and told him
he had no joy in selling his knowledge to the foreigner; that he had
refused tempting offers from Cardinal Wolsey and was prepared to absolve
himself from the King of Spain’s service and spend his genius in the
advancement of his fatherland. But Contarini talked of things possible
and impossible, and success is to those who will achieve the impossible.
The supreme opportunity of retrieving her mercantile position was lost
to Venice for ever. Sadder still, when Loredano had called on the Senate
for volunteers and patriotic gifts for Padua and Treviso, not a man
stirred. Venice had lost faith in herself.

In 1521 Leonardo Loredano died and was buried with more than usual pomp
at S. Zanipolo. Antonio Grimani, the disgraced of Sapienza, who had
redeemed himself by faithful service, reigned for two years and gave
place to Andrea Gritti, a distinguished civil commissioner with the army
during the wars. Between Gritti’s death in 1539 and the election of
Sebastian Venier, the hero of Lepanto, in 1577, there follows a line of
Doges, Pietro Lando, Francesco Donato, Marc’ Antonio Trevisano,
Francesco Venier, Lorenzo and Girolamo Priuli, Pietro Loredano, Luigi
Mocenigo, worthy magistrates all, but without distinction.

The wars had exhausted the State treasury. Her Indian trade was
withered, and the wealth of Venice was no more commensurate to the
demands of a long naval war. Her military pride had been chastened by
the rod of the Emperor, and a dread of Spanish arms and Spanish gold
hung like a pall over men’s minds. An era of subtle diplomacy begins,
and the Council of the Ten, with its new instrument of the Inquisitors
of State, tightens its grip upon the executive. Wave after wave of
Ottoman fury surges against her Eastern possessions; one by one they are
engulfed. In 1535 she lost Egina, Paros and Syra; in 1540, Malvasia and
Nauplia. In 1570 Cyprus was marked out for conquest and the usual appeal
to the Christian Powers was made. Spain and the Pope promised help.
Zane, the Venetian commander, wasted his force waiting at Zara, then
learned that the allies were at Corfù. He reached the island only to
find the Spanish admiral without orders. Meanwhile the season had worn
along and operations were judged inopportune. The whole island by this
time was occupied by the Turks, Nicosia and Famagosta alone holding out.
While the futile admirals were squabbling about plans the magnificent
heroism of the garrisons and of the inhabitants was spent in vain, and
the cities fell to the horrors of a Turkish pillage, and Marc’ Antonio
Brigadin, the Venetian governor of Famagosta, was treacherously flayed
alive in the Piazza after having surrendered on terms to the enemy. Zane
was recalled to Venice, and Sebastian Venier given command. A new
alliance of Spain, the Papacy and Venice being concluded, at length on
October 7, 1571, the allied fleets came upon the Turkish armament off
Lepanto in the Gulf of Corinth. The Spanish admiral, Don John of
Austria, was in supreme command. Venier led the Venetians; Marc’ Antonio
Colonna the Papalists.

It was a calm sunny morning. The line of the allied fleets was four
miles in extent, the two armaments were a mass of glittering steel as
the rays of the sun smote on the helmets, breastplates and shields,
bright as polished mirrors. The banners of gold and tall galley lamps
were resplendent in many colours. A beautiful, yet an awful spectacle.
The Venetian flagship was fiercely assailed. Venier, spite of his
seventy-five years, was seen, sword in hand, pressing to the thick of
the fight, heartening his men and with invincible courage striking down
his enemies, so that he wrought deeds beyond the belief of man. We
cannot here linger on the vicissitudes of the struggle. Scenes of comic
relief were not absent from the tragedy. Some Turks, their arms of
offence failing, seized upon a quantity of oranges and lemons and threw
them at their enemies, who with mocking laughter cast them back. At
length after five hours of savage fighting, the Turks were scoured off
the seas. The allied and victorious admirals met, embraced each other
speechless from emotion; and as the venerable Venier and the youthful
Don John of Austria stood clasped in each other’s arms shedding tears of
joy, the eyes of even the most hardened of sea-dogs were moist with
tears. Some 30,000 Turks are said to have perished; 3486 prisoners were
divided among the victors as slaves; 94 ships were burned; 130 ships and
356 guns captured; 15,000 Christian slaves set at liberty. The allies
lost heavily: 8000 men were slain including 25 Venetian nobles.[56]
Among the Spanish was Cervantes, who lost an arm in the engagement.

[Illustration: A WINE SHOP.]

As day broke on October 18th, a galley was seen sailing up to Lido
trailing the Turkish colours at her stern, a pile of turbans on her
deck. Amid the booming of the guns could be heard cries of “Victory!
victory!” The reaction from the gloom of Cyprian news was tremendous. A
frenzy of joy possessed the people. Shops were shut _per la morte
de’ Turchi_. The streets from the Rialto bridge to the Merceria were
covered with a firmament of blue cloth spangled with stars of gold; a
pyramid of Turkish spoils stood on the Piazza, which was gay with
scarlet cloth, tapestry and pictures. Four days’ rejoicings celebrated
the triumph of the Cross. But to Venice the battle of Lepanto (or _alle
Curzolari_) was a sterile victory. Dynastic jealousy in Spain and the
old suspicion of Venice, which still clung to the allies, permitted the
Turks to recover from the blow, and in March 1573 Venice agreed to
purchase a separate peace at the cost of an indemnity of 300,000 ducats
and a threefold increase of the tribute for Zante. The fair island of
Cyprus was lost for ever. “Was it the Turks who were the victors at
Lepanto?” asks Romanin.

On Doge Venier was conferred the consecrated golden rose, a supreme
token of papal favour, but during the seventy years’ peace from Lepanto
to the outbreak of the fifth Turkish war, the indictment at Rome against
the refractory children of the lagoons increased in gravity, and in the
beginning of the seventeenth century the Papacy determined to force them
to yield to discipline. The Venetians were a stubborn folk when their
national dignity was threatened by Rome. “These _Signori_ of the
Senate,” said Paul IV. to the Venetian ambassador, “are tough fellows
and take a lot of cooking” (_non sono molto buoni da cuocer_). In 1527,
when the Papacy was under the heel of Charles V., the Republic had
reasserted her rights to nominate to ecclesiastical offices. Disputes as
to the taxation of Church property, the right of the Pope to inspect the
monasteries, the right of the Republic to try criminous clerics,
exacerbated the situation until at length Gregory XIII. declared in 1581
that he would no longer consent to be Pope everywhere but in Venice, and
sent his nuncio to make a visitation of the Venetian monasteries. The
Republic refused permission, and the conflict called of the _Interdetto_
began. But the fight between Italian Popes and Italian sovereigns, even
in our own times, has generally been a comedy played for the
mystification of Transalpine Powers and all ended in compromise. The
Signory appointed the Bishop of Verona as the nuncio’s colleague, and
persuaded itself that the nuncio went with the Bishop; the Pope
satisfied his dignity by claiming that the Bishop went with the nuncio.
In 1605 the Spanish party, ever the evil genius of the Sacred College,
re-opened the quarrel. The Republic had refused to send their nominee to
the Patriarchate of Venice for examination to Rome, and had tried and
convicted two clerics on the mainland for criminal offences. On
Christmas Day a brief from Pope Paul V. was delivered to the Signory
threatening excommunication if they did not submit in the matter of the
taxation of ecclesiastical estates. The Republic engaged the learned
Augustinian friar Paolo Sarpi as their adviser at a salary of two
hundred ducats and prepared for the struggle. In February 1606, a second
brief followed on the matter of the convicted clerics. The Republic
expressed her devotion to the Catholic Faith, but firmly though
respectfully declined to surrender her ancient rights and privileges. On
April 16th, the Republic was given twenty-four days to submit under pain
of interdict. Venice calmly waited. In due time the bull of
excommunication[57] and interdict was delivered. The Signory forbade its
publication and ordered the clergy to continue their functions as usual.
Some of the regular clergy who disobeyed were expelled. Sarpi advised
the Republic with excellent prudence and wisdom, and became in the eyes
of Europe one of the greatest protagonists of national liberty against
papal aggression. A Spanish army having been mobilised on the Milanese
frontier, Sir Henry Wotton, the English ambassador, suggested an
alliance of Venice with England, France, the Grisons, and the German
Protestant princes, but the Republic was deaf on that side. She
declared to the Pope that the Venetians were as good Catholics as he
himself, but that as Church property enjoyed the protection of the
State, it must share its burdens, and that criminals, whether lay or
cleric, must be equally subject to the laws of the land. Time wore on.
Spain, humbled by the defeat of her Armada and the revolt of the
Netherlands, was afraid to strike; the obsolete ghostly artillery of
Rome failed to act; and the secular clergy stood loyally by the
Republic. The Papacy reverted to her habitual policy of compromise. The
services of Henry IV. of France as mediator were accepted and a solemn
comedy was played. The Republic agreed to surrender the incriminated
clerics, without prejudice, to the French ambassador; the Pope agreed to
withdraw _informally_ the bull of excommunication and interdict. The
Republic continued to nominate for Church offices and try clerical
delinquents as before. But the Spanish fanatics at the Vatican never
forgave the Venetian friar for his share in their discomfiture. On
October 25, 1607, three ruffians fell upon him as he was crossing the S.
Fosca Bridge,[58] stabbed him, then left him for dead, and escaped to
Papal territory. Sarpi, however, recovered. The surgeon who was dressing
his wounds remarked on their jagged, inartistic nature. “Ah!” replied
the witty friar, “_agnosco stylum curiæ romanæ_.” On his recovery the
Republic gave him a pension of six hundred ducats and a house near the
Piazza, where the great patriot-scholar devoted the remainder of his
life to literature and science.[59] Two further attempts were made to
assassinate him, in 1609 and 1610. He spent his last breath in the
service of the Republic, advising the Senate in three important
questions in 1623 as he lay on his death-bed. His mind soon began to
wander. “It is growing late,” he murmured, “I must hasten to St Mark’s
for I have much to do.” His last words were a prayer for his country.
“_Esto perpetua_.”

The university of “Fair Padua, nursery of the Arts,” became under
Venetian auspices the most famous and most honoured centre of learning
in Europe. Liberal salaries and an atmosphere of intellectual freedom
drew an array of the most eminent teachers in Christendom. Fallopius, in
physiology and medicine; Galileo, in astronomy and mathematics, were
names that crowded its halls with eager students. As many as eighteen
thousand of all nations were gathered there daily in the sixteenth
century. During his professorship of twenty years, Galileo invented the
thermometer and the telescope. Tasso studied, and our own Harvey
(Italians claim) learned the secret of the circulation of the blood
there. The Earl of Arundel sent his two sons in 1622 to drink of its
springs. The Admirable Crichton having called on one of the Aldi in
1580, was introduced to the Signory, and improvised before the Senate a
Latin oration of “most rare and singular power.” The Fathers voted the
impecunious youth one hundred crowns as a courteous recognition of his
marvellous powers, and sent him to Padua with a warm introduction.

To Sebastian Venier succeeded Doge Nicolo da Ponte in 1577, a worthy
scholar and student of theology, who had represented the Republic at the
Council of Trent. At his death, in 1585, Pasquale Cigogna, descended
from an apothecary ennobled after the war of Chioggia, was preferred to
the ducal office. Cigogna saw the erection of the new stone Rialto
bridge, and, after ten years’ peaceful reign, was followed by a popular
and lavish prince, Marino Grimani, whose consort was exceptionally
honoured by a gorgeous coronation ceremony.

Grimani died on Christmas Day 1605, the very evening of the delivery of
the first papal brief, and Leonardo Donato was chosen to open the
document, and to preside over the conflict with the Spanish papalists
at Rome. When he died in 1612, weird stories were whispered by fanatics
of shrieks and cries heard from his chamber as the Evil One bore him

During the short reigns of Marc’ Antonio Memmo, Giov. Bembo, Nicolo
Donato, and Antonio Priuli, the Ten had been accumulating evidence of a
vast conspiracy to seize the city, concerted by the Spanish Viceroy of
Naples and the Marquis of Bedmar, the Spanish ambassador at Venice. On
May 12, 1618, three Frenchmen in Venetian pay were arrested, strangled,
and hung head downwards between the red columns, and orders were sent to
the fleet to despatch three others. The plot had been divulged by two of
the conspirators, and in all some three hundred persons of various
nationalities, including many poor Venetian patricians, were implicated,
and paid the penalty with their lives. The Spanish ambassador was for a
time in danger, and under guard. He protested his innocence of the plot,
as did his colleague of France. Both, however, soon sought a change of
air. Two years were spent in tracing the ramifications of the plot, and
in 1620 a senator, Giambattista Bragadin, was found to be in Spanish
pay, and hanged between the columns.

In 1622 the atmosphere of dread and suspicion which encompassed the
State, so dulled the perceptions of the Ten that a grave miscarriage of
justice was laid to their charge. In 1618 Antonio Foscarini, a noble of
high family and Venetian ambassador at London, was accused by Mascorno,
a disaffected member of his staff, of licentiousness, blasphemy and
treason. Foscarini was recalled, arrested by the Ten, and, after a long
trial, acquitted, but kept under surveillance. In 1622, as he was
leaving the Senate, a cloak was flung over him, and he was hurried off
to prison. His accuser, who had been sentenced to two years’ detention
in a fortress, had, on his release, fabricated some documents which the
tribunal deemed conclusive. Foscarini was declared guilty of
corresponding secretly with Spain and the Emperor, strangled in prison,
and his dead body hung by the leg between the red columns. As he had
been an occasional visitor at Casa Mocenigo, where Lady Arundel resided,
she was suspected also; but Sir Henry Wotton prompted her to clear
herself by asking an audience of the Doge. This she did, and was allowed
to make a statement in the Senate, the only woman who ever addressed
that Assembly. She was exonerated, and a present of sweetmeats and wax
offered to conciliate her. Four months later poor Foscarini’s innocence
was entirely proved, and two of his accusers were put to death. The
family was restored to honour, and his remains were dug up and buried in
the Frari with great splendour and pomp. His bust may still be seen in
the church of S. Eustacchio (S. Stae) near the old Foscarini Palace.

Doge Priuli died shortly after the Foscarini tragedy. The brief reign of
Francesco Contarini followed, and Giovanni Cornaro was chosen to fill
the ducal office in 1624. The shock of Foscarini’s judicial murder had
given a rallying cry to the poorer nobles in the Great Council, jealous
of the power of the Ten and the monopoly of office by the more
influential patricians; and Renier Zeno, a patrician, fearless and
incorruptible--himself an ex-_capo_ of the Ten--led an attack on the
tribunal. Banished for a year, he did but return with added popularity,
and forced himself again on the Ten as one of the _Capi_. He used his
power to accuse the Doge of nepotism, and his Serenity was forced to
cancel certain family appointments. Zeno, driving his advantage further,
came into conflict with his colleagues of the Ten, and, leaning on the
majority of the Great Council, emerged triumphant. Shortly after, while
standing at the Porta della Carta, he was attacked by five persons and
stabbed. The Doge’s son and certain alleged accomplices were denounced
to the Ten, whose laggard justice, however, made flight easy. Again
appointed one of the Ten, Zeno, on his recovery, renewed the struggle
with increased vigour; and, after a stormy scene in the Great Council,
during which he came to high words with the Doge, the stout reformer was
ordered to keep his house, and report himself to the Ten within three
days. Ignoring the summons, he was fined two thousand ducats and
banished. The Great Council quashed the sentence, and ordered it to be
blotted out of the records of the Ten. At length Zeno’s party succeeded
in carrying a motion for a committee of inquiry into the constitution of
the Ten, but the four years’ bitter conflict ended in a virtual triumph
for the tribunal, whose powers of criminal jurisdiction over the nobles
were reaffirmed, though it had to submit to a modified capitulary.

During the latter half of the seventeenth century the power of Venice
was declining to its setting in an aureole of glory. In 1644, Crete, the
oldest and last remaining of her great possessions in the East, was
marked for conquest, and, like an old warrior who takes down his armour
and girds himself to make a last stand against his hereditary foes,
Venice prepared to resist the Turk to the uttermost. The old heroic
times seem to return as we watch the quarter of a century’s struggle,
but our admiration is touched with pathos, for we know that the dice are
loaded against Venice. A Turkish pilgrim fleet for Mecca had been
pillaged by the Knights of Malta, and the pious buccaneers had landed at
Crete for provisions. This was pretext enough for hostilities. In 1645 a
huge armament left the Bosphorus, ostensibly for Malta, actually for the
conquest of Crete. Canea quickly fell, and the Turks promised themselves
an easy occupation. But twenty-four years of fierce and exhausting
fighting ensued before the Crescent floated over the island.

Seven million ducats were quickly raised in Venice by the sale of
patents of nobility. By a marvellous re-birth of naval energy and
capacity, her fleet was reorganised and spread terror along the
Dardanelles. The Venetian Captain-General, Lazzaro Mocenigo, determined
to force the passage and attack Constantinople, but a well-aimed shell
fired his ship, and he was killed. Francesco Morosini, appointed his
successor, won the admiration of Europe by his twenty-two years’ defence
of Candia. Inspired by his heroism, companies of Flemish and French
volunteers, eager and impetuous, joined him, but their enthusiasm was
soon spent, and, impatient of the long vigils and toils of the war, they
left the Venetians to fight alone. Morosini did not save Crete, but he
extorted an honourable peace. No indemnity was paid, and the Venetian
garrison marched proudly out of Candia unsubdued.[60] Four thousand
Candiots who opted for Venice were settled in Istria, where traces of
their language and customs are said still to survive. Suda and other
fortresses remained in the hands of the Venetians. To the Pope the
result seemed almost incredible.

In 1684 Venice was invited to join the Emperor and the King of Poland in
a league against the Turks. The Cretan war had cost her one hundred and
twenty-six million ducats, and she felt too exhausted to run with the
horsemen again. But bolder counsels prevailed. Morosini was despatched
with an army, and ably seconded by Koningsmark, the great Swedish
mercenary, overran the Morea, captured Coron, Sparta and Athens, which
last was won at the price of the ruin of the Parthenon, the Turkish
powder magazine there having been exploded by a Venetian shell. Morosini
returned in triumph, bringing the Greek lions, which still stand in
front of the Arsenal. He was made Doge in 1688, the coronation being
deferred that he might return to Greece. Vast designs of the recapture
of Negropont, even of Crete, lured him on, but ill-health soon
necessitated his return, only, however, to be again entreated to take up
the command and retrieve the blunders of an incompetent
Captain-General. The veteran Doge and captain for the last time
sailed from Venice amid scenes that recalled the great crusading times
of old. After some successes at Corinth he went to winter at Nauplia,
where he died on January 9, 1694. He was the greatest of the modern
Doges. A tomb in S. Stefano and a triumphal arch in the Sala dello
Scrutinio still witness to his fame.

[Illustration: PONTE DI RIALTO.]

But Venice was too poor and too feeble to retain her conquests. During a
short campaign in 1715 she lost the whole of the Morea, and by the
treaty of Passarovitch in 1717 all that was left of her vast empire in
the East were a few fortresses in Dalmatia, Albania and Herzegovina. The
treaty of 1717 bore her last signature as a European Power.

The procession of Doges that stretches from Giov. Cornaro, the opponent
of Renier Zeno, to the fall of the Republic contains but one name of
historic significance--Francesco Morosini. Marco Foscarini, elected in
1762, a descendant of the ill-fated Antonio Foscarini, is known to
students as the author of a “History of Venetian Literature,” and
Ludovico Manin has the unhappy distinction of closing the line for ever.
Through all the vicissitudes of foreign affairs, the decadence of trade,
the fear corroding at her statesmen’s hearts, the social and ceremonial
life of Venice waxed rather than waned in pomp and splendour. The
recurring ravages of plague periodically purged her pride and luxury. Of
all the great cities of Europe, Venice bears the deepest traces of the
passages of the destroying angel. In her annals no less than seventy
visitations are recorded. Two great churches, the Redentore founded in
1575 and the Salute in 1630, are votive offerings to Heaven for
salvation from the scourge. Her greatest _scuola_ is dedicated to the
chief plague saint, St Roch. Indeed in all her churches the figures of
the plague saints, St Roch, St Job, St Sebastian, have a sad
pre-eminence. But the danger past, the lesson faded from her memory, and
the traditional magnificence shone forth. She became again--

    “The pleasant place of all festivity;
     The Revel of the earth; the Masque of Italy.”

Sanudo gives a list of nineteen great annual pageants, and after his
time others were added. Besides these official festivals great patrician
weddings or the visits of foreign potentates were the occasions of
stately pomp and joyous revels. At the anniversaries of the greater
_scuole_, each guild vied with the other to excel in splendour. Never
before nor since was such magnificence. The greatest artists of the day
were commissioned to execute the decorations. The Bucintoro was carved
by the best sculptors. Palladio, Titian and Tintoretto designed and
decorated triumphal arches.

The loan of the Bucintoro and a subsidy of five hundred ducats were
voted to the Calza to entertain the Duke of Milan in 1530. On this
occasion a _bellissima colazion_ (luncheon) was prepared, says Sanudo,
but so ill-arranged that the Milanese nobles got nothing, while some
Venetian Senators filled the sleeves of their robes with sweetmeats to
the shame of those who saw it.

Venice surpassed herself in the reception given to Henry III. of France
in 1574. The young king was met at Malghera--the modern traveller will
pass a fort erected there as he nears the railway bridge--by sixty
Senators in gondolas covered with velvet, oriental carpets and cloth of
gold, and was ferried to Murano, where he passed the night in one of the
rich palaces with delicious gardens for which the island was then noted.
Sixty halberdiers clothed in silk of azure and gold were his bodyguard:
forty noble youths of the Calza were his attendants. On the morrow amid
salvos of artillery he embarked for Venice in a great galley manned by
four hundred Sclavonians clothed in yellow and turquoise taffety,
followed by an immense train of galleys and gondolas decorated with
carpets and tapestry, with banners and flags waving in the breeze. The
procession of the trade guilds, formed of a hundred and seventy boats
resplendent with crimson and silver and gold, was a dazzling pageant.
The glass-workers excelled in splendour and invention. A marine monster,
in whose body could be seen a furnace, and craftsmen making most
beautiful crystal vases, led their section, breathing flames from his
mouth. Then followed a boat in the shape of a great dolphin bestridden
by Neptune; on the poop stood two winged angels to waft it along. Four
river gods personifying the Brenta, the Adige, the Po and the Piove
plied the oars. At S. Nicolo del Lido, Palladio had constructed a
triumphal arch adorned with statues of Victory, Peace, Faith and
Justice, and with ten paintings by Titian and Tintoretto portraying
events in the King’s life. His Majesty lodged in the Palazzo Foscari
from which an opening was made into the Palazzo Giustiniani to
accommodate his suite, the whole being furnished with oriental
magnificence. At a State ball given in the hall of the Great Council,
two hundred gorgeously attired ladies were present glittering with
jewels and precious stones. The Sala dello Scrutinio was made into a
supper-room where twelve hundred and sixty plates of sweetmeats in the
forms of griffins, ships, nymphs, deities, etc., tempted the palates of
the guests. Regattas, serenades and jousts made the whole visit seem a
dream of enchantment to the King. As trade languished and the population
diminished, public shows increased in splendour. The sum expended at the
election and coronation of the last Doge--forty-seven thousand, two
hundred and ninety-eight ducats, was beyond all precedent. Venice was
still the temple of pleasure. All the arts subservient to the luxury and
vices of the rich flourished in rankest exuberance despite the efforts
of the Ten to cleanse public morals and to enforce sumptuary laws. The
excessive importance too of the stage and of its tinselled heroes and
tawdry queens, was an infallible symptom of a decadent nation. The time
came in the eighteenth century when the State was torn by the petty
jealousies and vanities of a playwright and an actress, and when public
appointments were controlled by the subtle influence of the boudoir and
the drawing-room, and an ambitious and beautiful society lady was the
central figure of Venetian life. It was the time of the fatuous
masquerades and futile pomposities portrayed for us by Longhi, when the
card table, the coffee house and the play were the absorbing interest of
Venetian minds. But before she sinks into the deep night of subjection
to Austria to rise again as a province of a free and united Italy,[61] a
faint hue of naval splendour lights up the horizon. Soon after Goethe’s
arrival in Venice in 1786 he ascended St Mark’s tower and under the
bright noon-day sun saw a fleet of galleys and frigates lying off Lido.
They were reinforcements for Tunis, where the last of the great
Venetians, Angelo Emo, was fighting the Algerian pirates. Emo humbled
the Bey of Tunis, cleared the seas, and died at Malta in 1792. Five
years later Napoleon marched his battalions towards the lagoons and
before the mere breath of his coming the Republic of Venice crumbled
into dust. On May 16, 1797, for the first time in a thousand years the
Realtine islands were trodden by the foot of a conqueror, and the
hundred and twentieth Doge of Venice, handing his biretta to an
attendant, said: “Take it away, we shall not want it again.”




                Some prefer the pure design:
    Give me my gorge of colour, glut of gold
    In a glory round the Virgin made for me!
    Titian’s the man, not monk Angelico
    Who traces you some timid chalky ghost
    That turns the church into a charnel.


Owing to the absorption of her energies in commerce and the eastern
trend of her interests and activities Venice lagged behind the Tuscan
masters in the practice of the finer arts. Her earliest craftsmen were
Byzantines, and St Mark’s was modelled on the Church of the Holy
Apostles at Constantinople and adorned by mosaicists from the same city.
They were artists, rich in invention, and endowed with a perfect sense
of beauty in design. The reliefs imbedded in the façades of St Mark’s
and in scores of houses about the city of Venice bear ample testimony to
their greatness. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Byzantine
art had become degenerate, and traces of native Venetian sculpture as
early as the twelfth century have been argued from the rude carvings on
the pillars which support the tabernacle of the high altar of St Mark’s.
But it is not till we reach the masters of the characteristic Gothic,
Transitional, and early Renaissance styles, that the important place due
to Venice in the history of the mason’s craft is made clear. It is
doubtful whether any of the Pisani actually worked at Venice, though
their influence is beyond dispute. But Nicolo Lamberti, a Tuscan
sculptor, worked on the decorations of the main archivolt of St Mark’s,
Florentine artists carved some of the best figures and capitals in the
façades of the Ducal Palace, and wrought one of the finest tombs in S.
Zanipolo; Michelozzo is said to have built the Medici library at the
monastery of St Giorgio Maggiore; and the design so often met with in
monumental sculpture in Venice, two angels, one at either end of the
tomb drawing aside a curtain to display the recumbent effigy of the dead
was invented by a Florentine, Arnolfo di Cambio. Of the earliest
Venetian masters it may be truly said that their works live after them,
for little beyond their works is known of the Massegne and the Buoni who
reached a comparatively higher stage of excellence in sculpture than
their contemporaries did in painting. Jacobello and Piero delle Massegne
(_dei Macigni_[62]), thus called because of their craft, were working in
Venice towards the close of the fourteenth century. The statues of the
apostles, the Virgin, and St Mark over the choir-screen, and others in
the choir chapels of St Mark’s, the main portal of S. Stefano, the
beautiful lunette over the Friar’s door at the Frari, and the tomb of
Simone Dandolo in the same church are excellent examples of the style of
these great artists. How much of the sculpture on the façades of the
Ducal Palace was due to the Buoni it is difficult to say. The Buoni seem
to have been Giovanni, the father, his son, Bartolomeo, and a certain
Pantaleone Buon, once believed to be another son, but actually of no
kinship with him. To Bartolomeo, sometimes known as Bartolomeo della
Madonna dell’Orto, is ascribed the Porta della Carta of the Ducal Palace
(1439) on the strength of an inscription _opera Bartholomei_. The
reliefs of the Lion and of Doge Foscari are modern reproductions, but
the original head of Foscari, preserved in the palace still, bears
witness to the genius of this great craftsman.[63] He must not be
confounded with another Bartolomeo Buon, known as Master Bartolomeo of
Bergamo, also claimed as a native of Venice, who in 1493 superintended
the painters in the Ducal Palace, and in 1500 presided over the works
designed by Pietro Lombardo for the Procuratie Vecchie.

Certain craftsmen dubbed Riccio or Rizzo (Curly pate) now claim
attention. Their identity is much canvassed by Italian authorities.
Before the use of surnames became common it was the custom to refer to
contemporaries by their Christian or nicknames to the confusion of
biographers and critics. We meet with three Ricci who are stated to have
worked at Venice, (1) Andrea Riccio of Padua living about 1400, who is
said by Vasari to have executed the statues of Adam and Eve to be
referred to presently. (2) Antonio Riccio or Rizzo, sometimes called
Briosco, of Verona, who, according to Zanotto[64] was employed by the
Republic to assist Antonio Loredan at the siege of Scutari.[65] He
returned, after most effective service, covered with wounds, and the
grateful Senate voted him and his sons in 1483 a pension for twenty
years, and appointed him architect of the Ducal Palace after the fire in
the same year, authorising him to draw for funds on the salt office. To
him, and not to Andrea, are ascribed by Zanotto the masterly statues of
Adam and Eve in the niches opposite the Scala dei Giganti, the Scala
itself and the adjoining façade in the cortile and the rio façade. These
on Francesco Sansovino’s authority are more commonly attributed to
Antonio Bregno (also called Il Riccio or Rizzo). He is said to have been
a contemporary of Scarpagnino (Antonio Scarpagni), who, in 1514,
submitted designs for the new stone Rialto Bridge, and succeeded Sante
Lombardo in the erection of the Scuola di S. Rocco. Bregno, however, is
a mysterious figure who, so Zanotto declares, either never existed or
was none other than Riccio the Veronese. It is clear, however, from the
annals of Malipiero that in 1498, one Antonio Riccio or Rizzo, architect
of the Ducal Palace, after spending 80,000 ducats left the work not half
done, that he had by forged vouchers defrauded the Salt Office to the
extent of 12,000 ducats, and bolted to Foligno, where he soon died.[66]
To the family of Venetian masters (or, according to some authorities,
Lombard immigrants from Carona on Lake Lugano), known as the Lombardi,
are due the most beautiful and original of the early renaissance
architecture and sculpture in Venice. Pietro Lombardo, said to have been
the son of a mason named Martino, was working in Venice in 1462. In 1481
his design for the Church of the Miracoli was chosen, and the building
was erected under his superintendence. When Ant. Riccio fled from
Venice, Pietro succeeded him at the Ducal Palace, with a salary of 120
ducats, and for twelve years was the official architect of the Republic.
Among his works in Venice are the fine statues of St Anthony and three
other saints in S. Stefano. The altars of St James and St Paul in St
Mark’s are also attributed to him. He is probably best known as the
sculptor of the Dante Memorial at Ravenna. Antonio Lombardi, born before
1453, assisted his father at the Miracoli and on the tomb of Doge Pietro
Mocenigo at S. Zanipolo. He collaborated with Aless. Leopardi on the
bronze work in the Cappella Zen at St Mark’s. The statue of St Thomas
Aquinas in S. Zanipolo is attributed to him. Martino Lombardo, whose
relationship is unknown, was architect of the Scuola di San Marco after
1485, and was believed by Temanza to have built S. Zaccaria.[67] Moro
Lombardo, probably a son of Martino, assisted his father in the Scuola
di S. Marco. In 1524-7, Giulio Lombardo, probably son of Pietro, was
acting in an advisory capacity to Sante or Zante Lombardo, a son of
Pietro, born 1504, in the works at the Scuola di S. Rocco. The Church of
S. Giorgio dei Greci ascribed to Sansovino is now attributed to Sante
and one named Chiona.


Tullio Lombardi (1453-1537) was the son of Pietro, and the best sculptor
of the family. Beside his work in the interior of the Miracoli, he
executed the reliefs on the façade of the Scuola di S. Marco and the
monument to Giov. Mocenigo in S. Zanipolo. He also collaborated with
Leopardi on the Vendramin tomb in the same church. To the Lombardi
school we owe the beautiful Cappella Giustiniano at S. Francesco della
Vigna, and a fine relief in S. Giov. Grisostomo (Coronation of the
Virgin and the Twelve Apostles).

Aless. Leopardi (1450-1521) raised Venetian sculpture to its highest
plane of technical perfection. The Venetian artist was peculiarly
privileged. Unlike the Pisani and other Tuscans who drew their
inspiration from Roman antiques, he was able to draw from the
fountain-head. The lands of Hellas were subject to the Republic, and,
doubtless, many a young apprentice spent his _Wanderjahre_ there.
Enthusiasm gave insight, and both in technique and design we seem to
trace in Tullio Lombardo and Aless. Leopardi the influence of Greek
originals. To Leopardi are due the Vendramin tomb in S. Zanipolo, the
finest of renaissance sepulchral monuments, and the completion of the
Colleoni statue. He modelled the Six Virtues and the Madonna Della
Scarpa in the Cappella Zen. The three magnificent bronze bases for the
flagstaffs in front of St Mark’s were wrought by him. But soon aversion
from the study of nature, and the growing pomp of private and public
life reacted on the renaissance artists; their work became mannered and
feeble; they lost individuality and character. They found in Venice a
rich field for exploitation. She was not only the wealthiest, she was
the most tranquil of European states. Imperial in policy, oligarchical
in government, she sought by the splendour of the arts and by
magnificent pageantry to feed the pride of her nobles, and lay any
spirit of political freedom that might have survived in her people.

A giant among the sixteenth century masters who were attracted to Venice
was Jacopo Tatti (1477-1570) of Florence, the bosom friend and colleague
of Andrea del Sarto, known as Sansovino, from his intimate association
with his master, Andrea Contucci, of Monte Sansovino. Jacopo, while
sketching from the antique at Rome, attracted the notice of Bramante,
who was charmed by a wax model of the Laocoon executed by the young
student, and judged by Raphael to be the best of four others. It was
cast in bronze, and subsequently found its way to the Signory of Venice.
In 1527, after the sack of Rome, he came to Venice, and was employed by
Doge Gritti to strengthen the domes of St Mark’s. He did his work so
amazingly well (_fece stupire Venezia_, says Vasari) that he was
appointed in 1529 chief architect, with a house and a salary of 80
ducats, afterwards increased to 180. In 1536 the Senate decreed the
erection of a library to contain the books left to the Republic by
Petrarch and Cardinal Bassarione. Sansovino was charged with the
building, now known as the _Libreria Vecchia_, and esteemed by Palladio
to be probably the richest and most ornate edifice erected since the
time of the ancients. The Signory were royal pay-masters, but intolerant
of bad work; and when, on December 18, 1545, part of the vaulting fell,
Sansovino was imprisoned, fined a thousand crowns, and deprived of his
office. He succeeded, however, in proving his innocence, and was
released and compensated by a solatium of 900 crowns, and restored to
his former position. Sansovino’s work, however, ends at the sixteenth
arch from the Campanile corner. Twelve years after his death it was
finished by Scamozzi. He was a most lovable artist, ever ready with help
and counsel to those who entreated him; the friend of every great man of
his time; in youth a most winning personality; in age venerable and
alert. At ninety-three, if we may trust Vasari, his eyes were undimmed,
and he bore himself erect as ever. Among other works by him at Venice
may be specified the beautiful loggia destroyed by the collapse of the
Campanile, in July 1902, and the bronze doors leading to the sacristy,
St Mark’s, on which he is said to have worked during a period of twenty
years; the six bronze reliefs in the choir of the same church; the
colossal statues of Mars and Neptune at the top of the giants’
staircase, and the Scala d’Oro in the Ducal Palace, and many mansions
and churches, the choicest of which, S. Geminiano, no longer exists.

Of all his followers, Girolamo Campagna is the most talented. Good
examples of his works are the bronze statues of St Mark and St Francis
in the Redentore, the small statues of St Francis and St Clare in the
Miracoli, and the reclining figure of Doge Cicogna (1595) in the
Gesuiti. Aless. Vittoria of Trent (1525-1603) was a facile artist. Among
his works are the statue of St Sebastian in S. Salvatore, the fine bust
of Cardinal Gasparo in the Madonna dell’ Orto, the ruined chapel of the
Rosary in S. Zanipolo, and his own tomb in S. Zaccaria. Michele
Sammichele (1484-1559), the great Veronese master and famous military
engineer, was employed by the Republic between 1530 and 1550, and
designed the great fortifications in the mainland provinces, on the
Dalmatian coast, at Corfù, Cyprus and Romania, many of which remain to
this day. On his return to Venice, he constructed the magnificent
fortress of S. Andrea del Lido, a stupendous work, now threatened with
ruin, owing to erosion by currents set up by the new dykes near the
Lido. The Palazzo Grimani on the Grand Canal, the Ponte del Bucintoro at
the Arsenal are by this master, whose architecture so dominates Verona.
He was an earnest, God-fearing man, of grave, subdued, yet cheerful
disposition, generous and tender-hearted.

The once famous, but now depreciated, Andrea Palladio of Vicenza
(1518-80), came to Venice about 1550, where he designed, among other
edifices, the noble cloister of the Carità; the refectory, cloister and
church[68] of S. Giorgio Maggiore (1556-79); and the Redentore, the
greatest of his ecclesiastical buildings (1578-80). The interiors of
Palladio’s churches, by their austere beauty, their symmetry and
proportion, are among the greatest achievements of the later
Renaissance. He had an extraordinary vogue in Venice, and designed many
patrician villas on the mainland.

Vicenzo Scamozzi of Vicenza (1552-1616) was attracted to Venice by the
fame of Sansovino and Palladio, under whom he studied; like his masters
he spent much time at Rome. On returning to Venice he was employed to
complete the Libreria Vecchia in 1582, and two years later carried on
the Procuratie Nuove, spoiling Sansovino’s beautiful design by adding a
storey. The _porta dell’ anticollegio_ and other works on the Ducal
Palace are by him. He, too, was in much demand as a designer of palaces
in Venice and on the mainland.

Greatest of the seventeenth-century masters, and one who laid the most
monstrous burdens of stone on the patient Venetian soil, was Baldassari
Longhena (1600-82), a native of Venice and pupil of Scamozzi. He helped
to complete the Procuratie Nuove in 1638, and in 1640 was appointed the
official architect of the Republic. The foundation-stone of his most
famous work, S. Maria della Salute, was laid in 1631. The church was
still unfinished in 1660. The curious will find the design of this
edifice to have been suggested by the section and ground-plan of a
temple described by Poliphilus and illustrated in the
Hypnerotomachia[69]--that treasure-house of design so often looted by
Renaissance and modern artists. Two massive edifices on the Grand Canal,
the Pesaro and Rezzonico Palaces (1650); the high altars of S.
Francesca della Vigna and S. Pietro di Castello; the interior of the
Scalzi, “that pandemonium of details surpassed only by the greater
delirium of Pozzo’s high altar,” were all designed by this master, whose
heavy hand may also be seen in the masonry erected to Doge Pesaro in the


       *       *       *       *       *

More completely than her masons were Venetian painters dominated by
rigid Byzantine formalism. It seems barely credible that Jacobello del
Fiore, who for twenty-one years was head of the painters’ guild in
Venice, and Michele Giambono should have been the contemporaries of
Masaccio and Fra Angelico. The emancipation of Venetian painting from
the numbing tradition of the East did not begin until the employment of
the Umbrian masters, Gentile da Fabriano and Vittore Pisano, to decorate
the Ducal Palace in 1419, and the rise of the Vivarini in Murano in
1440-1500. The marked German character of the earliest work of the
Vivarini is due to the association of Antonio Vivarini with Giovanni
Alemano (John the German), who was trained in the Cologne school, and by
some authorities is believed to be a Vivarini. Later, Antonio
collaborated with his younger brother, Bartolomeo. Then the brothers
separated, and each worked alone. Bartolomeo, by far the greater
personality, was much influenced by Mantegna and the Paduan school, and
under him Venetian painting takes a big step towards naturalism. The
sacred altar-picture becomes less conventional, the figures are less
cramped, the colours brighten, the decoration is richer. When Antonello
da Messina, about 1473, brought the perfected Flemish method of painting
in oils to Venice, Bartolomeo was not slow to adopt the new medium.
Alvise Vivarini, his younger kinsman, made further use of Antonello’s
innovation, and touched, moreover, by the spirit of the Bellini, the
young painter, whose works cover the period between 1464-1502, begins to
foreshadow the future glories of Venetian painting. The earnest, severe,
almost harsh features become softened, a strange grace and gentleness
comes like a breath of springtime and promise over the whole field of
Venetian art.

Besides several paintings by the Vivarini in the Accademia there are in
Venice fine examples of Bartolomeo’s work, the St Augustine, in S.
Zanipolo; a Coronation of the Virgin by Giovanni Alemano and Antonio
Vivarini, with marked German traits, in S. Pantaleone; three
altar-pieces by the same two painters in S. Zaccaria; an early work
(1473) in three compartments by Bartolomeo, the Meeting of Joachim and
Anna, the Birth of the Virgin, and Mary as the Mater Misericordiæ in S.
Maria Formosa; a Virgin between St Andrew and St John (1478), in S.
Giovanni in Bragora, where are also two works by Alvise, one, the
Resurrection, a masterpiece. In the Frari are two altar-pieces by
Bartolomeo (1474 and 1478), and a fine example of Alvise’s work, St
Ambrose Enthroned, finished after his death in 1502 by his pupil
Basaiti. The beautiful Virgin and Child with two angels in the
Redentore, formerly attributed to Giovanni Bellini, is now generally
given to Alvise. The striking and noble figure of St Clare (No. 393) in
the Accademia is by this master, to whom modern criticism assigns a very
high place[70] in the history of Venetian painting. Many portraits
formerly ascribed to Antonello da Messina are now recognised as Alvise’s

[Illustration: _Alinari, Florence_



But it is to the paintings of Gentile, and Giovanni, sons of Jacopo
Bellini, that the traveller will turn again and again with increasing
admiration and reverence. In 1421 Jacopo, who had worked under the
Umbrian masters in the Ducal Palace, went with Gentile da Fabriano to
Florence, and there for several years was his pupil in the very centre
of the renaissance of art. In 1430 he set up a workshop in Venice, and
about 1450, having moved with his two sons to Padua, came under the
powerful influence of Mantegna, who married his daughter Nicolosa.
Venice possesses but two examples of his work, No. 582 in the Accademia
and a Crucifixion in Room XV. of the Correr Museum. Only from the
master’s sketches in the British Museum and in the Louvre can an
adequate conception of his genius be obtained. Gentile, the elder of the
sons, whose name was given him in memory of Jacopo’s beloved master
Gentile da Fabriano, was born in 1429, Giovanni about 1430. Vasari tells
of the affectionate rivalry of the artist family; the father’s joy as
the growing excellence of his sons already eclipsed his own fame; the
sons, after separating each to his own workshop, holding one another,
and both, the father, in great reverence, each praising his brother’s
work and depreciating his own, seeking modestly to excel in kindness and
courtesy as well as in the practice of his art. In 1464 Gentile painted
the shutters of the organ in St Mark’s with the figures of Saints Mark,
Jerome, Theodore and Francis. They still exist, but almost ruined, in
the Office of Works. No. 570 in the Accademia, a faded painting, the
Apotheosis of the Patriarch S. Lorenzo, is an early work, refined and
dignified. In 1479 the Doge, being asked by Sultan Mahomet II. to
recommend a good painter of portraits from Venice, sent Gentile and two
assistants to Constantinople and appointed Giovanni to continue his
brother’s work in the Ducal Palace. His remarkable portrait of the
Sultan is now in the Layard Collection in Venice. Gentile returned,
after a comparatively short stay, loaded with presents and honours, to
rejoin his brother at the Ducal Palace. In 1487 Titian is said to have
entered his workshop as an apprentice. Later, the master painted for the
guild of St John the Evangelist the three scenes illustrating the
miracles of the Holy Cross, now in the Accademia. Towards the end of his
life he began the Preaching of St Mark, now in the Brera at Milan, and,
falling sick, left his sketch-book to his brother on condition that he
completed the picture. Gentile was a good draughtsman, a brilliant
colourist, an alert observer, boldly making use of his Eastern
experiences to add local colour to his subjects. His compositions,
however, are rather crowded and wanting in central emphasis; his
treatment is flat and hard. His death, February 23, 1507, is noted by

Giovanni, his more gifted brother, is the tenderest and noblest of
Venetian painters. He gave more attention to individual figures than
Gentile, uniting grace and firmness of outline with warmth and splendour
of colouring; dignity and strength with variety and beauty of form. His
creations, once seen, haunt us like memories of beloved friends. In
early life Giovanni was much dominated by the personality of his
brother-in-law Mantegna, to whom some of his works[71] have been
attributed. A good example painted in _tempera_ of his early Madonnas
may be seen (No. 583) in the Accademia. An apocryphal story is told of
the artist going to Antonello to have his portrait painted in order to
learn the secret of painting in oils. But the new method must have been
too well known to have made the trick necessary. Venice possesses
several altar-pieces by Giovanni, besides the collection in the
Accademia, now conveniently placed in Room XVIII. The altar-piece in the
Frari and that in S. Zaccaria are the finest examples of the master’s
art in Europe, painted in the maturity of his genius--1488 and 1505.
They are held by Ruskin to be the two finest pictures in the world. In
S. Pietro Martire at Murano is another of the same period. In 1474, says
the annalist Malipiero, Zuano and Zentil Bellini, brothers, were
employed at the Ducal Palace to restore the pictures of the meeting of
Pope Alexander and the Emperor Barbarossa, which had fallen from the
walls because of damp and old age. The brothers promised that their work
should last two hundred years. They reckoned without the demon of fire,
for a hundred years later it was devoured by the conflagration of 1577.
An altar-piece in S. Giovanni Grisostomo, painted when Giovanni was
eighty-seven years of age, proves that the old craftsman was ever a
learner. Albert Dürer, when in Venice, was profoundly impressed by the
veteran painter and wrote that although very old, he was still the best
in his art. He died in 1516, full of years and rich in fame. Dürer was
well treated at Venice. The Doge and the Patriarch came to see his
paintings. Bellini praised him highly and offered to buy one of his
works. His only complaint was that the Painters’ Guild summoned him
three times before the magistrates, who ordered him to pay four ducats
to the guild for permission to practise his art.

[Illustration: _Alinari, Florence_



[Illustration: _Alinari, Florence_



Vittore Carpaccio is the chief of the newer generation of painters
trained under the influence of the Bellini. His talent for telling a
story with richness of detail and quaint simplicity has never been
surpassed. The series painted for the Guild of S. Ursula (1490-95) are
admirable examples of his power, and of capital importance for the study
of contemporary Venetian costume and architecture. Smaller in scale but
equally charming and naive are the St George and the Dragon, and St
Jerome series of paintings in the lower hall of S. Giorgio degli
Schiavoni and the St George and the Dragon in the Sala del Conclave at
the Salute. The well-known Presentation at the Temple, a noble work, No.
44 in the Accademia (1510), is obviously inspired by Giovanni Bellini.
The altar-piece in S. Vitale (1514) and three paintings in the
Accademia, Nos. 89, 90, 91, painted in 1515, are later works telling all
too plainly of declining power. Little is known of Carpaccio’s life. He
travelled in the East, was working at Venice in 1479, and died in 1525.

Sebastiani (Lazzaro Bastiani), his contemporary, worked with Gentile
Bellini, Benedetto Diana and Mansueti in the decoration of the Guild of
St John the Evangelist. The Offering of the Relic to the Brotherhood,
No. 561 in the Accademia is by his hand. His works are rare. Three
pictures in the Accademia; a Pietà in S. Antonino, much influenced by
Squarcione; a more pleasing work, the S. Donato, at Murano--are all that
Venice can show by this not greatly inspired artist. He was chosen by
Giovanni Bellini, 1508, to value Giorgione’s frescoes on the façade of
the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, and died in 1512.

To Mansueti are due two of the Guild of St John pictures, rich in
examples of Venetian costume and architecture, and two scenes from the
life of St Mark painted for the guild of that name, now placed in the
apse of Room XV. in the Accademia. He and his colleague Benedetto Diana,
who painted one of the legends of the Holy Cross for the Guild of St
John, were influenced by Gentile Bellini and Carpaccio. Benedetto’s
masterpiece, the Virgin Enthroned, an early work, is in the Accademia,
No. 82. The much-disputed Christ at Emmaus in S. Salvatore has been
attributed to him. Only scraps of the biographies of these two artists
are known. The former was lame, and died in 1530; the latter once
competed successfully with Carpaccio for the painting of a gonfalone for
the Guild of Charity, of which he was a member, and died in 1525. Marco
Marziale, a follower of Carpaccio, was much influenced by Albert Dürer
during his stay at Venice, as may be seen in the Supper at Emmaus, No.
76, the only work by him in the Accademia. Little is known of his life.
He was painting in the Ducal Palace in 1492, and still living in 1507.

Cima, Giovanni Battista, da Conegliano, son of a cloth-dresser
(_Cimatore di panni_), a pupil of Alvise Vivarini, and one of the many
painters from the mainland to whom Venetian art owes so much, is a great
typical colourist of the Bellini School. To a feeling for colour he
brings the expression of his love for natural scenery. The beautiful
background of mountain landscape, the dignity and warmth of the saintly
figures, the romantic architecture with tufts of the _erba della
Madonna_[72] growing from its crevices, in his altar-piece in the
Madonna dell’ Orto, make it, though technically immature, one of the
most delightful examples of Venetian art. Other maturer works by him are
in S. Giovanni in Bragora and the Carmine. The Accademia possesses
seven of his paintings. He was born in 1460, settled in Venice in 1490,
and died about 1517. His Virgin and Child, with St Michael and St
Andrew, now in the Parma Gallery, was long admired as a masterpiece by
Da Vinci.



Marco Basaiti, a pupil of Alvise, and influenced by Bellini, is a good
colourist and a lover of natural scenery; but his work lacks refinement,
strength and character. The Accademia has five of his works, of which
the Agony in the Garden, No. 69, is the best; another and later one,
Peter Enthroned, is in S. Pietro di Castello. He was working between
1490 and 1521.

Catena (Vincenzio di Biagio), yet another of Giovanni Bellini’s school,
is a sweet and graceful painter. The Martyrdom of S. Cristina in S.
Maria Mater Domini is an early work of much charm. The church of S.
Simeon Profeta has a picture by this master; two are in the Accademia
and one in the Ducal Palace. The Judith in the Quirini-Stampalia and a
Virgin and Child with the Baptist and a female saint, in the Palazzo
Giovanelli are assigned to him by Mr Berenson. This noble and ingenuous
artist has suffered much from the attribution of many of his best
creations to Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione. He was working between 1495
and 1531.

Another of the mainland painters attracted to Venice by the fame of the
Bellini was Andrea Previtali of Bergamo, of whose works the Accademia
possesses two, a Crucifixion and a Nativity. He, like Cima and Catena,
loves to introduce landscape, giving it, however, more prominence, and
adding classic details. In the Sacristy of S. Giobbe is a good early
work, the Marriage of St Catherine, formerly attributed to Giovanni
Bellini. He died in 1525.

Bissolo, Pier Francesco, pupil and assistant of Giovanni Bellini, is a
capable artist, the last of the school, whose best work, Christ offering
the Crown of Thorns to St Catherine, is in the Accademia (No. 79) with
three others. The Virgin and Child with St John and St Catherine in the
Redentore, formerly attributed to Bellini, is now assigned to Bissolo.
He died in 1554.

The advent of the romantic, almost mysterious, personality of Giorgione
(Georgio Barbarelli) marks an epoch in the story of Venetian painting.
Few artists in so short a life wrought so great a work. He lifted
Venetian painting to the highest sphere of poetic inspiration and
technical perfection, and influenced the whole of its subsequent
progress. Yet paintings by his hand are rare. One alone, the
Castelfranco altar-piece, is beyond dispute, and that, says Morelli, is
daubed over by a Venetian restorer. Of the scores of works formerly put
upon him in Europe few can now be safely defended, and of these few a
bare half-dozen are allowed to Italy. The unstable position of expert
opinion may be exemplified by the vicissitudes of the Miracle of St
Mark, No. 516, in the Accademia, long since removed from its former
position of honour and placed in a badly lighted corridor.[73] This,
once assigned to Giorgione by Boschini, and at a later date generally
attributed to Paris Bordone, is now esteemed by Mr Berenson to be one of
Giorgione’s greatest achievements. Crowe and Cavalcaselle doubt if the
“inky and spacious canvas” was ever touched by Giorgione. The official
catalogue of 1895 assigns it to Palma Vecchio, that of 1903 to Paris
Bordone and restorers of the eighteenth century. We are on safer ground
when we examine the Gipsy and Soldier in the Giovanelli Palace. Nothing
can be seen at Venice to surpass this superbly beautiful composition for
originality, poetic grace and romantic beauty. A fairly convincing work
is the Apollo pursuing Daphne, almost ruined by a restorer’s daubing, in
the Seminario of the Salute. Of the many frescoes painted on Venetian
palaces, especially those on the canal side of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi
so eloquently described by Vasari, only a fragment remains, a head,
torso and part of the arms, of a female figure. When Evelyn was at
Venice in 1645, the frescoes seem to have been in good condition. The
plague, or grief at the infidelity of his mistress, brought this great
artist to a premature death in 1510. He was born about 1478.
Passionately fond of music and song, his whole soul was attuned to
impressions of inward and outward beauty. With him, romantic as
distinguished from ecclesiastical painting leaps into being.


_Alinari, Florence_



Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) is the complementary genius to Giorgione. In
him is summed all that the Venetian school promised or attained to.
Lacking perhaps the sunny radiance of Giorgione’s temperament, his
larger experience of life, his deep, strong nature give him a pathetic
insight into the tragedy, as well as the beauty, of existence, so
characteristic of great artists and poets. To judge fully of Titian’s
life-work one would need to travel over the greater part of Western
Europe--to Madrid above all. Venice possesses but a score of his
paintings, and these not the very greatest. Early works, attributed by
some critics to Giorgione, are the Ecce Homo in the Scuola, and the
Christ bearing the Cross, in the Church of S. Rocco. A somewhat later
work, St Mark Enthroned, in the Sacristy of the Salute, painted in 1512,
for S. Spirito, still bears traces of Giorgione’s influence. The famous
Assumption in the Accademia, first of the grand compositions of the
later Venetian school and generally regarded as a masterpiece, was
painted in 1518. A finer picture, painted in 1526 in the maturity of his
power, is the Pesaro Madonna, in the Frari. The beautiful Annunciation
in the Scuola di S. Rocco was painted in 1525. The Presentation in the
Accademia, now restored to its original position, is a later work, 1538.
The Tobias and the Angel, perhaps painted about 1537,[74] in S.
Marziale, is a work composed with unusual simplicity and charm. We see
the great master in one of his happy moods like a strong man bending to
play with his children. In addition to Doge Grimani’s ceremonial
portrait there exists an unrestored fresco by his hand in the Ducal
Palace. Many sacred subjects were painted late in life. In S. Salvatore
are an Annunciation, a finely conceived work, and a Transfiguration,
both executed when he was nearing ninety years of age. The grand old
fellow died in harness. He failed to finish the Deposition, now in the
Accademia, completed by Palma Giovane. “Titian is our standard-bearer,”
said Velasquez when he saw him in Venice, and when Vasari was there in
1566 he called on the veteran painter and found him, although
eighty-nine years old, brush in hand. The friends had much converse
together of their art and of the master’s works. He died in 1576,
wanting but one year to complete his century.[75]

With Titian, Venetian painting reached its meridian glory. Inspiration
and technical mastery went hand in hand. He has been defined as the
painter _par excellence_ as distinguished from the draughtsman who
colours. In his new manner, that became absolute painting which in the
Bellini and Carpaccio was but coloured drawing.

Palma Vecchio (Jacopo Negretti), 1480-1528, Titian’s contemporary, is
the third of the dominant sixteenth-century painters. Without the finely
endowed nature of his two fellows, he works with much energy and
freshness, is masterly in his use of colour, and has a breadth and
serenity of style which make of him a great, but not a paramount artist.
The well-known St Barbara in S. Maria Formosa is the most grandiose and
majestic female figure in Venetian art. The recently acquired Santa
Conversazione, No. 147 in the Accademia, is an excellent example of a
mode of composition which Palma brought to its ultimate form. He was the
creator of that opulent type of female beauty with “marmoreal neck and
bosom uberous” so characteristic of Venetian art.



Sebastiano del Piombo (Sebastiano Luciani), 1485-1547, a pupil of
Giorgione, was a younger painter of the school, a competent but not
very gifted interpreter of the prevalent type of sensuous beauty. The
painting on the high altar in S. Giov. Crisostomo is a fine example of
his early style and in Vasari’s time was attributed to Giorgione. There
is an early Pietà in Lady Layard’s collection and a doubtful Visitation
in the Accademia. Early in his career he went to Rome and won the
friendship of Raphael and Michel Angelo by whom his later style was
profoundly influenced. This period of his activity belongs to Roman
rather than to Venetian art.

Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556), pupil of Alvise Vivarini, is a highly gifted
but unequal painter, who was working in Venice early in the sixteenth
century. He is one of the more original of the contemporaries of Titian.
Much attention has recently been given to this artist, especially to his
portrait work, by Mr Berenson, who gives him high, but perhaps somewhat
exaggerated praise, as the first painter who sought to interpret the
varying moods of the individual human soul; as an artist of penetrating
sympathy and charity, preserving for us in his portraits the lineaments
of the more gentle and refined of his contemporaries. These, however,
must be sought anywhere but in Venice. One fine altar-piece, painted in
the maturity of his powers, may be seen in the Carmine, St Nicholas in
Glory, a work of real poetic feeling; another, better preserved, the
Apotheosis of S. Antonino, is in S. Zanipolo. A later work, the Virgin
and Child with Saints, is in S. Giacomo dall’ Orio.

A room in the Accademia is devoted to examples of the works of the
Friulian school, a group of painters working in the capital, Udine, and
other towns and villages of the northernmost Venetian territory during
the second half of the fifteenth and first half of the sixteenth
centuries. Of Martino da Udine (Pellegrino da S. Daniele), the Accademia
possesses three examples. No. 151, an Annunciation, is a replica of the
same subject in his best work, the series of frescoes in the church of
S. Antonio, at S. Daniele, near Udine. Pictures by him have been
assigned to Giorgione.

A greater man than Martino came to Venice from Pordenone, about thirty
miles from the capital, his pupil Giov. Ant. Sacchiense, known as
Pordenone. He was an artist of power, but who showed that pride in
technical skill so characteristic of a declining art. He parades his
anatomical knowledge and science of foreshortening, with all Michael
Angelo’s daring, but with none of his genius. Most of his works are on
the mainland, but one characteristic altar-piece, No. 316, and three
other paintings are in the Accademia in Venice. In the cloister at S.
Stefano are some frescoes (in which medium he excelled), now almost
ruined, and a St Sebastian, better preserved, in the church of S. Rocco,
where also is a fine painting of St Christopher and St Martin. Another
good work is the altar-piece--S. Rocco, St Sebastian and St
Catherine--in S. Giov. Elemosinario. His Entombment, in the Monte di
Pietà at Treviso, has been ascribed to Giorgione. He was working in
Venice in the early half of the sixteenth century, and died at Ferrara
in 1539.

The name of Bonifazio is associated with a remarkable revolution and
counter-revolution in the history of criticism. Vasari and the older
writers knew but one painter of that name, who was called by some
Bonifazio of Verona, by others, of Venice. In 1864 Bernasconi, by the
aid of documentary evidence, discovered two Bonafazios; and in 1877
Morelli,[76] by applying his famous method (the shape of the ears,
outline of the bodies and other similar criteria) evolved three, who
were distinguished as Bonifazio I., II., and III. With few exceptions
the whole of the works in European Galleries, including the Accademia of
Venice, formerly attributed to one Bonifazio, were then grouped under
these three heads, and re-catalogued.


Vasari’s accuracy has, however, been vindicated by the recent
publication[77] of Gustav Ludwig’s patient and conclusive researches,
which demonstrate (1) that Bonifazio Pasini of Verona (1489-1540), the
so-called Bonifazio I., could never have left Verona for any length of
time between 1515 and his death, and that nothing is now known of his
works: (2) that Bonifazio di Pitati of Verona (1487-1553), Morelli’s
Bonifazio II., came, a youth of eighteen, with his father, a soldier, to
settle in Venice in 1505; learned his craft at Palma Vecchio’s workshop;
married a basketmaker’s daughter; became one of the most famous painters
in Venice; in 1530 was commissioned to decorate the Palazzo de’
Camerlenghi (Treasury offices); and died, childless, in 1553, leaving
the work to be completed by Tintoretto, who for a period adopted
Bonifazio’s style: (3) that Bonifazio III. is a mere phantom of
Morelli’s imagination. Bonifazio, like all the successful painters of
the Renaissance, kept a large number of assistants and pupils to supply
the demands of his clients at home and abroad, himself executing the
more important parts of his productions, and supervising the work done
in his atelier. The paintings assigned to Bonifazio I., such as the Rich
Man’s Feast, number 291 in the Accademia, and the Virgin and Child with
SS. Omobono and Barbara in the Palazzo Reale, are those executed by
Bonifazio di Pitati’s own hand in the days before prosperity had
rendered personal execution of the whole of his work impossible. The
paintings attributed to Bonifazio II., such as the Woman Taken in
Adultery, No. 278 in the Accademia, the Massacre of the Innocents, and
the Fall, in the Palazzo Reale, works which betray a falling off in
vigour and firmness of drawing while retaining the old brilliancy of
colour, are those which were partly executed by his assistants. The
paintings allotted to Bonifazio III., feeble work, such as the Last
Supper in S. Maria Mater Domini, and most of the panels with figures of
two or more saints, of which the Accademia possesses so many examples,
were painted wholly by assistants during Bonifazio’s lifetime, or after
his death. Nearly the whole of those in the Accademia formerly
attributed to Bonifazio III., many of which have been post-dated owing
to a vicious theory of interpretation, were side panels painted for more
important central compositions in the Treasury Offices. The 1903
(Italian) edition of the official catalogue adopts Ludwig’s conclusions.

Bonifazio, who always signs himself “da Verona,” is an eminently
naturalistic painter. With perfect art he portrays for us the sensuous
magnificence of the Venetian patrician’s life: his luxurious home; his
well-nurtured body; his powerful, sagacious intellect; his love of the
country; his gorgeous costume; his pet animals; his ideal of female

A talented pupil of Titian who came under Michael Angelo’s influence was
Paris Bordone (1495-1571). He has the distinction of producing the
finest of Venetian ceremonial paintings, No. 320 in the Accademia. No
picture will evoke in the beholder a deeper sentiment of the peculiar
charm of Venice. The magnificent architecture; the dignified Fathers of
the State in their rich costumes; the romantic legend it illustrates;
the warm, golden, sunny atmosphere in which the whole composition is
bathed, make this the most essentially Venetian picture in the world.
The Accademia has other works by this artist--the Paradise, No. 322, a
poor canvas, and a small panel, No. 311.

Two great artists preserved the power and grandeur of the Venetian
school during a time when elsewhere in Italy painting had sunk to
nerveless mannerism and mawkish sentimentality.

[Illustration: _Alinari, Florence_



Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti), 1518-94, a pupil of Bonifazio, and much
influenced by Titian and Michel Angelo, is a painter who may only be
studied at Venice. A fine example of his early work painted under
Titian’s influence, is the Adam and Eve, No. 43 in the Accademia. In
1552 he painted two panels for the Palazzo Camerlenghi, in continuation
of Bonifazio’s work, now in the Anti-Chiesetta of the Ducal Palace; and,
a year later, the dramatic Miracle of St Mark, Accademia No. 42. This
central work admirably displays the qualities of his genius. The
composition is grandly conceived; the drawing stupendously clever and
virile. But the craftsmanship is too insistent. The artist aims at
displaying his triumph over difficult but non-essential problems of
foreshortening and perspective. The whole scene is characterised by that
“bustle and tumult” which Reynolds complains of in his criticism of
Tintoretto’s work. Other paintings that may be noted are the Marriage of
Cana in the sacristy of the Salute; two large and confused canvases, the
Last Judgment and the Golden Calf, in the choir of the Madonna dell’
Orto; the charming Ariadne and Bacchus, with its companion pictures, and
the colossal Paradise in the Ducal Palace. His last work, S. Marziale,
is in the church of that name. Admirers of Tintoretto may sate
themselves at Venice. The Accademia and the Ducal Palace are rich in his
works. The Scuola of S. Rocco alone is a veritable Tintoretto museum.
The sixty-two compositions there, exhibit the painter’s characteristics
fully developed, his weakness as well as his strength. Never had sacred
history been treated with such uncompromising realism. No one can
contemplate these tremendous scenes without being impressed by the power
of the genius that conceived them; none can turn away without a feeling
of regret that so greatly endowed an artist should, in his later career
at least, have been wanting in reverence and in the _incredibile
diligenza_, which Vasari noted in all Titian’s work. He was a
passionate, impatient worker, too often unconscionably superficial. His
bold, vigorous, rapid execution is such that the practice of painting in
his hands seems to partake of the nature of physical exercise. When
Goethe was frequenting the official picture-restorers at S. Zanipolo in
1790, it was discovered that Tintoretto had been in the habit of leaving
spaces for the more important heads in the large compositions executed
_in situ_ (probably by pupils), which he would paint at home and stick
on the canvas afterwards. How _presto e resoluto_ he was may be learned
from the story told by Vasari of the march he stole upon his competitors
for the decoration of a room in the Scuola di San Rocco. He had already
painted his masterpiece, the Crucifixion, for the Sala dell’ Albergo,
and the guild determined to decorate the hall with something _magnifica
ed onorata_. Salviati, Zucchero, Veronese and himself were selected to
send in designs. While his rivals were diligently at work, Tintoretto
had taken the measurement of the space to be filled, painted his canvas
with incredible rapidity and secretly fixed it in its place in the hall.
When the masters of the guild met to examine the designs they found his
work already finished. To their angry remonstrances the artist coolly
replied that that was his way of competing, and if they did not care to
pay him he would make them a present of the painting. Even in 1790 much
of Tintoretto’s work had become dull, almost leaden in colour, due,
Goethe thought, to the artist’s habit of painting _alla prima_ without
ground colours, or simply on red paint. Tintoretto left many followers,
who neither sounding the depths of his knowledge nor possessing the
magnanimity of his style, imitated him in his “splendid negligence” and
contributed to the final decadence of painting.



His younger contemporary Veronese (Paolo Caliari), 1530-88, reverts to
and develops to an even higher degree the warmer and more brilliant
colour of the school. He is the unsurpassed interpreter of the festal
pomp of Venetian society. Without possessing the elemental force of
Tintoretto he is a more careful artist. How nobly and gently he could
conceive, may be seen in the decoration of the church of S.
Sebastiano, painted 1555-65, and in the marriage of St Catherine at the
church of that name, his most tender and beautiful work. Of his
well-known banquet compositions, the Accademia possesses the finest
specimen, the Supper at the House of Levi, No. 203. In this magnificent
painting, with its marvellous drawing and spacious architecture, the
artist revels in his power of expressing the joy of man in the
satisfaction of material existence. This glorification of the pomps and
vanities of the world, painted for the refectory of the Dominican friars
at S. Zanipolo, did, however, shock the Church, and the head of the Holy
Office called on the Prior and severely criticised the picture. On the
8th of July 1573, Master Paolo Caliari was cited before the tribunal of
the Inquisition. Being asked his profession, he answered, “I invent and
draw figures.” The inquisitor objected to the absence of Mary Magdalene
and ordered that she should be substituted for the dog in the
foreground; to St Peter carving a lamb; to a fellow dressed like a
buffoon, with a parrot on his wrist; to another using his fork as a
toothpick, and other indecencies. The artist defended himself stoutly
and was ordered to reform his picture within three months. Veronese
substituted the name of Levi for that of Simon and altered no more.
Veronese was a noted house decorator of his time. None of his work
survives at Venice, but visitors to Castelfranco may by a short detour
see in the Villa Giacomelli, near Maser, some of the artist’s best
fresco work on the walls of a characteristic Palladian country-house.

With the works of the Bassani we reach the beginnings of modern
painting. They are moderns not only in their dominant love of landscape,
but in their touching affection for lowly peasant life and for the
flocks and herds of their native hills. The family consisted of Jacopo
da Ponte (1510-92), the father, and his sons Francesco (1549-92) and
Leandro (1558-1623). The Accademia has good examples of their work, but
to appreciate fully these homely and sympathetic artists one must travel
to their native city Bassano, in the beautiful hill country north of

Palma Giovane, 1544-1628, son of Antonio Negretti and of Bonifazio’s
niece Giulia, is the last in whom the great traditions faintly survive.
Besides his pictures in the Accademia some of the best of his work may
be seen in the Oratorio dei Crocifissi. The school is now decadent; its
productions feeble and mannered.

Giov. Battisto Tiepolo, 1696-1770, was a famous painter of his time: in
the eyes of his contemporaries the equal of Veronese. He was a fine
colourist, a bold and skilful draughtsman, with a broad and facile
style, an excellent interpreter of the decadent splendour of Venetian
life. He was in much demand as a decorator of palaces and churches. His
best work may be seen in the frescoes executed for the Palazzo Labia.
Among other churches, the Scalzi and the Gesuati have examples of his
work in ceiling decoration, and there is a good altar-piece by his hand,
St Lucy, in the SS. Apostoli.

Pietro Longhi, 1702-85, is a painter of scenes of intimate Venetian life
in the eighteenth century with its trivial artificiality and social
inanities. He has been aptly called the Goldoni of Venetian painters. Of
Antonio da Canale (Canaletto), 1697-1768, and Francesco Guardi, 1712-93,
Venice has few and poor examples. They were patient, excellent craftsmen
but without inspiration, who have faithfully transmitted to us the
Venice of their day.

       *       *       *       *       *

Most ancient and important was the art of the glass-worker, peculiarly
favoured by the abundance of fine sand and of a marine flora rich in
alkaline products. In the thirteenth century so great was the expansion
of the industry that it was deemed prudent to transfer the many furnaces
working night and day from Rialto to Murano. It was a jealously guarded
monopoly. In 1459 the Ten took over the control of the art and forbade
under severe penalties (in some cases death) the emigration of workmen
or the divulging of the secrets of the craft to foreigners. The
craftsmen had their own _libro d’Oro_ and ranked with patricians. Some
beautiful examples of the masters, whom the genius of Marion
Crawford[78] has invested with such dramatic interest, Zorzi il Ballarin
and the Berovieri, may be seen at the Murano Museum, and an exquisite
blue nuptial goblet in Room XII. at the Correr Museum in Venice.
Wondrous stories are told of the subtle art of the craftsmen who were
famed to make goblets so sensitive that they would betray by fracture
the presence of poison.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Venetians were great bibliophiles and readers. Soon after the
discovery of the art of printing, Venice became its most important
centre in Italy. By the end of the fifteenth century more books had been
published in Venice than in Rome, Milan, Florence and Naples put
together. In 1469 the Senate authorised John of Spires to print books
for a period of five years. In 1470 Nicolo Jansen was issuing the Latin
classics; in 1471 he published an Italian translation of the whole
Bible, and in 1476 an edition of Pliny in the vulgar tongue. In 1490 the
great humanist, Teobaldo Pio Manuccio of Rome (Aldus Manutius, or, as he
wrote himself, Aldus Romanus), chose Venice as the most appropriate city
for the achievement of his stupendous design of editing and printing the
whole of the Greek classics. He gathered round him the greatest scholars
of the age. Cretan Greeks were employed as designers of his types and
compositors. Latin and Italian classics were printed in the type first
used in the Virgil of 1501 and known as italics or _aldino_. It is said
to have been modelled on Petrarch’s handwriting and executed by Francia.
Erasmus acted for a short time as editor and reader, and the great Dutch
humanist had his translations of Euripides and his _Adagia_ printed
there. Erasmus and Aldus were good friends and would have been better
if the fare provided at dinner had been less Lenten. The scholar’s heart
to-day warms to Aldus, whose steady, glowing enthusiasm carried him
through his great task amid all the stress of the wars of the League of
Cambrai. He founded at his house the famous _Accademia di Aldo_, where a
symposium of humanists met for the study and emendation of the Greek
classics. The rules were drawn up and the discussions conducted in
Greek. Before Aldus died, in 1515, he had published twenty-eight
_editiones principes_ of the Greek masterpieces. He was the first of
modern publishers, the first to break down the monopoly of the rich in
books. His charming little octavo volumes with their familiar device of
the anchor and the dolphin, so precious to the modern bibliophile, were
sold at prices averaging about two shillings of our money. They were
well read, for of the 24,000 copies printed of Erasmus’ “Praise of
Folly,” only one copy has survived, and that in an imperfect state. He
died a poor man and his kinsmen and descendants carried on the good work
for a century.

If we turn from printing to literature we are met by a remarkable and
impressive fact. Alone among the nations of Europe, Venice has given
birth to no great literature. Save her crumbling architecture all that
she conceived of the beautiful is expressed in painting. It is a great
inheritance and immortalises a people of merchant princes, proud,
sensuous, resourceful, with a firm grip of the realities of life, deeply
religious in its own way, but without the spiritual idealism of the
Tuscan. Through the millennial tale of her existence as a State, no
great poet, no great thinker, no great dramatist meets us; none save a
fluent and graceful writer of comedies of the Decadence, who was
descended from a Modenese, and whose best work was written in a foreign
tongue for a foreign capital.[79]

[Illustration: A VENETIAN WOMAN.]

[Illustration: Map of Venice.]


    “They might chirp and chaffer, come and go
       For pleasure or profit, her men alive--
     My business is hardly with them I trow,
       But with the empty cells of the human hive;
   --With the chapter-room, the cloister-porch,
       The church’s apsis, aisle or nave,
     Its crypt, one fingers along with a torch,
       Its face set full for the sun to shave.”



_Arrival--The Piazza_

That traveller will best attune himself to the peculiar charm of Venice,
who arrives after sunset, when evening has veiled the somewhat unlovely
approach to the city by railway. For the great lagoon State ever set her
face to the sea and adorned herself to welcome her guests as they were
rowed from Fusina, or as they sailed up from the Adriatic, to land at
the Molo, the chief landing-stage by the Piazzetta. The modern visitor
arriving by train is like one who should enter a stately mansion by the
stables. Once, however, in his gondola, the “black Triton” of the
lagoons, gliding along the waterways to the strangers’ quarter by lines
of houses and palaces, whose walls, timeworn or neglected, sometimes
degraded, will be mellowed under the dim light of the infrequent lamps,
he will be caught by the spell which Venice casts over those who come to

But there are two Venices: the Venice of the canals and the Venice of
the streets. The traveller will do well therefore to go on foot to some
of the sights he would see, for by no other means can he do justice to
the varied beauty of the streets, the quaint fragmentary remains of
ancient architecture, the brilliant patches of colour, the little
shrines, and all the countless details that go to make the by-ways of
the city so full of surprise and pleasure to the pedestrian. The
difficulty of finding one’s way from point to point has been greatly
exaggerated. Anyone with a map and a normal sense of direction can with
a little patience reach his destination. The churches are usually
situated on or near a _campo_; a stream of people will generally be
found passing along the streets and over the bridges between the
_campi_, and a well-worn track marks the more frequented ways. If he
should find himself blocked by a canal or a blind alley, a short
deviation to the right or left will generally lead to one of the 380
bridges by which, to use Evelyn’s picturesque phrase, the city is tacked
together. Even if hopelessly lost, a _soldino_ given to a boy will soon
bring him to where he would go.

The waterways, 150 in all, are divided into _canali_ and _rii_. The
_canale_ is the broader, the _rio_ the narrower stream. The _rii_ are by
far the greater in number. But the pedestrian is more concerned with
street nomenclature. A _fondamenta_ is a way alongside a _canale_ or
_rio_; a _calle_ is a street with houses on either side; _ruga_ or
_rughetta_ (French _rue_, _ruelle_) was first applied to streets with a
few new houses here and there; the appellation was retained in later
times when the houses or shops became continuous; a _salizzada_ is one
of the earliest of the paved streets, generally near a church; a _rio
terra_, a _rio_ filled up and paved; a _piscina_, a fish-pond treated in
the same way; a _ponte_, a bridge; a _campo_, a paved, open place,
formerly a field; a _campiello_, a smaller _campo_; a _corte_, a court.
Avoid a _vico cieco_, or a _viccolo cieco_, which have no thoroughfare.
The city is divided into six _sestieri_ or wards, subdivided into
_parocchie_ or parishes. The houses are numbered by _sestieri_, the
numbers reaching to thousands. The Merceria, a crowded thoroughfare,
leads from under the Clock Tower in St Mark’s Square, after many kinks
and turns, to the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, which is
spanned by two other bridges about equidistant from the Rialto bridge.
E. and W. of the Rialto, in addition to these bridges, numerous ferries
(_traghetti_) make either bank of the Grand Canal easy of access, and
small steamers (_vaporetti_) call at frequent piers the whole length of
the chief waterway. Travelling by gondola, therefore, is to be regarded
as a luxury rather than a necessity. The gondola bears the same relation
to Venetian life as does the cab or carriage to the dweller in an
ordinary town. The average tide is about twenty inches: on exceptional
occasions, the difference between high and low tides has been six feet.

[Illustration: La Piazzetta]

The Piazza of S. Marco offers to the traveller a scene of unparalleled
interest. Eastwards it is adorned by the most wonderful group of
Byzantine and Gothic architecture in Europe. To the N. is the rhythmic
symmetry of Pietro Lombardo’s Procuratie Vecchie, ending with the Clock
Tower[80]; to the S. are the Procuratie Nuove, Scamozzi’s tasteless
elaboration of Sansovino’s lovely design for the Libreria Vecchia on the
Piazzetta. Westward is the baser structure of Napoleonic times. Opposite
the Porta della Carta of the Ducal Palace stood for a thousand years the
old Campanile, like a giant sentinel set towards the lagoons to watch
over the city. On the morning of July 14th, 1902, to the stupefaction of
the Venetians, the huge tower, which in its massive strength seemed to
defy the tooth of time, gently collapsed, as though weary of its
millennial watch, crushing in its fall Sansovino’s beautiful Loggetta
and the N. side of the Libreria Vecchia, but miraculously doing no
further hurt. When the Venetians recovered from the shock and learned
how mercifully exempt from toll of human life the disaster had been, and
that St Mark’s and the Ducal Palace were unscathed, they remembered
their protector and said: _È stato galant’uomo S. Marco_ (St Mark has
been a good fellow). Ten months later, when the King and Queen of Italy,
during their visit to Venice, turned to look at the site of the old
tower, a lament was heard in the crowd of people: _I varda dove gera el
nostro pavaro morto_ (They are going where our poor dead one lies). The
foundations laid a thousand years before, were found to be as sound as
ever, and a new Campanile has now been raised to replace, though it
cannot restore, the old one, which, with all its dramatic history and
romantic associations, has disappeared for ever.

It is not by accident that the chief buildings of Venice stand where
they do, for this part of the Rialtine islands, called _il Morso_,
offered a soil harder[81] and more tenacious than any other. In early
ages the Piazza was a grass-grown field, called the Broglio or Garden,
scarce a third of its present area, and a large elder tree flourished on
the site of the Campanile. It was bounded on the W. by a rio which ran
from N. to S. a few yards beyond the Campanile and discharged into the
Grand Canal to the W. of the present Zecca (mint). On the W. bank of the
rio, facing the basilica of St Mark, stood the old church of S.
Giminiano. In 1176 Doge Ziani filled up the rio, razed the
fortifications and extended and paved the Piazza, to its present
boundary westward. The church of S. Giminiano was rebuilt at the W. end.
It was again rebuilt by Sansovino in 1556 and finally demolished by
Napoleon I. to extend the Royal Palace. Houses on the S. abutted on the
Campanile. The Piazza was enclosed by stately mansions with columns and
arcades on the first floor, “where one walked round as in a
theatre.”[82] When Scamozzi built the Procuratie Nuove in 1584, the
houses on the S. were demolished and the Piazza set back to its present
line. If we would restore its aspect in the fulness of Venetian
prosperity, we must imagine a scene brilliant with colour. The
archivolts, capitals, friezes and sculptures generally of St Mark’s and
the Ducal Palace were richly decorated with gold and vermilion and blue.
The Porta della Carta glowed so with gold that it was known as the
_Porta dorata_ (the gilded portal). The bronze horses were gilded; so
was St Mark’s Lion and St Theodore in the Piazzetta. From Leopardi’s
beautiful bronze sockets three tall masts upheld the standards
symbolising dominion over Greece, Cyprus and Crete.

A throng of merchants and strangers from all the corners of the earth,
an ever-changing pageant of quaint and gorgeous costumes, passed and
repassed. So many strange tongues would you hear, says an old
writer,[83] that the Piazza might not inaptly be called the _forum orbis
non urbis_--not the market-place of a city but of the world. Strange
tongues are still heard in the Piazza, but of those who come for the
pleasure, not for the business of the world: the heart of commerce no
longer beats at Venice. The Piazza is, however, a scene of much
animation on public holidays when the band is playing. We will sit
outside Florian’s coffee-house, as a good Venetian should, and observe
the women of the people passing, with their graceful carriage and simple
costume, their wealth of hair so charmingly treated; the gondolier,
lithe of body and superb in gait; the _signore_ and _signorine_ with
their more modern finery; the fashionable youth, dressed, as he fondly
imagines, _all’ inglese_; rich and poor, _borghese_ and _popolano_,
bearing themselves with that ease of manner, vivacity of spirit and
social equality so characteristic of the Venetians. In the height of
summer, when the rich merchants of Milan and other cities of North Italy
with their women folk come to Venice for the Italian season, the Piazza
after dinner and far into the night becomes one vast open-air salon,
crowded with visitors in the most _chic_ of costumes, many of the ladies
promenading in evening dress. As one sits in the Piazza at setting sun,
the atmosphere, exquisitely delicate and clear, changes from pale blue
to amethyst, pink, turquoise, dark blue and indigo; and the night is
lovelier than the day.


_The Basilica of St Mark_

Few things in the history of art are more remarkable than the revulsion
of taste that has taken place with regard to the architecture of Venice.
In the early part of the nineteenth century, before Ruskin wrote “The
Stones of Venice,” an English architect,[84] giving expression to the
professional judgment of the age, speaks of “the lumpy form of the
Cathedral which surprises you by the extreme ugliness of its exterior;
of the lower part built in the degraded Roman we call Norman; of the
gouty columns and ill-made capitals, all in bad taste.” “The Ducal
Palace is even more ugly than anything previously mentioned,” vastly
inferior to Palladio’s churches of S. Giorgio and the Redentore.
Disraeli echoes in “Contarini Fleming” the conventional lay praise of
Palladio, and writes of the “barbarous although picturesque buildings
called the Ducal Palace.” Even to-day the stranger fresh from the North
with memories of the massive towers and lofty spires of his own
architecture will hardly escape a sense of disappointment as he stands
before St Mark’s. The fabric will seem to lack majesty and to be even
less imposing than the Ducal Palace. It must, however, be remembered
that the raising of the level of the Piazza has somewhat detracted from
the elevation of both the basilica and the Palace. Fynes Moryson notes
in his Itinerary (1617) that “there were stairs of old to mount out of
the market-place into the church till the waters of the channel
increasing they were forced to raise the height of the market-place.”

[Illustration: A GONDOLIER.]

Whether there were any such intention in the minds of the builders is
doubtful, but in all communities where the sense of municipal liberty or
of secular independence is strong, the dominant civic power is
actualised in architecture. In Flemish towns the Hôtel de Ville and not
the cathedral is often the more important structure; even so in Venice
the subordinate position of the church is marked by the accessory
character of the ecclesiastical building, which in its origin indeed was
but the official chapel of the Doge, and only became the Cathedral in
1807, when Napoleon transferred the patriarchate from S. Pietro in
Castello--itself a poor thing architecturally--to St Mark’s.

Joseph Woods gave a shrewd criticism of Venetian architecture when he
characterised it as showing riches and power rather than just
proportions. St Mark’s was erected by a merchant folk, with all the
merchant’s love of display of wealth. Their taste was for costly
material rather than for nobility and grandeur of design. For centuries
the East was ransacked for precious stones to adorn the sanctuary of
their patron saint, and the captain of every ship that traded in the
Levant was ordered to bring home marbles or fine stones for the
builders. St Mark’s is a jewelled casket wrought to preserve the
Palladium of the Venetian people.

[Illustration: S. MARCO--MAIN PORTAL]

The fabric dates from the early eleventh to the late fourteenth
centuries. Its core is of brick, of which most Venetian churches are
built, and it is veneered with marble[85] and decorated with mosaic and
sculpture. When the eye turns from the whole to examine details, the
façade is seen to be composed of two tiers of arches--the lower of
seven, the upper of five spans. Of the seven, two form the N. and S.
porticos; five the western doors, whose recesses are enriched with rows
of columns wanting in unity of design, but of exceeding richness and
variety of material. They are mainly the spoils of Eastern churches,
and, if closely scrutinised, will be found to be incised with Eastern
crosses and curious inscriptions in Greek and oriental characters. The
capitals flanking the main portal, with carving of leaves blown by the
wind, are probably from the East, their prototype being at the Church of
St Sophia in Thessalonica, built in the later years of Justinian’s
reign. The main portal is spanned by an inner triple archivolt and an
outer main one. The under side of the inner arc of the former, over the
relief of St Mark and the Angel, is wrought with sculptures, whose
subjects are symbolical, and will be met with again and again in early
Venetian decoration: a naked man and woman seated on dragons; a child in
the open jaws of a lion; an eagle pecking at a lamb; a lion devouring a
stag; camels and other animals, wild and tame, in various groups. On the
outer face are similar carvings of boys fighting and robbing birds’
nests; men shooting birds with bows and arrows, and hunting wild beasts.
The work is exceedingly quaint, and affords a fruitful theme for


The sculptures on the under side of the outer arc symbolise the months
of the year, with their appropriate celestial signs. May, a seated
figure holding a rose and crowned with flowers by two maidens, is most
beautiful and original in treatment.

On the outer face of the archivolt are represented the Beatitudes and
the Virtues, eight on either side of the keystone, which symbolises

On the under surface of the main archivolt are fourteen most beautiful
carvings, representing the chief guilds and crafts of Venice. To the
L.,[86] at the bottom, is a seated figure with finger on lip, said by
Ruskin to represent the rest of old age; by tradition it is the portrait
of the architect of the building, of whom the following story is told.
When Doge Pietro Orseolo determined to restore the church after the fire
of 976, a queer, unknown man, lame in both legs, offered to make St
Mark’s the most beautiful structure ever erected, if, on completion, his
statue were placed in a conspicuous part of the building. His terms were
accepted, but after the work had progressed some time, the stranger
incautiously let fall a remark to the effect that the church would have
been much more magnificent if certain difficulties had not intervened.
Word was sent to the Doge, and the statue was set in its present obscure


On either side of the main portal are two doorways, spanned by richly
decorated Byzantine arches; that to the L., has the figure of Christ in
the keystone and two prophets with scrolls in the spandrils; that to the
R. has the keystone defaced; in the spandrils to the R. and L. are the
archangels Michael and Gabriel. The lateral doorway to the L. has in the
lunette a winged figure on horseback and symbols of the Evangelists; on
the lintel are some fine Gothic reliefs. The pierced screen-work in the
lunette windows should be noted, for in olden times the whole of the
window spaces in the domes were thus treated. The corresponding doorway
to the R. has in the spandrils, carvings of two archangels, and on the
keystone the Virgin and Child.

The beautiful lily capitals are at either end of the façade, and support
the arches that span the N. and S. porticos.

The late fifteenth-century Gothic additions consist of pinnacles and
gables of no structural value. They are seen in Gentile Bellini’s
picture,[87] dated 1496, of the Procession in St Mark’s Square, but are
absent in the extant thirteenth-century mosaic on the façade.

The mosaics in the lunettes of the five doorways are, with one
exception, poor in craftsmanship, but interesting in their storiation.
That of the central portal is a feeble representation of the Last
Judgment. Salandri, who executed it in 1836-38, had already been mulcted
for bad workmanship. The remaining four tell of the discovery and
translation of the body of St Mark. In the fifth porch, to the N., the
body of the saint being carried into St Mark’s, though largely renewed,
is a precious relic of the beautiful thirteenth-century mosaics that
covered the front in Gentile Bellini’s time, as may be seen from the
picture already referred to. The four mosaics in the lunettes on either
side of the great window above, represent the Deposition from the Cross,
the Descent into Hades, the Resurrection, the Ascension--all
seventeenth-century work. Beneath the great window stand the four bronze
horses, part of the spoils sent from Constantinople by Enrico Dandolo in
1204. They are said to be Greek work of the fourth century B.C., and to
have been sent from Rome to the new capital of the Empire by
Constantine. They remained in their present position until 1797, when
the “gran ladrone,” Napoleon I., sent them to Paris to adorn the Arc du
Carrousel. In 1815 they were restored to Venice by Francis I. of
Austria, as the Latin inscription under the archivolt beneath tells. A
magnificent festa was organised when they were raised to their old
position in the presence of the Austrian. The Piazza was bright with
gorgeous decorations; a superb loggia erected for the Imperial family;
an amphitheatre for the Venetian nobility. Nothing was wanting--but an
audience. The amphitheatre was empty; a few loungers idled about the
square. Cannons were fired; the bells rang a double peal; the music
played; the horses were drawn up--but not a cheer followed them. The
Emperor and his suite had the show to themselves.

[Illustration: N.E.


In the lunette of the N. portal, which gives on the Piazzetta dei Leoni,
with its two double cusped inner arches, is an early relief of the
Nativity, a work of great beauty, framed by the vine decoration so
beloved of the early sculptors. Among the many Byzantine reliefs with
which this façade is jewelled the most perfect is that of the Twelve
Apostles, symbolised as sheep, with the Lamb enthroned in the centre
and palm trees on either side. This exquisite carving will be found in
the last recess R. of the doorway.


The S. façade, looking as it does towards the Molo, would in olden times
arrest the eye of the traveller as he entered the city. It is most
lavishly decorated. The reliefs and marble facings towards the Porta
della Carta are some of the finest that remain of the ancient basilica.
Their lowly position seems to have preserved them from the restorer’s
hand. At the angle is a rude Greek relief in porphyry, probably from
Acre, of two pairs of armed figures clasping each other. They are said
to represent Greek emperors who shared the throne of the East early in
the eleventh century. In the foreground stand the two beautifully
decorated marble door-posts brought from St Sabbas in Acre. They
should, however, change places to occupy the relative position they
formerly held in the church. Below the mosaic of the Virgin and Child in
the smaller arch above the gallery two lamps burn nightly in perpetual
memory of an act of injustice perpetrated by the Ten in 1611, when an
innocent man, Giovanni Grassi, was executed. The short porphyry column
at the S.W. corner is the old edict stone where the official notices and
laws of the Republic were proclaimed to the people.

[Illustration: CAPITALS, ATRIUM, S. MARCO]

At our feet, as we enter the atrium by the main portal are three slabs
of porphyry which mark the legendary, but not the actual, spot where the
reconciliation of the Pope and the Emperor Barbarossa took place. The
shafts and capitals of the columns in the atrium are among the richest
in the basilica. The mosaics, designed to instruct and prepare the
catechumen, illustrate Old Testament history, and for their simple
beauty will repay perusal.

[Illustration: I TRE PONTI.]

In the south cupola are three concentric zones of mosaics which
illustrate the six days of Creation, the Institution of the Sabbath, the
Fall and the Expulsion from Eden. The number of the day is indicated by
a corresponding number of angels standing beside the Creator with hands
uplifted in praise. At the institution of the Sabbath the Lord is seen
resting from His work with three angels on either side; the seventh
kneels receiving the Lord’s blessing.[88] There is a quaint portraiture
of the Lord clothing Adam and Eve,--Adam most uncomfortable, and Eve
looking reproachfully at the ill-fitting garment.

Five mosaics in the three lunettes under the cupola tell the story of
Cain and Abel, and under the vaultings between the first cupola and the
central vestibule is the story of Noah.

On the W. side of the next vaulting is the story of the Tower of Babel.
Below is the tomb of the Dogaressa Felicia, the young wife of Vitale
Falier, who, as the inscription tells, was a true servant of God and of
the poor, and who spurned luxury (_calcavit luxurium_).

The second cupola contains scenes from the life of Abraham. In the
lunette over St Peter, above the inner door, Abraham receives the three
angels and entertains them. Behind is Sarah at the door of her tent
laughing at the promise that she should bear a son. The third cupola
tells the story of Joseph, which is continued on the fourth and fifth
cupolas to the N. The sixth cupola deals with the story of Moses. In the
recess opposite the lunette to the R. once lay the remains[89] (whence
they were taken and brought to England) of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of

                “Who at Venice gave
    His body to that pleasant country’s earth,
    And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ,
    Under whose colours he had fought so long.”

   --RICHARD II., iv. I.

Returning to the main portal of the atrium--in the lunette is St Mark,
executed by the brothers Zuccati in 1545 from a cartoon by Titian. Below
in seven niches are the Virgin and Child and six Apostles; lower down on
either side of the portal, the four Evangelists. In the lunette, R.,
Raising of Lazarus; lunette over the outer portal, Crucifixion; lunette
L., Burial of the Virgin. These, which are among the finest mosaics of
the period, formed part of the work that the Zuccati had to answer for
in 1563. They were charged by the Bianchini and Bozza with having used
the methods of painting and not of true mosaic to produce certain
effects. The most famous tribunal ever brought together in the history
of art sat to try the case. It was composed of Titian, Paul Veronese,
Tintoretto, Jacopo da Pistoia and Schiavone. Although the Zuccati were
condemned to remove and replace at their own cost the work that had been
gone over with the brush, the honours of the trial rested with them,
Titian frankly eulogising their craftsmanship.

No sense of disappointment will be felt at the first view of the
interior. The symmetry of the architecture, the gorgeous mosaics, the
rich pavement, the precious marbles covering the walls, the manifold
variety of the columns, and (if the traveller have the fortune to be
present on Easter or St Mark’s Day) the dazzling brilliancy of the Pala
d’Oro glittering with jewels make a scene of oriental splendour not
easily forgotten. In earlier times, when the windows were filled with
pierced screen-work of marble, the church was much darker, for, says
Moryson, “the papist churches are commonly dark to cause a religious
horror.” Evelyn in 1645 found the interior dark and dismal.

Merely to name the subjects of the 40,000 square feet of mosaics in the
interior would weary the reader. We do but indicate the more important
and more interesting. The general scheme is designed to illustrate the
mysteries of the Christian faith and the story of the patron saint. Over
the main entrance is the oldest of the mosaics, probably an
eleventh-century work--Christ enthroned between the Virgin and St Mark.
In the book held by the Redeemer are the words in Latin, “I am the Door;
if any man enter by Me he shall be saved and find pasture.” A similar
inscription exists to this day over the Porta Basilica which opens into
the nave of St Sophia at Constantinople. In the half dome of the apse
the colossal seated figure of Christ in the act of blessing meets the
eye of the worshipper as he enters the church and walks towards the
sanctuary, even as it did in the apse at St Sophia.[90] In the centre of
the dome over the high altar is again the figure of Christ, and, above
the windows, the Virgin, and the prophets who foretold Christ’s coming,
bearing scrolls inscribed with their testimony. The pendentives bear
symbolic figures of the Four Evangelists, that of the Lion of St Mark
with a strangely human face, being designed with admirable force and
dignity. Scenes in the life of Christ are portrayed on the vault between
this and the central dome; the Passion and Resurrection on the vault
between the central and western domes. The great central dome is treated
with profound thought and fertile invention, and executed with infinite
care. In the apex is the glorified Christ seated on a double rainbow,
surrounded by exulting angels. Below are the Virgin, the Apostles and
the Evangelists alternating with olive and palm trees. The beautiful
figure of the Virgin stands between two angels. In the spaces between
the windows are the Virtues and the Beatitudes. They may easily be
distinguished by their inscriptions and symbols.

The W. dome treats of the Descent of the Holy Ghost. A white dove
standing on a book placed on a throne fills the centre, and from this
emblem of the Holy Spirit twelve streams of fire descend upon the
figures of the Twelve Apostles circling the dome. The men of every
nation to whom they spoke, each in his own tongue, are figured at the
Apostles’ feet between the windows.

In the dome of the N. transept is figured a Greek cross, in the centre
of which are eight Greek letters set in a circle, whose meaning is
doubtful. Near this centre, N. and S., is an alpha; E. and W., an omega.
On the arms of the cross the Golden Rule is expressed in a curious
rhyming Latin paraphrase, beginning on the E. and continuing on the W.,
N. and S. arms.

The dome of the S. transept bears figures of SS. Leonard, Nicholas,
Clement and Blaise. In the pendentives SS. Erasmus, Euphemia, Dorothy
and Thecla. While Vicenzo Sebastiani was finishing this last, he fell
from the scaffolding and was killed. On the vaultings of the transepts
are represented the parables and miracles of Christ. The vaulting to the
E., between the S. and the centre domes, has delightfully naive and
dramatic representations of the Temptation and the Entry into Jerusalem.
On the western side are beautiful representations of the Last Supper and
the Washing of the Disciples’ Feet. On the vaultings and the walls of
the aisles are stories of the martyrdom of the Apostles.

Modern mosaics illustrating the Book of Revelation, the Last Judgment,
Hell and Paradise, cover the vaultings beyond the W. dome and over the
W. gallery. They and many other of the mosaics are best seen from the

On the lower walls of the aisles are repeated the figures of prophets
that foretold the coming of Christ bearing the usual scrolls. To the N.
are Hosea, Joel, Micah and Jeremiah, with a beautiful representation of
the youthful Christ in the centre. S. are Isaiah, David, Solomon and
Ezekiel, with the Virgin answering to the figure of Christ.

The story of the patron saint begins on the vaulting of the N. organ
loft over the choir, where scenes in his life and martyrdom are
portrayed. They are, however, partly concealed by the organ. These,
perhaps the oldest mosaics in the church, were largely restored in 1879
by the Venezia-Murano Company. Opposite, to the S., on the vaulting, is
most quaintly told how the body of the saint came to Venice. The
designers are very frank in their story of the Translation of the body.
_Furenter_, “it is stolen” from Alexandria.

On the W. wall of the S. transept opposite the Chapel of the Holy Blood
is told the story of the miraculous rediscovery of the body in 1094: The
Doge, clergy and people, with solemn fast and prayer, implore divine
aid, and a round column in the church opens and discloses the saint’s
body. Tradition, however, says that the body was found in the large pier
called St Mark’s pillar, to the left of the Chapel of the Holy Blood. An
angel’s head in full relief is carved above the spot, and a lamp burns
below an inlaid cross. The line of cleavage is still seen. Tradition,
however, would seem to be at fault in this matter, for when the pillar
was recently stripped of the marble facing, the solid core had clearly
never been disturbed.

The Baptistery and the Zeno Chapel, entered from the right aisle,
originally formed part of the atrium. The mosaics in the Baptistery were
executed by the order of Doge Andrea Dandolo (1343-54), but have been
partly restored[91] by the Venezia-Murano Company. In the lunette above
the altar is the Crucifixion. Weeping angels hover over the cross; L.,
are the Virgin and St Mark; R., St John the Evangelist and St John the
Baptist. At the foot of the cross kneels Doge Andrea Dandolo; at the
extreme ends kneel his Grand Chancellor, Riafano Caresini, and a
Senator. The table of the altar is formed of a massive block of Egyptian
granite from which Christ is said to have preached, brought from the
siege of Tyre in 1126. In the centre of the cupola above is Christ
enthroned; below is a ten-winged angel bearing on his breast the
inscription--“Fulness of Wisdom.” This is the first of the nine
Intelligences circling the cupola, which in mediæval cosmogony ruled
over the nine heavenly spheres.

The story of the Baptist’s life is told in the lunettes and on the
walls. The mosaic of the Burial of the Saint’s Body is said by Ruskin to
be the most beautiful design of the Baptist’s death that he knew in

In the centre of the cupola over the font is a figure of Christ seated
on a double rainbow and holding a scroll on which is inscribed the
injunction to the Twelve to go and preach the gospel to all creatures.
Beneath, each is seen obeying the command in that country where
tradition places his martyrdom. Quaint local costumes are introduced,
and converts are being baptised.

Opposite the entrance is the tomb of Andrea Dandolo, the last Doge
buried in St Mark’s. On the workmanship of this beautiful example of
fourteenth-century monumental art Ruskin has lavished ecstatic praise.
Beneath the noble, peaceful figure of the Doge are the Virgin and Child,
two scenes from the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist and of Andrew, the
Doge’s patron saint, and an Annunciation. The long Latin epitaph has
been attributed to Petrarch.

The vault of the vestibule of the Cappella Zen is decorated with scenes
from the life of Christ before His baptism. The tomb in the recess is
that of Doge Giovanni Soranzo (1328). The Cappella Zen contains the
monument of Cardinal Zeno, executed at the beginning of the sixteenth
century. The altar is dedicated to the Virgin of the Slipper, whose
figure in bronze has a gilded shoe, in perpetual memory of the
miraculous alchemy by which her slipper, given to a poor votary, was
changed to gold. The Zeno tomb is a fine Renaissance work in bronze
which, together with the altar, was designed by the Lombardi and Aless.
Leopardi (p. 191). The walls of the chapel are decorated with the
history of St Mark.

[Illustration: S. GIORGIO MAGGIORE]

In the little chapel of the Madonna dei Mascoli at the W. angle of the
N. transept, where of old a guild of men used to assemble, are some fine
fifteenth-century mosaics by Michele Giambono. They are unhappily
injured by restoration, but in the main the early Renaissance feeling
has been preserved and the more natural modelling of the figures and
fuller architectural detail form a pleasing contrast to the stiff and
sometimes hard design of the Byzantine workmen.

East of this is the richly decorated chapel of St Isidore founded by the
same Doge and scholar who decorated the Baptistery. The work was not,
however, completed until 1355 under Dom. Gradenigo. The inscription over
the altar tells that the body of the Blessed Isidore was brought from
Chios in 1125 by Doge Dom. Michiel and now rests in the tomb below. The
sculptured figure of the saint and the reliefs to left and right
representing his martyrdom are fine work. The fourteenth-century mosaics
so faithfully wrought by the artists of that great epoch have needed but
slight repair and remain practically as they left them. Over the altar
is Christ seated between S. Mark and Isidore, and balancing this at the
opposite end are the Virgin and Child, the Baptist and St Nicholas. The
legend of the saint is illustrated on the walls. In this chapel we are
standing within part of the actual fabric of the old church of St
Theodore. When the S. wall of the chapel was peeled in 1832 it was found
to be blackened by exposure to the weather and pierced by a window with
an iron grille.

The group of worshippers ever before the altar to the left as the
visitor leaves this chapel will tell him that he is approaching the
shrine of the Virgin. Under a canopy is the miraculous Nicopeian icon of
the Virgin which was captured from Murzuphles and formed part of the
spoil of Constantinople. Doge Dandolo sent it to Venice in a specially
appointed ship, and in 1618 the present altar was raised by Doge Giov.
Bembo. The image (only exposed on Saturdays) was traditionally painted
by St Luke. It is lavishly decorated with precious stones and surrounded
by ex-votos.

Passing the altar of St Paul, bearing a statue of the saint and a fine
relief of the scene of his blindness, the chapel of St Peter is reached.
In front is a screen with statues of the Virgin and Child and four women
saints, the Massegne. In the apse of this chapel is the entrance to the
Sacristy, one of the most beautiful chambers in Europe. The magnificent
mosaic ceiling designed by Titian and wrought with perfect art; the rich
marble decorations; the symmetry and proportion of the architecture; the
chastened glow of colour will not fail to impress the spectator.

Beyond the altar of St Paul is the great N. pulpit. It is one of the
finest architectural features in the church and rich in historical
memories. Here Enrico Dandolo and other great Doges and prelates
addressed the people in national crises. Another pulpit smaller and
simpler in style stands to the S. of the choir screen, and an altar to
St James balances that to St Paul on the N. On the architrave of the
screen stand the crucifix, statues of the Virgin, St Mark and the Twelve
Apostles by the Massegne, signed and dated 1394-97. On either side of
the choir are three reliefs in bronze by Sansovino. The great
bronze-doors by the same master lead from the L. of the choir to the
Sacristy. The canopy of the high altar is borne by four marble columns
with reliefs (p. 187). The rude timeworn figures tell the story of the
life of the Virgin on the N.E. pillar and the life of Christ on the
remaining pillars, reading N.W., S.E. and S.W.

The gorgeous Pala d’Oro is exposed to view on Easter Eve and Day, and St
Mark’s Eve and Day. It may be seen on other days between twelve and two
on payment of 50 centesimi. This magnificent example of the goldsmith’s
art was made to the order of Ordelafo Falier by Byzantine craftsmen at
Constantinople in 1105. It was added to and restored by Gothic artists
under Pietro Ziani in 1209, and under Andrea Dandolo in 1345. The gold,
estimated to weigh thirty, the silver three hundred pounds, is set with
some 1200 pearls and a like number of precious stones. Most of the
jewels were, however, looted by the French in 1797 and are replaced by
inferior modern stones, which may be detected by the fact that they are
cut in facets. The upper compartment has in the centre St Michael
surrounded by sixteen medallions of the doctors of the Church. To the L.
are three panels: The Feast of Palms, Descent into Limbo, Crucifixion;
to the R., other three, the Ascension, Pentecost, Death of the Virgin.
The lower and larger compartment is framed on three sides by
twenty-seven small panels whose subjects are taken from the lives of St
Mark, Christ and the Virgin. In the middle is a large panel with the
figure of the seated Christ and four smaller figures of the Evangelists;
above are two archangels and two cherubim. On each side of the large
panel are two sets of six medallions, the upper and smaller of
archangels, the lower and larger of the Apostles. Beneath the figure of
Christ in the large panel are three plaques: the centre contains the
figure of the Virgin; L. of her is a crowned figure, which a Latin
inscription tells is that of Doge Ordelafo Falier; R. of the Virgin is a
crowned figure with a Greek inscription stating it to be the Empress
Irene. If, however, the observer will scrutinise the figure of the Doge
it will be seen that his head has been substituted for that of the
Empress’s consort, John Comnenus. On each side of these three central
figures are inscriptions which give the history of the Pala d’Oro and
six prophets bearing scrolls. The technique of the gold _cloisonné_
enamels is admirable. They are glorious in colour, partly translucent,
and allow the backing of fine gold to shine through.

Behind the high altar is the altar of the Holy Cross, adorned with six
columns of precious marble. The two spiral, semi-transparent ones were
reputed to come from Solomon’s Temple. The chapel to the S. of the high
altar is dedicated to St Clement. Beneath the cornice whence springs
the vaulting of the apse is a stern minatory inscription in Latin that
met the eye of the Doge, as he entered from the Ducal Palace through an
ante-room opening on this chapel. It is now but dimly seen, and runs
thus: _Love justice, give all men their rights: let the poor and the
widow, the ward and the orphan, O Doge, hope for a guardian in thee. Be
compassionate to all: let not fear nor hate nor love nor gold betray
thee. Thou shalt perish as a flower: dust shalt thou become, and, as thy
deeds have been, so after death thy reward shall be._

In the S. transept, answering to the Lady Chapel, is the chapel of the
Holy Blood, formerly dedicated to St Leonard.

The old and new crypts open to the public on St Mark’s Day, and at other
times on payment of 50 centesimi, are of great interest. In the centre
of the new crypt, that of Contarini’s church, is the empty tomb,
reaching to the roof, where lay St Mark’s body from 1094 until 1811,
when it was removed to the high altar where it now remains. Three steps,
topped by a slab of stone worn by pilgrims’ feet, lead to a
semi-circular cell with a small window once filled with pierced
stone-work. The ancient capitals of the columns of this crypt are of
great beauty. The older crypt with its rude brick vaulting that formed
part of the ninth-century basilica of Giov. Participazio, was drained
and cleared of rubbish, as the inscription tells, in 1890.

The chief object of interest in the Treasury, entered at the W. angle of
the S. transept, is the so-called chair of St Mark, wrought from a block
of Cipollino marble, said to have been sent to Aquileia from Alexandria
by the Empress Helena and to have been carried thence with the other
relics to Grado at the time of the Lombard invasion. Some beautiful
book-covers from St Sofia; a number of Byzantine chalices made of
precious stones; two fine candelabri attributed to Cellini; a ring used
at the Wedding of the Adriatic, are among the exhibits. The Treasury
was looted at the same time as the Pala d’Oro by the French. The room
itself, outside the fabric of the church, is of interest inasmuch as it
originally formed part of the tower of the old Ducal Palace. The body of
St Mark is said to have lain there from 829 until 832, when the church
was ready to receive it.

Before we quit the interior, the old rich mosaic pavement with its
quaint and beautiful Byzantine designs is worth notice. The uneven, wavy
form is due, not to any intent of imitating the waves of the sea, but to
the fact that the pavement is supported by the crypt and has settled
into hollows corresponding to the cells of the vaulting which, being
filled with loose material, are less rigid than the crown where no
settlement has taken place.


_The Ducal Palace_

To turn from the fair temple of the Christian faith in Venice, warm with
the affection and the presence of her people, to the empty splendour of
the Palace where her secular princes sat in state, is to turn from life
to death. If a patrician of the great days were to revive and enter St
Mark’s he would find the same hierarchy, the same ritual, the same
prayers and praise uttered in the same language to the God he knew. But
if he sought to enter the Ducal Palace, the servant of a then petty
dynasty would demand a silver coin before he were permitted to ascend
the Golden Staircase. There, on steps once trod by those alone whose
names were inscribed in the Book of Gold, he would meet a strange
company. He would find the great palace of Venice a museum; her
millennial power a memory; and the gorgeous halls that once echoed to
the voices of the masters of land and sea occupied by a crowd of
sightseers, alien in race and creed, gazing curiously at the faded
emblems and pictures which tell of her pride, her glory and her imperial

The earliest official residence of the Tribunes of Rivoalto was situated
by the church of the Holy Apostles near the Rio dei Gesuiti, whose
northern mouth is opposite the channel leading to Murano. The remains of
this fortified building, which was furnished with a great gate, always
kept closed, and a guarded postern, still existed towards the end of the
sixteenth century, and then served as a prison. In 820, Doge Angelo
Participazio built another feudal-like structure on the site of the
present Ducal Palace, near the church of St Theodore. Nothing could be
less like the _palazzo fabbricato in aria_ we know to-day. It and the
whole of the Piazza, then but a third of its present area, were enclosed
by a strong wall with Ghibelline battlements. One of the old towers is
incorporated in the masonry, at whose corner now stand the four figures
in porphyry referred to on p. 229.

Angelo’s structure was destroyed by fire during the riots which attended
the murder of Doge Pietro Candiano in 976. The rebuilding was undertaken
by his successor, Pietro Orseolo, and completed towards the end of the
eleventh century by Doge Selvo, who adorned the exterior with marble
columns and the interior with mosaics. Doge Sebastiano Ziani extended
the buildings in the late twelfth century. Early in the fourteenth, the
E. portion of the S. façade was begun under the direction it is believed
of the chief mason (_Prototaiapiera_), Pietro Basseggio, and in the
course of about a century the S. wing was completed and the W. façade
carried so far as the boundary of Ziani’s building. About 1365 Doge
Marco Cornaro had the walls of the Hall of the Grand Council, the
necessity for which had been the chief cause of the new buildings,
painted with scenes from the story of the reconciliation of Pope
Alexander and the Emperor Barbarossa, and the cornice decorated with
portraits of the Doges so arranged that his own came exactly over the
ducal chair. The Gothic additions made the simple edifice of Ziani look
poor in comparison, and a strong desire was evoked to rebuild the old
palace; but the Senate, chary of adding to the public burdens, forbade
any member to make such a proposal under a fine of 1000 ducats. In 1419
fire injured the old edifice, and the good Doge Tomaso Mocenigo offered
to pay the fine, and thus carried a proposal to rebuild Ziani’s portion
of the Palace, which reached from the present Porta della Carta to the
sixth arch and seventh column N. of the Adam and Eve angle. The Gothic
building was completed between 1424 and 1439, under Doge Francesco
Foscari, whose kneeling figure (restored) is carved over the Porta.

The ornate façade on the east side, best seen from a gondola or from the
Ponte di Canonico, is by Ant. Riccio, and was erected between 1483 and

After the great fire of 1577, when the conflagration seemed “like Etna
in eruption,” the whole structure narrowly escaped demolition to make
place for a new building of Palladian architecture. The strenuous
opposition of the architects Giovanni Rusconi and Antonio da Ponte alone
saved it. The latter’s plans were accepted and the ruin was repaired and

The Bridge of Sighs is a later addition by Ant. Contino, about 1600. It
is a commonplace structure, and none but commonplace criminals ever
crossed it to their doom.

The brick core of the palace may still be seen in the Cortile and from
the Ponte della Paglia, on the eastern façade, where Riccio’s beautiful
work ends.

The sculptures at the three free angles, the Drunkenness of Noah, the
Adam and Eve, and the Judgment of Solomon are placed S.E., S.W. and N.W.
The group of the Judgment of Solomon is by two Tuscan sculptors, Pietro
di Nicolo di Firenze and Giov. di Martino da Fiesole.

The S. façade, like the W., is composed of a lower arcade and an upper
gallery whose columns support the massive walls of the upper storeys, a
daring inversion of architectural tradition which is not wholly
satisfying. The marble lozenge-shaped incrustation, however, relieves
the heaviness. Indeed, from a fourteenth-century drawing[92] in the
Bodleian Library, Oxford, it is possible the upper storeys may have been
originally set back.

The squat appearance of the columns of the arcade is due to the raising
of the level of the Piazzetta, which in the days when the palace was
built was some thirty inches below the present pavement.[93] The
original building was approached by a stylobate of three steps which
greatly added to its dignity and proportion. Under this arcade the
Venetian nobility were accustomed to meet and talk of public affairs,
for meetings in their own houses would have roused the suspicion of the
Ten. When the patricians, as they paced up and down, raised their eyes
to the capitals just above their heads they saw a series of sculptures
which for beauty of design, richness of invention and craftsmanship were
unsurpassed in Europe. Even to-day, largely renewed as they are, they
will repay careful inspection. The subjects are of the usual symbolical
types: children, birds, famous emperors and kings, the virtues and sins,
the signs of the Zodiac, the crafts, the seven ages of man under
celestial influences, the months and seasons, famous lawgivers--all
treated with the _naïveté_ and didactic purpose so characteristic of
Gothic artists. Most of the carvings bear inscriptions which make the
interpretation of the subjects comparatively easy. The artists, however,
who wrought the fifteenth-century capitals on the W. façade seem to
have been lacking in invention, for of the thirteen columns southwards
from the Porta della Carta, six are copied from those wrought by the
fourteenth-century masons on the S. façade.

[Illustration: PONTE DEI SOSPIRI.]

The gallery above is beyond criticism; for originality and grace it is
unique in Europe. The eye never tires of its beauty; it adds distinction
to the whole structure, and it gives an element of peaceful repose and
conscious security so markedly in contrast to the grim civic fortresses
of Florence and Siena and other faction-ridden Italian States. The four
raised windows of the main storey on the S. are due to the fact that the
builders of the Hall of the Great Council cared less for external
symmetry than for internal convenience. The two balconied windows, one
in each façade, were added soon after the completion of the Porta della
Carta. Before 1577 all the windows of the great chamber were decorated
with Gothic triforia. It is now proposed to restore them, though the
project meets with much opposition.

We pass through the Porta della Carta, enter the Cortile and turn to
examine Riccio’s famous statues of Adam and Eve opposite the Giant’s
Staircase. The inner façade was begun on the E. side by Riccio and
continued by Pietro Lombardo and Scarpagnino. The two cisterns of bronze
are fine Renaissance work of 1556-57.

We ascend the stately Scala dei Giganti and pass Sansovino’s statues of
Mars and Neptune at the top. Here, between the two pagan deities, the
later Doges were crowned. The Doge stood surrounded by the electors, and
was acclaimed by the people below in the courtyard; a line of ducal
guards kept the staircase.

We mount[94] the Scala d’ Oro to the chambers where the rulers of the
Republic held their meetings. Nearly the whole of the architectural
decorations and paintings we shall see are later than 1577, when the
disastrous fire occurred which destroyed the priceless works of Gentile
da Fabriano, Vittore Pisano and the Bellini. With few exceptions they
are all by the later Venetian masters, characterised by vigour and
breadth of treatment rather than careful execution and reverent feeling.
It was a time when the rulers of Venice, their initiative and courage
gone, lived on the traditions of a great past, for Lepanto was but a
magnificent episode. In few cases was the artist contemporary with the
events he depicted. The paintings do, however, enable us to realise the
costumes and architecture of the declining Venice of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. They have suffered much at the hands of the
restorer. When Goethe was examining Titian’s Death of Peter Martyr in S.
Zanipolo in 1790, a Dominican friar addressed him and asked if he would
like to see the artists at work above. There in the monastery he found
an academy of picture restorers established by the Republic working
under a director on the paintings of the Ducal Palace. In 1846 Ruskin
saw a picture by Paul Veronese, lying on the floor of a room in the
palace, in process of restoration. The restorer was working on the head
of a white horse, using a brush fixed at the end of a five-foot stick
which he dipped into a common house-painter’s pot.

In the vestibule (Atrio Quadrato) is a fine ceiling-painting by
Tintoretto, Doge Lorenzo Priuli receiving the Sword of State from the
Hands of Justice, one of a series of allegorical and devotional
pictures, the main feature being the portrait of the Doge, which we
shall meet with again and again in the decoration of the palace. The
walls are hung with portraits of Procurators of St Mark by the same
master, who was their official portrait painter. To the R. is the Hall
of the Four Doors (Sala delle Quattro Porte), designed by Palladio. On
the R. wall is a late work by Titian, Doge Antonio Grimani kneeling
before Faith, a beautiful creation: the figures on either side are by
his nephew, Marco Vecelli. Historical and allegorical scenes cover
the remaining walls.



The door opposite the entrance leads to a small ante-room
(Anti-Collegio) containing some of the most charming pictures in the
palace--Tintoretto’s Ariadne and Bacchus, Minerva repelling Mars, and
Mercury with the Graces, painted 1578. Sensuous beauty and poetry of
line are their main qualities. A famous painting by Veronese, The Rape
of Europa, and Jacopo Bassano’s Return of Jacob are on the wall opposite
the windows. A foreshadowing of modern naturalism in the treatment of
the sheep and horse in the last picture is especially noteworthy. We now
enter the room where the Signory received foreign ambassadors (Sala del
Collegio). Over the entrance is a portrait of Doge Andrea Gritti
kneeling before the Virgin; over the door of exit, the Marriage of St
Catherine, with a ceremonial portrait of Doge Francesco Donà, elaborated
with the usual accessories, the figure of the Doge’s name saint, in this
case St Francis, is common to all these compositions; to the L. is a
portrait of Doge Nicolo da Ponte, with the Virgin in glory; farther on,
Doge Alvise Mocenigo adoring the Saviour. All these are by Tintoretto;
the figures of the Virgin and of St Catherine in the second and third of
these pictures are from his favourite model and in his most gracious
manner. Over the throne, Doge Sebastiano Venier returning Thanks for the
Victory of Lepanto, is by Veronese. The ceiling, designed by Ant. da
Ponte and painted by Veronese in his grandiose style, is considered by
Ruskin to be the finest in the palace. Parallel to the last two rooms is
the Senate hall (Sala del Senato). The paintings here are of but
secondary interest: ceremonial portraits of Doges by Palma Giovane,
Marco Vecelli and Tintoretto. The central panel of the gorgeous
ceiling--Venice, Queen of the Sea--is by Domenico Tintoretto, son of
Jacopo. A door R. of the dais gives access to the vestibule of the
Doge’s private chapel (Anti-Chiesetta). Here are the two pictures
painted by Tintoretto for the Camerlenghi in 1552; over the entrance
door, SS. Jerome and Andrew; opposite, St Louis of Toulouse and St
George. Two early Madonnas in the chapel are doubtfully attributed to
the schools of Boccacino and Bellini. Christ in Limbo and the Israelites
crossing the Red Sea are attributed by Mr Berenson to Previtali. These
and other paintings in the chapel afford fruitful themes for critical

Returning through the Senate-hall we cross the Sala delle Quattro Porte,
and traverse a small ante-room to the Hall of the Ten (Sala del
Consiglio dei Dieci). The ceiling pictures are by Veronese and his
pupils. An oval panel, The Elder and the Fair Lady, is a famous painting
by the master. We enter next the ante-room of the three Inquisitors of
State (Sala della Bussola), formerly a guardroom occupied by the captain
of the police and by the guards of the Ten. An opening in the wall was
formerly decorated with a lion’s head in marble (_bocca del leone_).
Here secret denunciations were placed from the outside. The delators
would ascend the Scala dei Censori and cast their accusations in the
opening on the L. at the top of the staircase. The custom of receiving
secret information was common in the Republic. To this day similar
_bocche di leoni_ remain in various parts of Venice--on the Zattere for
denunciations of breaches of sanitary regulations with the inscription:
of St Martin’s Church near the arsenal invites secret denunciations
against blasphemers and brawlers in churches.


To the R. of the Sala della Bussola is a small chamber (Stanza dei tre
Capi del Consiglio) where sat the three chiefs of the Ten. The room
contains a simple, refreshing picture by Catena, Doge Leonardo Loredano
kneeling and presented by St Mark to the Virgin, a St Christopher by
Bonifazio, a Pietà by Giovanni Bellini, hard and realistic in treatment,
and portraits of three Senators, by Tintoretto. Returning to the Sala
della Bussola (the Sala dei Inquisitori di Stato is not shown), we
descend the Scala dei Censori to the lower floor. Here we enter the huge
Hall of the Great Council (Sala del Maggior Consiglio), on which the
later artists of the Republic lavished all their powers of sumptuous
decoration. The entrance wall over the throne is covered by Tintoretto’s
famous Paradiso--a tremendous conception which at first almost dazes the
spectator by its daring, then leaves a profound impression of the
master’s gigantic but unchastened power. After patient contemplation,
groups and individuals stand out from the bewildering crowd of
figures--Christ and the Virgin in glory; the Archangels; the
Intelligences that preside over the heavenly spheres; the Evangelists
with their symbols; prophets, saints and martyrs, an exultant host,
treated with originality and force, sometimes even with tender grace.
But the composition is too vast; it lacks symmetry, and Domenico’s
feebler hand is all too evident in parts. The eye wearies of seeing, and
none but admirers of the _piu terribile cervello che abbia mai avuto la
pittura_[95] will care to read the canvas in all its details. Tintoretto
was seventy-five years of age when commissioned to execute the work.
Ruskin estimated the number of figures to be not less than 500. To L.
and R. the walls are filled with scenes from the heroic times of
Venetian history. Here again the crowded canvases, the conscious
straining after effect weary the spectator, and few are they who do not
soon turn from detailed examination of the pictures, to rest eye and
brain on the beautiful scene that opens out from the loggia on the side
of the hall--the island of S. Giorgio; the Giudecca; the waters laughing
in the sun; the peaceful lagoon; the Lido far away with its line of
trees. The series of paintings on the N. wall represent scenes, mainly
legendary, in the story of Pope Alexander III. and the Emperor
Barbarossa, mostly by inferior artists. The S. wall is decorated with
scenes in the epic story of the conquest of Constantinople under Enrico
Dandolo; a single canvas, at the end of the hall opposite the Paradiso,
by Veronese, has for its subject the return of Doge Contarini after the
defeat of the Genoese at Chioggia. The panels of the magnificent ceiling
were painted by Veronese, Tintoretto, Palma Giovane and F. Bassano.
Veronese’s Apotheosis of Venice and Tintoretto’s Doge Nic. da Ponte with
the Senate and envoys from conquered cities paying homage to Venice are
stupendous works of their kind. On the frieze are portraits, mostly
imaginary, of seventy-six Doges, by Tintoretto and his assistants, the
place of Marino Falier being filled by a black tablet with the
inscription: _Hic est locus Marini Faletri decapitati pro criminibus._ A
door to the R. leads to the Hall of the Scrutineers (Sala dello
Scrutinio). This, which almost rivals the Hall of the Great Council for
magnificence, was the chamber where the Doges and other officers of
State were elected. The S. end is filled with an ambitious Last Judgment
by Palma Giovane in which that very second-rate artist tried to emulate
Tintoretto’s Paradise. The E. and W. walls are decorated with scenes in
the history of Venice of small artistic merit. When Garibaldi was at the
Ducal Palace his attention was arrested by the resemblance to himself of
the figure of Admiral Sebastiano Venier in Vicentino’s Battle of
Lepanto. Thirty-nine portraits of Doges complete the line from the Hall
of the Great Council ending on the W. wall with Ludovico Manin. At the
N. end is the monument to Doge Francesco Morosini.

We retrace our steps to the Scala dei Censori, beyond which is a suite
of rooms, once the private apartments of the Doges, now used as an
archæological museum. In the corridor are two fine allegorical pictures
of St Mark’s Lion by Jacobello del Fiore and Carpaccio; and Bart.
Buoni’s remarkable head of Francesco Foscari. The beautiful rooms with
their gilded ceilings and fine chimney-pieces by the Lombardi, contain
Greek, Roman and Venetian sculpture, Renaissance bronzes, coins, old
maps and other objects, many of them of high merit but only of interest
to the more leisured student. In the Stanza degli Stucchi are a voting
urn from the Scuola della Carità, and another from the Great Council.
Before he leaves this room the visitor should ask to be shown one of the
most interesting paintings in the palace--an unrestored fresco by Titian
of St Christopher, with a view of Venice in the bottom background, at
the foot of the staircase leading up to the Doge’s chapel. The Piombi
have long since disappeared owing to structural alterations; such of the
Pozzi and other cells that are shown may well be left unvisited.

Before descending the Giant’s Staircase permission may be had, on
application to the “Ufficio Regionale per la Conservazione dei Monumenti
del Veneto,” to inspect the “Cobden Madonna” at the E. end of the S.
gallery overlooking the Grand Canal. It is a fine marble relief of the
Virgin and Child with attendant angels, wrought probably by Pietro
Lombardo to commemorate the reduction of the duties on corn during a
severe famine in the reign of one of the Mocenighi towards the end of
the fifteenth century. When Richard Cobden was in Venice in 1847, during
the course of his triumphant journey through Europe, he wrote his name,
which is still visible, over one of the ears of corn beneath the Latin


_The Accademia_

After the fall of the Venetian Republic the French government
expropriated a group of buildings belonging to the church, monastery and
guild of S. Maria della Carità, and there housed the collection of
paintings selected from the public offices, the suppressed religious
orders, guilds and churches of Venice, by their commissioner, Peter
Edwards, who had formerly been chief picture restorer to the Republic.
Some conception may be formed, after visiting the Ducal Palace and the
magnificent collection treasured in these rooms, of the enormous wealth
of paintings existing in the city in the latter half of the eighteenth
century; for the commission then appointed to overhaul the artistic
possessions of the government decided to restore only the best and
allowed the remainder to rot. The Guild of Our Lady of Charity, the
earliest of the six greater _Scuole_[96] of Venice, was founded in 1260
to ransom Christian captives from the Moors and other pirates. Over the
portal of the outer cloister are three early reliefs in stone, St
Leonard, patron of captives and slaves; the Virgin and Child with
kneeling guildsmen; and St Christopher. In the inner court, entered from
the corridor of the Istituto delle Belle Arti, may be seen Palladio’s
unfinished cloisters, one of the most beautiful examples of the use of
brick in N. Italy. Of the old rooms of the guild two only remain, Room
XX., the former Guest Chamber, and Room I. Both have magnificent
fifteenth-century ceilings; that of the latter is by Giampietro of
Vicenza, a famous wood-carver whose figures of eight-winged cherubs have
been ingeniously but erroneously interpreted as a rebus on the name of a
supposed brother, Cherubino Aliotto (eight-winged), who was believed to
have paid for the decoration of the ceiling.

We enter Room I., which is filled with admirable examples of the work of
the earliest Venetian masters, Jacobello del Fiore, Giambono, Lorenzo
Veneziano, Simone da Cusighe, Andrea and Quirizio da Murano, all
dominated by Byzantine models, and giving small promise of the future
glories of the Vivarini and Bellini schools.

Before entering Room II. the eye will be arrested by Titian’s famous
Assumption, No. 40. A nearer view of this grandiose painting will serve
to impress the beholder with the animation and force of the master’s new
style and the subtle artifice by which he attracts the eye of the
spectator to the ascending Virgin, to whom the whole composition yearns.
This great altar-piece created a vast sensation when exposed at the
Frari, pregnant as it was with the future development of the grand
school of Venetian painting:--its masterly group of a large and
complicated subject, its breadth of treatment and habit of massing the
warmer and mellower colours of the palette on the canvas. It must be
remembered, however, that the features of the Virgin and the picture
generally have been coarsened by restoration, for, unhappily, most of
the old paintings which have come down to us have been restored more
than once, more than twice, more than thrice, and the traveller will
need to make allowances for the consequent debasement of the original
creation in this and many other works by the old masters. In this room
of masterpieces we are enabled, by the juxtaposition of three
altar-pieces (38, by Giov. Bellini; 36, by Cima; 37, by Veronese) to
compare the treatment of the same subject, the Virgin and Child and
Saints, by three great masters. 41, The Death of Abel, by Tintoretto, is
an admired work, powerful but sombre. It is considered by Ruskin to be
one of the most wonderful works in the gallery and superior in many
respects to 42, The Miracle of St Mark, the most popular of the master’s
paintings (p. 209). A Christian slave is tortured and ordered to be
executed for his devotion to St Mark, who descends from heaven like
lightning to rescue him. The executioner exhibits the broken hammer. A
work of amazing science and originality which so perplexed the members
of the guild[97] for whom it was executed and gave rise to so many
discussions, that the impatient artist fetched it away and kept it in
his atelier until it was better appreciated. 43, Adam and Eve, is an
early work by the master. 44, Carpaccio, Presentation in the Temple, is,
in Ruskin’s estimation, the best picture in the Accademia. The painter
wrought the work in emulation of his master’s altar-piece (No. 38). All
the Bellini features are here--the mosaic half dome, the Renaissance
decoration, the sweet boy musicians with instruments almost too big for
them to handle. The two paintings adorned the same church.

We pass Room III., which contains a miscellaneous collection of
paintings of various Italian schools, and Room IV. (drawings by Italian
masters), and reach Room V., where the dominant genius of the Bellini is
manifested in the works of their contemporaries with which the room is
hung. It contains, 69, The Agony in the Garden, the finest of Basaiti’s
paintings in Venice, and some excellent examples of Bissolo’s warm
colour and dignified figures. 76, The Supper at Emmaus, is a remarkable
and unique work by Marco Marziale. Two powerfully wrought figures seated
at the table betray the alien influence of Dürer over this painter. 82,
The Virgin and Child enthroned between SS. Jerome, Benedict, Mary
Magdalene and Giustina, is Benedetto Diana’s last work. We pass to one
of Bissolo’s best productions, 79, Christ presenting the Crown of Thorns
to St Catherine of Siena, and showing the crown of gold, her portion in
heaven. Near 97, a typical plague picture by Mansueti, are two fine
paintings by Lazzaro Sebastiani. 104, St Anthony of Padua enshrined in a
tree, beneath which are St Bonaventura and another Franciscan saint, has
much puzzled the critics. According to tradition St Anthony composed his
last sermons while sitting on the branches of a tree. It is, moreover,
an old custom to place shrines, with figures of saints, in the trees by
the wayside in Italy. We have seen many such in the hill country of

We enter Room VI., which contains a collection of Dutch pictures of no
great merit, and cross to Room VII., devoted mainly to the Friulian
painters. The chief attraction of this room is, however, 147, a
magnificent Sacra Conversazione by Palma Vecchio. It is a late work by
the master, and was probably left unfinished at his death.

At the farther end is the entrance to Room VIII., hung with Flemish
paintings. Turning L. we ascend the steps which lead from Room V. to
Room IX., which glows with the compositions of the sixteenth-century
masters Veronese and Tintoretto. 203 is The Supper in the House of Levi
(p. 211). Under a spacious Corinthian portico Christ is seated between
St John and St Peter. The whole scene is dominated by the princely
magnificence of the repast. The details objected to by the Inquisitor
are untouched; Peter is still carving the lamb, and between two columns
on the L. is the fellow picking his teeth with a fork. Four scenes from
the story of S. Cristina, and the Virgin of the Rosary are
characteristic paintings by the same master. 210, The Virgin and Child
with SS. Mark, Sebastian and Theodore, and three officers of the
Treasury, followed by their servants, was one of Ruskin’s favourite
Tintorettos. 213, The Crucifixion, by Tintoretto, is a sombre dramatic
representation of the scene envisaged in his most naturalistic manner,
another of Ruskin’s favourites; he believed that neither the Miracle of
St Mark nor the great Crucifixion in S. Rocco cost the artist more pains
than this comparatively small work. 214, by Il Moro, is an interesting
picture from the Admiralty; it is divided into two parts, (1) St Mark
and three functionaries who are recruiting for the navy; (2) view of the
Molo or chief quay of Venice, the Piazzetta and the Ducal Palace;
gondolas and galleys are seen on the canal. 217, Tintoretto’s Descent
from the Cross, is another fine composition, almost Spanish in its
gloom. Numerous portraits on the end walls are by the same master. R. of
the door is an interesting picture, 243, Virgin and Child and four
magistrates of the Salt Office in adoration. It was the custom of the
chief civil servants of the Republic to leave as a souvenir of their
term of office a picture of their patron saint with their escutcheon and
initials painted on it. Most of the Bonifazios in Room X. are such, and
came from various public offices; Tintoretto, in this picture, was the
first to represent actual portraits. 255, a Crucifixion by Veronese, is
painted in the frankly naturalistic style of the later school of Venice.
260, an Annunciation, is in the master’s most spacious and stately



Room X. is largely held by the creations of Bonifazio and his pupils.
281, The Adoration of the Magi, is a beautiful work, painted with great
care, by the master, for the Ten. On the opposite wall, 319, The
Slaughter of the Innocents is the companion picture. Bonifazio’s
receipt, dated 1545, for ten ducats on account of these two pictures
still exists among the archives of the Ten. They were hung in their
Financial Secretary’s office in the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi. 291, The
Rich Man’s Feast (p. 207). For depth of feeling, sumptuous colour,
variety and strength of characterisation, one of the most noteworthy
creations of Venetian art. Dives[98] is seated in a Venetian
country-house at table between two courtesans, one of whom he clasps by
the hand. She, with a far-away look, turns aside listening to a woman
playing on the lute, accompanied by a man with the bass viol. All the
accessories of a rich man’s establishment are present. Hawks are being
trained, horses exercised. To the R., Lazarus is seen, a dog licking his
sores, and in the background lurid flames forbode impending doom. 284,
Christ Enthroned, is a richly coloured picture formerly placed in the
chief office of the Customs. On the top line are twelve groups of
saints,[99] painted in the Bonifazio atelier, and formerly assigned to
Bonifazio III. 318, St Mark, skied among them, is however a finer work,
probably by the master’s hand. On the screen are The Judgment of
Solomon, another masterly composition, painted in 1533 for the Salt
Office, in the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, and some portraits by Pordenone.
400, a Deposition, is Titian’s last work, a pathetic canvas. An
inscription tells that what Titian left unfinished, Palma Giovane
completed, and dedicated to God. The Virgin bears the dead Saviour on
her knees. To the R. kneels St Joseph of Arimathea; to the L., in an
attitude of poignant grief, is St Mary Magdalen. 320, Paris Bordone:
scene from the legend of St Mark and the Fisherman (p. 121). The Doge,
Bartolomeo Gradenigo, is represented enthroned in the midst of the
Council, bending forward to receive the ring. 316 is Pordenone’s
masterpiece. The patriarch, S. Lorenzo Giustiniani, with Dantesque
features, stands under a Renaissance chapel. Before him kneels S.
Francis, behind whom is St Augustine and an acolyte. R., S. John the
Baptist, with the muscular development of an athlete, behind whom is St
Bernardine of Siena and a kneeling monk.

We turn by the Loggia Palladiana, hung with late Dutch and Flemish
paintings, copies and school pictures of minor interest, and enter Room
XI. on the R., which is given to some characteristic landscapes, scenes
of peasant life and portraits by the Bassani. Rooms XII. and XIII.
display work by artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
including some interesting genre pictures by Pietro Longhi. Room XIV.
contains some Tiepolos, among them a fine ceiling painting, No. 462, the
Invention of the Cross, three small Guardis, 704, 705, 706, two
Canalettos, 463 and 494, and other works of minor interest. In Corridor
I.[100] is the much debated, No. 516, The Tempest calmed by SS. Mark,
George and Nicholas, illustrating the story of the Fisherman and St

We now turn to Room XV., where are exhibited the paintings illustrating
the miracles of the Holy Cross which Gentile Bellini and his pupils were
commissioned to execute for the decoration of the Hall of the Guild of
S. Giovanni Evangelista about 1490. The room is specially constructed to
display these important pictures to the best advantage. 561 by Lazzaro
Sebastiani. A crusader, Filippo de’ Massari, on his return from
Jerusalem offers a fragment of the Holy Cross to the brethren of the
Guild. 562 by Mansueti. The daughter of one Benvenuto da S. Polo is
healed on touching three candles sanctified by contact with the relic.
The scene is the interior of an old Venetian palace with costumes of the
period. 563 by Gentile Bellini. Pietro de’ Ludovici, sick of a fever, is
healed by means of a candle as in the former miracle. We are here in the
chapel of the guild with the brethren in their black and crimson robes
in the foreground. 564 by Mansueti. The relic is brought over the wooden
bridge opposite St Lio to accompany the remains of a brother who during
his life had scoffed at its power. The procession which is to accompany
the body to its last resting-place is thrown into confusion by the Cross
containing the relic refusing to advance into the church where the body
lies. The scene is most animated. Spectators look from the windows, from
the housetops and from the streets. The gondola of the period is
represented. The artist himself stands at the foot of the bridge to the
left, holding a paper inscribed with his name, Giovanni Mansueti the
Venetian, disciple of Bellini. 565, attributed to Benedetto Diana, is
said to portray the healing by the relic of a child fallen from the top
of the stairs. Neither the quality of the work nor the subject seems
convincing. The woman seems to have slipped on the pavement with her
child. If genuine it can be no more than a fragment of a larger
composition referred to by the older writers as containing elaborate
architectural details and groups of people similar to the other
paintings of this series. 566 by Carpaccio. Casting out of a devil by
the Patriarch Francesco Querini. The Grand Canal is crowded with
gondolas. The old wooden Rialto drawbridge with its bascules and levers
spans the canal. Above, L., the patriarch is seen in a loggia of his
palace at S. Silvestre casting forth the evil spirit by holding out the
relic. A most interesting presentation of old Venetian architecture. Two
youths in the foreground, with their backs to the spectator, one of whom
has a mermaid embroidered on his hood, are in Calza costume. 567 by
Gentile Bellini, Procession in the Piazza. A merchant of Brescia whose
son lay dying made a vow to the relic as the procession passed and his
son was saved. In the ducal procession to the R. the Doge is seen under
the State umbrella with the Procurators of St Mark, chamberlains and
senators and trumpeters. This is one of the most precious pictorial
documents for the aspect of the Piazza in 1496. The thirteenth-century
mosaics of St Mark’s are in their place; the Procuratie Vecchie are
there but no Clock Tower; houses abut on the Campanile. The Porta della
Carta and the façade of St Mark’s are richly gilded. According to
Vasari, Gentile surpassed himself in the next painting (568), which
firmly established his reputation. During a procession to the church of
St Lorenzo the reliquary falls from a bridge into the canal. Several
persons plunge in to save it. To none but the warden of the guild,
Andrea Vendramin, was it vouchsafed to recover the shrine. A vivid
representation of a piece of old Venice. At the head of the Venetian
ladies, kneeling to the L., is Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus,
wearing her crown. This picture, and No. 567, the artist tells us, were
painted in pious affection for the Holy Cross. 570, a faded work by the
same artist, S. Lorenzo Giustiniani, with two kneeling canons and angels
bearing his crook and mitre. In the apse are two important works painted
by Mansueti for the Guild of St Mark. 569, St Mark heals the cobbler
Anianus, wounded by his awl, a favourite legend; and 571, St Mark
preaching at Alexandria.

Room XVI. contains Carpaccio’s St Ursula series, painted 1490-95, for
the Guild of St Ursula. The legend, familiar to those who have studied
the paintings of Carpaccio’s contemporary, Memling, on the shrine of St
Ursula at Bruges, may be briefly summarised. Maurus, the Christian king
of Brittany, had a daughter named Ursula (Little Bear), because she came
into the world wrapt in a hairy mantle. The pagan king of England,
Agrippinus, hearing of her wisdom, virtue and beauty, sent ambassadors
to ask the maiden’s hand for his son Conon. King Maurus, knowing his
daughter’s vow of perpetual chastity and yet fearing to anger a powerful
neighbour by refusal, was in great distress. Just before dawn[101] of
the next day, while Ursula lay in her chamber, the angel of the Lord
appeared to her in a dream and bade her go to her father, and wisdom
would be given her to counsel him aright. When day was fully come she
went to his chamber and enumerated to the anxious king the conditions on
which the suit would be accepted: For companions she required ten
virgins of noblest blood, each with one thousand virgin attendants,
herself another thousand virgins; they must be allowed to make a
pilgrimage to Rome; the prince and his court to be baptised.

The envoys returned to England bearing such reports of the princess’s
beauty that Conon was fired with a desire to marry her, and the
conditions were granted. Ursula and her maidens, Conon and his suite,
set sail in eleven ships for Rome. Being arrived, the Pope and his
clergy came forth to bless them. When they had performed their vows the
pilgrims returned accompanied by the Pope and reach Cologne, then
besieged by the Huns, who straightway massacred the pilgrims, the Pope
and his clergy--all except Ursula, whose beauty destined her to be the
bride of the king of the Huns. But she, defying his power, aroused his
fury; he ordered her to be put to death.

The artist has illustrated this story in his most charming and dramatic
manner, though, as the dates prove, no consistent plan of the series was
drawn up. The most popular of the paintings is No. 578. Ursula is
sleeping in her chamber and an angel, bearing in his right hand a
palm-branch, the sign of martyrdom, appears to her in a vision. The
early light of dawn streams through the open door. On the tassel of her
pillow is inscribed, _Infantia_. Every detail in this virgin sanctuary,
the little crown at the foot of the bed, the clogs placed side by side,
the tidy over her head, the shrine and receptacle for holy water against
the wall, betokens maidenly care and piety. The charm of these pictures
is perennial. Zanetti[102] used to conceal himself in the hall where
they were placed to watch the effect they produced on the ordinary

Room XVII. is chiefly taken up with pictures by the Vivarini and by
Cima. 618 and 619, The Baptist and St Matthew, and 593, St Clare, are
all fine examples of Alvise Vivarini’s work; the last is one of his
greatest achievements, a living portrait, full of character. 588,
Mantegna’s St George and the Dragon, is a precious possession, one of
the great Paduan master’s most careful works, painted about 1460. 584
and 585, SS. Mary Magdalen and Barbara, are late works (1490) by
Bartolomeo Vivarini. 589, Christ bound to the Column, and 590, The
Virgin in Meditation, have been ascribed to Antonello da Messina, but
their genuineness is doubtful. Mr Berenson admits the former in his
index to the works of the Venetian painters; the official catalogue
attributes it to Pietro da Messina, and 590 to an unknown copyist
working from an original at Munich. We now come to one of the most
delightful and graceful compositions in this room, 600, a Marriage of St
Catherine, by the Lombard master Boccaccino: before the Virgin and Child
kneel St Peter and the Baptist; to the L. St Catherine holds forth her
hand to receive the ring; to the R. stands the beautiful figure of St
Rose; to the R. of the charming landscape background are portrayed the
Wise Men and the Flight into Egypt. Then follow some guild pictures by
Cima. 604, the last of the master’s work in this room, is an early
painting of much beauty, The Deposition with the Marys and Nicodemus.

Room XVIII., at the farther end, is the new Bellini room in which are
collected the Bellinis formerly hung in XVII. This little treasury
includes, 582, a unique example of Jacopo’s work, The Virgin and Child.
596, Giovanni’s famous Virgin of the Trees, has recently been peeled and
some strata of repainting removed; it is dated 1487, but this date has
been questioned by Morelli and other critics who believe it to be a
maturer work painted about 1504. 610, The Virgin and Child between SS.
George and Paul, is another popular work by the master; both are
admirable for warmth of colour, and dignity and beauty of form. 613, The
Virgin and Child between SS. Catherine and Mary Magdalen, is one of the
most characteristic of Giovanni’s productions; less virile perhaps than
610, but rich and warm in colour and gentle in feeling. We now turn to
595, a remarkable series of panels painted for a _cassone_ or wedding
chest; charming allegories on which the painter has lavished all his
skill. Their interpretation still awaits an Œdipus, but the
following suggestions by Ruskin will help the visitor: 1, Fortitude
quitting the effeminate Bacchus; 2, Domestic Love,--the world in Venus’
hand becoming the colour of heaven; 3, Fortune as Opportunity
distinguished from the greater and sacred Fortune appointed by Heaven;
4, Truth; 5, Lust.[103]

Room XIX. contains a small collection of Muranese and Paduan school
paintings, and others of no great importance. We descend to Room XX.,
originally the guest-chamber of the brotherhood. The carved and gilded
ceiling, representing Christ in the act of blessing, and the four
Evangelists, each in his study, is one of the most beautiful schemes of
decoration in Venice. It was here that Titian, between 1534 and 1538,
painted the Presentation, now restored to its original place. The
high-priest stands before the temple at the top of a grand staircase to
receive the little maid who seems somewhat too conscious of her pretty
blue frock. A group of richly attired Venetian ladies and gentlemen look
on. At the foot of the stairway sits an old, coarse-featured peasant
woman with a basket of eggs; the mountains of Cadore are in the
background. According to Ruskin, the most stupid and uninteresting work
ever painted by the artist. 625, Giov. d’Alemano and Ant. da Murano,
Virgin and Child enthroned, and four Latin fathers of the Church, was
also executed for the very wall space it now covers. It is obviously
much repainted. On a screen is 245, a portrait of Jacopo Soranzo by
Titian. Above, on a swing panel, is 316, St John the Baptist, painted
when the master had passed his eightieth year.


_The Grand Canal and S. Georgio Maggiore_

Second only in architectural interest to St Mark’s and the Ducal Palace
are the patrician mansions that line the chief artery of Venice, known
to Venetians as the Canalazzo. No more luxurious artistic feast can be
enjoyed in Europe than to leisurely examine from a gondola the
architectural details of the Grande Rue that so excited the admiration
of Philippe de Comines. We begin on the L. side opposite the Piazzetta.
The DOGANA (Custom House) is a late seventeenth-century structure, low
in elevation, in order not to obstruct the view of Longhena’s SALUTE.
This church stands on the most magnificent site in Venice, and despite
the baseness of many of its details is, when regarded in the mass, an
impressive edifice and one of the architectural features of the city.
The noble flight of steps and the symmetry of the domes are most
effective and pleasing. The anniversary of its consecration in 1687 is
still a great popular festival, and yearly on November 21st a bridge of
boats is thrown across the canal to facilitate the foot traffic. On the
further side of the rio della Salute is seen the apse of the fine Gothic
abbey church of S. GREGORIO. We may disembark at the square portal, with
a relief of St Gregory over the lintel, which opens on the Grand Canal
just beyond the rio. It gives access to one of the most picturesque
spots in Venice--the fourteenth-century cloister of the monastery. We
continue our voyage, and, passing the rio S. Gregorio, note the
PALAZZO[104] DARIO (fifteenth century), beautifully decorated with discs
of porphyry and serpentine in the style of the Lombardi. This fine
mansion has altered little since the time of De Comines. The huge
ground-floor beyond is the unfinished PAL. VENIER, begun in the
eighteenth century. Farther on is the PALAZZO DA MULA, a fine Gothic
building of the early fifteenth century, adjacent to which is the PAL.
BARBARIGO, with its brazen mosaics, now the property of the
Venezia-Murano Glass Co. We pass on, and next to a garden note the PAL.
MANZONI (1465) by Tullio Lombardi, somewhat later in style than the Pal.
Dario. Passing the Accademia and a few houses, we reach the two PALAZZI
CONTARINI DEGLI SCRIGNI (Contarini of the Coffers), the first by
Scamozzi (1609), the second fifteenth-century Gothic. The Contarini were
a wealthy family pre-eminent in the nobility of their ancestry, and
owned many palaces in Venice. The last of the race died in 1902 in
lodgings. They had given eight Doges and forty-four Procurators to the
Republic. Beyond the rio S. Tomaso is the fifteenth-century Gothic PAL.
DURAZZO or dell’ Ambasciatore, once the German Embassy. The two statues
on the façade are probably by one of the Lombardi. We pass two rii and
reach the imposing PALAZZO REZZONICO, where Robert Browning died. It was
built about 1680 by Longhena; the upper storey is, however, a later
addition by Massari (1740). We soon come to a magnificent group of three
Gothic palaces in the style of the Ducal Palace and attributed to the
Buoni. They once belonged to the powerful Giustiniani family, but the
last (now the School of Commerce) was bought and enlarged by Francesco
Foscari in 1437 and still bears his name. The iron lamp at the corner is
modern. Facing us at the farthest corner of the rio Foscari is the PAL.
BALBI by Aless. Vittoria (1582). It is now Guggenheim’s shop. We pass on
to the rio S. Tomà, at whose farther corner is the PAL. PERSICO
(formerly a Giustiniani) in the style of the Lombardi. A few houses
beyond is the Gothic PAL. TIEPOLO. Next but one stands the PAL. PISANI,
fifteenth-century Gothic. At the farther corner of the rio S. Polo is
the PAL. CAPPELLO-LAYARD with a most valuable collection of paintings
(admission by personal introduction only). Adjacent is the PAL. GRIMANI
of the Lombardi period. Two houses farther on stands the Gothic PAL.
BERNARDO, now belonging to Salviati. On either side of the next
traghetto (della Madonetta) are two smaller twelfth-century palazzi,
with beautiful Byzantine details, the PAL. DONÀ and the PAL. SAIBANTE.
Next to a garden is the sixteenth-century Renaissance PAL. PAPADOPOLI
(formerly Tiepolo), surmounted by two obelisks. At the farther corner
of the rio stands the PAL. BUSINELLI with some interesting Byzantine
windows. Next but one is the PAL. MENGALDO, referred to in the “Stones
of Venice” as the “terraced house.” It has a beautiful Byzantine portal,
and arches of the same style are visible in the older part of the
building. Just beyond the S. Silvestre Pier is the site of the old
palace of the Patriarchs of Grado and Venice. Little of interest meets
us until we reach the PONTE DI RIALTO, which replaced a wooden
drawbridge similar to that represented in Carpaccio’s picture. It was
built (1588-92) by Antonio da Ponte from a design by Boldù. Many famous
Renaissance architects had at various periods offered designs, among
others Michael Angelo, who, when living on the Giudecca, was invited by
Doge Gritti to submit a drawing, but this “most rich and rare invention”
met the fate of the rest--it was set aside as too costly. An
Annunciation is sculptured on the hither side of the bridge: Gabriel and
the Virgin on the spandrils; the dove on the keystone.

By the farther side stands the PAL. DEI CAMERLENGHI (1525-28) by
Guglielmo Bergamasco, once adorned with pictures by Bonifazio, for the
offices of the three Lords of the Treasury. We pass the vegetable and
fish-markets. Behind the latter, the last house before reaching the
Ponte Pescaria was the old PAL. QUERINI, known as the Stallone, with the
two large Gothic portals of the old shambles (p. 109). It became the
poultry-market after the fall of the Republic. A new fish-market is,
however, projected, and the old palace will probably be incorporated in
the new building. A few houses farther on is the Gothic PAL. MOROSINI;
yet farther the lofty PAL. CORNER DELLA REGINA (now the municipal
pawn-office). It was erected in 1724 by Rossi, the architect of S.
Eustacchio, on the site of a palace occupied by the Queen of Cyprus. The
huge assertive PAL. PESARO by Longhena, 1679, now comes into view. It is
highly praised by Fergusson.



[Illustration: CA’ D’ORO]

The church of S. EUSTACCHIO (S. Stae), 1709, with its _baroque_ façade
will be easily recognised. The bust of the ill-fated Ant. Foscarini will
be found in the third chapel L. of entrance, the higher of the two busts
to the R. of the chapel. (The church is rarely open and will be more
conveniently visited in connection with S. M., Mater Domini, whose
sacristan has the key.) At the farther corner of the campo is the PAL.
PRIULI, with an early transitional Gothic arcade. At the near corner of
the rio Tron is the PAL. TRON, sixteenth-century Renaissance; at the
farther corner, the PAL. BATTAGGIA by Longhena. The building adjacent is
one of the old granaries of the Republic, with the outline of the Lion
of St Mark still visible on the façade. Interest ends at the restored
FONDACO DE’ TURCHI (Mart of the Turks) (p. 302).

We cross to the church of S. MARCUOLA (SS. Ermagora and Fortunato),
which contains a doubtful Titian (the infant Christ on a pedestal
between SS. Catherine and Andrew), thought, however, by Morelli to be a
genuine youthful work of the master. Some distance farther on is the
PAL. VENDRAMIN by Pietro Lombardi (1481), one of the finest palaces on
the canal. The garden wing is by Scamozzi. Next but one is the PAL.
ERIZZO, fifteenth-century Gothic. We pass on to the CA’ D’ORO, the most
exquisite little mansion in Venice. It was built (1424-30) for the
Contarini, and being richly gilded, was known as the Ca’ d’Oro (the
Golden House). The derivation from a supposed Doro family is untenable.
The contracts with the Buoni and many another famous _tajapiera_
(stone-cutter), and a contract with Mastro Zuan di Franza, Pintor, for
the gilding and the painting of the façade with vermilion and
ultramarine still exist. The building was profaned by some ill-designed
structural alterations and the beautiful wellhead, by Bart. Buono, was
sold to a dealer, when the fabric fell into the hands of the
ballet-dancer, Taglioni, in 1847. Recently Baron Franchetti has restored
it to somewhat of its original form, and the well-head has been
recovered.[105] Beyond the Ca’ d’Oro Pier is the earlier and simpler
Gothic PAL. SAGREDO, now the Ravà College. The small PAL. FOSCARI beyond
the Campo S. Sofia has interesting Gothic details. The larger, PAL.
MICHIELI DELLE COLONNE, was rebuilt in the seventeenth century. Passing
the rio SS. Apostoli we reach the interesting CA’ DA MOSTO,
twelfth-century Byzantine, but hinting at the coming Gothic. An
inscription tells that here was born Alvise da Ca’ Mosto, discoverer of
the Cape Verde Islands. Set back in a small court (Corte Remera) is a
thirteenth-century house with an external stairway and a fine Byzantine
portal. It shows admirably the pointed arch asserting itself in a
Byzantine building. Hard by the Rialto bridge is the Fondaco dei
Tedeschi (Mart of the Germans), designed in 1505 by Girolamo Tedesco and
completed by Scarpagnino. It is now the Central Post Office. The
solitary figure that remains of Giorgione’s frescoes will be seen high
up between two of the top-floor windows. The sculptures on this side the
Rialto bridge represent SS. Theodore and Mark.


Beyond the bridge the PAL. MANIN by Sansovino, now Banca d’ Italia, was
the dwelling-place of the last of the Doges. The PAL. BEMBO at the
farther corner of the rio is early fifteenth-century Gothic. A small
palace farther on, the ground floor of which is used as a café, is
usually pointed out as the house of Doge Enrico Dandolo. The present
Gothic building, however, with its cusped arches is obviously two
centuries later in style, though the Byzantine medallions incorporated
in the façade may have belonged to the original structure. A Latin
inscription on the adjacent house prays the wayfarer to bestow a thought
on the great Doge Dandolo, and another inscription in the Pal. Farsetti
(see below) states that that palace was built for Enrico Dandolo (_volle
eretto Enrico Dandolo_) in 1203. All that may be said with certainty is
that somewhere on the Riva del Carbon stood the Ca’ Dandolo. A few
houses farther on is the PAL. LOREDAN with its deep stilted arches,
esteemed by Ruskin the most beautiful palace on the Grand Canal. It is twelfth-century Byzantine, restored once in Gothic, again in
Renaissance times. It bears on the façade the scutcheon of Peter
Lusignan, King of Cyprus, who lodged there in 1363-66. The next
edifice is the PAL. FARSETTI, in the same style but simpler. It has a
fine staircase with carvings by Canova.


These two buildings are used as the Municipal Offices. At the near
corner of the rio S. Luca is Sanmichele’s stately Renaissance PAL.
GRIMANI, rescued by the Austrian Government from the house-breaker’s
hands, and used as the Post Office. It is now the Court of Appeal.
Ruskin considered this to be the principal type at Venice and the best
in Europe of the central style of the Renaissance schools. We may
disembark and ascend the noble staircase (the Renaissance masters
excelled in the construction of stairways) to the spacious landing and
halls on the first floor. At the farther corner of the rio is the PAL.
CAVALLINI, so named from the horses’ heads on the scutcheons. We pass on
to the PAL. CORNER SPINELLI at the farther corner of the rio
dell’Albero, another of the works of the Lombardi. Beyond the traghetto
S. Angelo we reach the three PALAZZI MOCENIGO, sixteenth-century
architecture. The ducal cap and shield still figure on the posts, for
the Mocenighi gave seven Doges to the Republic. Byron lodged in the
middle of the three palaces. Another famous heretic, Giordano Bruno,
that Ishmaelite of philosophy, was run to earth by the Inquisition in
the farther one and taken to Rome to perish at the stake in 1600.[106]
The early Renaissance palazzo farther on with shields and torches carved
on the façade was another of the CONTARINI mansions subsequently
inhabited by the Countess Guiccioli. We pass two small Gothic palaces
and the wide PAL. MORO-LIN, sixteenth-century, by Seb. Mazzoni, a
Florentine painter and architect, and reach round the bend the PAL.
GRASSI (1785), by Massari. At the farther corner of the Campo S. Samuele
is the PAL. MALIPIERO, seventeenth-century. At the near corner of the
next rio is the CA’ DEL DUCA (di Milano), begun for Francesco Sforza
when he was the Venetian Captain-General. The construction was vetoed by
the Signory at a point easily discernible, when Sforza began to play
Carmagnola’s game and was outlawed. The late Gothic PAL. CAVALLI beyond
the iron bridge has been wholly restored by Baron Franchetti. At the
farther corner of the rio dell’ Orso is the fourteenth-century Gothic
PAL. BARBARO debased by additions. Beyond the traghetto S. Stefano and a
garden is the PAL. CORNER DELLA CA’ GRANDE now the Prefecture, a stately
Renaissance edifice by Sansovino (1532). Past the traghetto S. M. del
Giglio are three palaces all more or less restored which form the Grand
Hotel. The first, PAL. GRITTI, is fourteenth-century Gothic; the second,
PAL. FINI, is by Tremignano (1688); the third, PAL. FERRO,
fifteenth-century Gothic. The small PAL. CONTARINI-FASAN is the
so-called Desdemona House. The balcony with its rich tracery is unique
in Venice. Some distance farther on is the PAL. TIEPOLO, now the Hotel
Britannia. The Hotel d’ Italia is a new building. The fifteenth-century
PAL. GIUSTINIANI is now the Hotel de l’ Europe. The next house but one
is the old RIDOTTO, the famous Assembly Rooms and Gambling Saloon of the
later Republic, in its day the Monte Carlo of Europe. It is still used
for _bals-masqués_ at Carnival time. We pass the gardens of the Royal
Palace; the Zecca (mint), and the S. end of the Libreria Vecchia, both
by Sansovino, and reach the Piazzetta, whence we started. Fortunate are
they who have the opportunity of seeing the Grand Canal at the time of a
royal visit, or other great occasion when steamer traffic being stopped,
the waters regain the placidity we see in old engravings, and the lines
of palaces hung with tapestry are mirrored in the sea. The grand
_bissone_ (festal gondolas) are brought forth, decked with brilliant
colours, some of them manned by a score of gondoliers in gorgeous old
Venetian costume, and we then catch a glimpse of what Venice was in her

The traveller will probably choose an afternoon for his survey of the
Grand Canal, and no better rounding-off of the day may be imagined than
to ferry across from the Molo to the island of S. Giorgio Maggiore, the
ancient Isle of the Cypresses, and, after visiting the church, to ascend
the campanile and enjoy the beautiful view from the summit. Northwards
is the line of the mainland, fringed with trees and dotted with
villages; in the foreground the broad curve of the city of a hundred
isles; around, as the eye sweeps the horizon, are the lagoons, studded
with islands and marked by the bold strokes of the lidi; farther to the
S. is the open Adriatic. As the sun sinks to its setting the vast
expanse will glow in a symphony of ravishing colour.

Palladio’s beautiful and impressive interior (p. 194) has been little
disturbed. Among other works of pictorial interest are two Tintorettos
in the choir (R., the Last Supper; L., the Fall of Manna), and five
other paintings by the same master, all described at length by Ruskin in
the Venetian Index. Noteworthy are the beautiful choir stalls by Albert
of Brussels, some of the finest examples of Flemish wood-carving in
Italy. Longhena’s modern monument and the old Latin epitaph to puissant
Doge Dom. Michieli will be found in a passage behind the choir to the R.
In the Sala del Conclave, where the Sacred College met in 1800 and
elected Pius VII., is a fine Carpaccio, St George and the Dragon, with a
predella, four episodes in the life of the saint. The campanile is a
late erection (1774) on the model of the old tower of St Mark. The
campanile collapsed in February 1773, doing much damage to the
conventual buildings and killing one of the monks. All that remains of
the rich and vast Benedictine monastery, one of the four most opulent in
Italy, is now a barrack, and of the 150 brothers it once housed, some
half-dozen are permitted to linger amid the secularised surroundings and
tend the sanctuary.


     _S. Zulian--S. Maria Formosa--S. Zanipolo_ (_SS. Giovanni e
     Paolo_)--_The Colleoni Statue--The Scuola di S. Marco--S. Maria dei

Fresh from memories evoked by the mansions of the ruling families of the
Republic, we may now fitly turn to the more important of the two great
churches of the Friars which together form the Walhalla of Venice. We
enter the Merceria from the Piazza, noting the site of the Casa del
Morter (p. 109). A few hundred yards down the busy street the ramo S.
Zulian on the right leads to the church of that name, which contains two
unimportant Veroneses, an interesting Boccaccino, Virgin and Child, SS.
Peter, Michael, and the two Johns, first altar left of entrance, and one
of Campagna’s best works, a group in high relief of the dying Christ,
to the left of the altar.

From the Campo della Guerra at the back of the church we proceed E.,
cross the Ponte della Guerra, and continue along the calle until we
reach, L., the Salizzada S. Lio. The second calle, to the R., along the
salizzada is the picturesque Calle del Paradiso, which leads to the
Ponte Paradiso. As we near the bridge we note a beautiful Gothic gable
bearing the arms of the Foscari and the Mocenighi, and a fine
fourteenth-century relief of the Virgin and Child and a donor. We cross
the modern bridge which has replaced the fine old Ponte Paradiso, turn
R., over the Ponte dei Preti, and emerge on the spacious Campo. S. Maria
Formosa is one of the earliest of Venetian churches (p. 23) but entirely
restored after the earthquake of 1689. Palma Vecchio’s grandiose St
Barbara, for which his daughter Violante is said to have stood as model,
stands over the first altar on the R. It is one of the most insistent of
Venetian paintings. The composition is in six compartments. R. and L.
are SS. Anthony and Sebastian; above is the Virgin of Mercy between the
Baptist and St Dominic. The church has also an early work by Bart.
Vivarini, a Pietà by Palma Giovane, and a Last Supper by Bassano.

We traverse the campo in a N.E. direction to the calle Lunga, which we
follow to the end. Here we turn L. along the Fondamenta Tetta, cross the
bridge and enter the calle of the same name which leads to the Ponte and
Calle Ospedaletto; the end of the calle debouches on the Salizzada SS.
Giovanni e Paolo. We turn L., noting to the R. the towering brick apse
of the huge church of the Preaching Friars, due to the piety of Doge
Giacomo Tiepolo (p. 78). The monastery was begun in 1236, the church
twelve years later. The conventual buildings (now part of the civic
hospital) were finished in 1293, and the church was not ready for
consecration until 1430, when it was dedicated to the martyred Roman
soldiers SS. John and Paul, and became popularly known as S. Zanipolo.
To the L. before we enter are the tombs of Doge Giacomo Tiepolo
(1249)[107] and Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo his brother (1275).

The interior is imposing by reason of its vast size and simple plan;
though the dome, the Renaissance monuments and rococo details disturb
the symmetry. The Mendicant Orders possessing the right to bury the dead
within the precincts of their buildings were able to grant permission to
wealthy and influential families, their supporters, to erect family
chapels and sepulchral monuments in their churches. In this Dominican
temple lie buried in monumental pomp Doges and statesmen, great captains
and admirals, side by side with famous painters; for the two Bellini and
Palma Giovane rest here. The traveller who remembers his Ruskin will
doubtless turn first to the two monuments typical of noble and debased
sculpture which are contrasted with such vehement rhetoric in the
opening chapter of the “Stones of Venice.” He will find the “faithful
tender portrait” of Doge Tomaso Mocenigo (1423) in the L. aisle beyond
the second altar, recumbent on a beautiful transitional tomb wrought by
two Florentine sculptors, Piero di Nicolo and Giov. di Martino. It is
the last of the Gothic tombs in Venice and marks the advancing
Renaissance. In the choir, L. of the high altar, is the monument,
“perfect in workmanship but devoid of thought,” of Doge Andrea Vendramin
(1478), executed by Aless. Leopardi and one of the Lombardi. To this
“culminating point of the Renaissance,” Ruskin attained “by the ministry
of such ancient ladders as he found in the sacristan’s keeping,” and
discerned that the figure of the old Doge had but one hand, and that the
“wretched effigy was a mere block on the inner side, ... the artist
staying his hand as he reached the bend of the grey forehead.” The
sculptor of “this lying monument to a dishonoured Doge,” adds the
passionate critic, “was banished from Venice for forgery in 1478.” The
tomb is, however, a fine example of early Renaissance work, in
Burckhardt’s opinion “the most beautiful of all the tombs of the Doges.”
Two inferior figures of St Catherine and the Virgin at the base are not
by Leopardi; they were substituted for the admirable statues of Adam and
Eve by Leopardi’s colleague, which were transferred to the Pal.
Vendramin. To the L. of the choir is the early Gothic tomb of Doge Marco
Corner (1368), a beautiful and simple monument, probably by the
Massegne. Opposite is the “richest monument of the Gothic period in
Venice,” the tomb of Michele Morosini (1382). The strongly marked
features of the dead Doge, “resolute, thoughtful, serene and full of
beauty” are wrought in masterly style. These are the tombs referred to
by Ruskin: the former as noble Gothic; the latter is furnishing the
exactly intermediate condition in style between the pure Gothic and its
final renaissance corruption. L. of this is the monument to Doge
Leonardo Loredan (1521) with allegorical figures, late Renaissance,
executed in 1572. The statue of the Doge is an early work by Campagna.

Beyond the sacristy door is the fine Renaissance monument of Doge
Pasquale Malipiero (1462) by a Florentine of the fifteenth century. In
the arcade under the next monument (in the N. aisle) is the recumbent
figure of Doge Michel Steno (pp. 124, 139) (1414). The inscription tells
that he was a lover of righteousness, peace and plenty. At the end of
the aisle against the entrance wall is the monument of Doge Giovanni
Mocenigo (1485), a typical and early Renaissance work by Tullio and Ant.
Lombardo. Over the main portal are the huge monuments of Doge Alvise
Mocenigo (1577), his wife Loredana Marcella, and Doge Giovanni Bembo
(1618). Against the entrance wall south aisle is another imposing
monument by the Lombardi to Doge Pietro Mocenigo (1476). The growing
pride of dominion is clearly seen in these sumptuous mausoleums.
Pietro’s tomb wrought from the spoils of his enemies, as the
inscription tells, is adorned with two reliefs boasting of his exploits
in war. “The Vendramin Statue,” says Ruskin, “is the last which shows
the recumbent figure laid in death. A few years later the idea became
disagreeable to polite minds, the figures raised themselves on their
elbows and began to look about them.[108] ...But the statue soon rose up
and presented itself as an actor on the stage in the front of his tomb,
surrounded by every circumstance of pomp and symbol of adulation that
flattery could suggest or insolence claim.” The development of the
sepulchral monument from the simple sarcophagus of the early Doges, as
in the Tiepolo tombs on the west front to its culmination in the
fourteenth and fifteenth century monuments; its subsequent decline and
then its utter degradation in the eighteenth century Bertucci mausoleum,
may be traced in this church. In the S. aisle a stone with reliefs of
Christ between two angels recalls the memory of Doge Renier Zen (1268).
Between the first and second altars is the monument to Marc’ Antonio
Brigadin, hero of the defence of Famagosta. Beyond the side chapel is
the colossal monument, 60 feet in length, of Bertuccio (1658) and
Silvestre Valier (1700), and the latter’s wife Elisabetta, executed by
Baratta and other followers of Bernini. This elaborate specimen of
rococo art is denounced by Ruskin as exhibiting every condition of false
taste and feeble conception.

Among the paintings we note the St Augustine by Bart. Vivarini, one of
the master’s greatest works; an altar-piece, The Apotheosis of S.
Antonino of Florence, by Lotto; one of Rocco Marconi’s best works,
Christ with SS. Andrew and Peter; Alvise Vivarini’s Christ bearing the
Cross, highly praised by Mr Berenson; and Bissolo’s Madonna and saints.

The famous monument of Colleoni, in the Campo outside the Church is the
finest equestrian statue in Europe. The great stalwart condottiero in
full armour sits erect in his saddle, indomitable will and forceful
capacity marked in every line of his stern, clean-cut features. The
“_vista superba_, the deep-set eyes, piercing and terrible,” are
rendered with supreme art. The statue was designed by Da Vinci’s master
Verrocchio, a Florentine sculptor, who, however, died of a cold caught
at the casting, and Aless. Leopardi was charged by the Republic to
complete the work. The conception and the modelling of horse and rider
are due to the Florentine sculptor; the finishing of it and the design
and execution of the pedestal to the Venetian. Colleoni left his fortune
to the Republic on condition that his statue should be placed in St
Mark’s Square. This the laws forbade, but there being a _scuola_ of St
Mark with a spacious campo before it the Senate decided to erect the
statue there and accept the inheritance.


On the N. side of the campo is the Scuola di S. Marco now the city
hospital. This, in Ruskin’s estimation, is one of the two most refined
buildings in Venice by the Lombardi. It was designed in 1485 by Martino,
the decorations are due to Pietro. The beautiful lunette over the
doorway is probably by Bart. Buon, the lions and the two fine
reliefs--the healing of the Cobbler Anianus and St Mark baptising a
convert--are by Tullio Lombardo. The second of the buildings referred to
by Ruskin, S. Maria dei Miracoli, may be easily reached by crossing the
Ponte del Cavallo, and following the calle opposite the west front of S.
Zanipolo. This exquisite gem of Renaissance architecture (1480-89)
was designed by Pietro Lombardo. To Tullio are due the half figures of
the Annunciation on the top of the choir steps and the best of the
charming arabesque decorations in the interior. The St Francis and St
Clare are by Campagna.



_The Frari--The Scuola and Church of S. Rocco_

In the “Speculum Perfectionis” is told how that St Francis on coming to
Assisi to hold the Chapter of the Order found there a great edifice of
stone and mortar, built by the citizens for the meeting place of the
brothers, instead of the rude wattle and daub barn in which they were
wont to assemble. And the saint, fearing lest the brothers might be
tempted to have similar great houses erected where they sojourned,
climbed to the roof with his companions, and began to strip off the
tiles and cast them to the ground, being minded to destroy the building
to the very foundation, nor did he desist until the soldiers forbade
him, declaring it to be the property of the town. Up to Doge Giacomo
Tiepolo’s time, as we have seen, the friars minor had no monastery in
Venice, but here, as elsewhere, the Franciscans were unable to resist
that unquenchable impulse in devoted human souls to raise temples made
with hands to the glory of God, and about 1230 or 1240 the great
monastery and church of Our Glorious Lady of the Friars were begun. The
church was opened for service in 1280, and rebuilt during the second
half of the fourteenth century. Santa Maria Gloriosa de’Frari may be
reached from the S. Tomà Pier on the Grand Canal. It is the largest
church in Venice, and one of the finest Gothic churches in Italy. Vasari
attributes the design to Nicolo Pisano. The campanile (1361-1396) was
erected by the Massegne. From the tracery of the lower windows in the
apse, Ruskin derives the tracery of the arcade in the Ducal Palace, the
circle of the quatrefoil falling between the arches when it had to
support the wall. Over the Porta de’Frari, leading to the left aisle, is
a beautiful relief of the Virgin and two angels and kneeling donors by
the Massegne.

The nobility and simplicity of the vast interior remind us of the great
friars’ churches in Tuscany and Umbria. Few Doges are buried here, the
monuments inside being chiefly to famous soldiers, admirals, statesmen
and artists. In the R. aisle is the Titian monument executed in 1852,
and on the third altar a fine statue of St Jerome by Aless. Vittoria,
said to have been modelled from the figure of Titian when he was 98
years old. On the R. wall of R. transept is the tomb of Jacopo Marcelle
(1484) in the style of the Lombardi. To the R. of entrance to the
sacristy is the beautiful late Gothic tomb, wrought by a Florentine
sculptor, of the Franciscan S. Pacifico (1437), under whom the church
was completed.

In the second chapel, R. of the choir, R. wall, is the tomb of the
Florentine ambassador, Duccio degli Alberti (1336) by a Tuscan sculptor,
noted by Ruskin as the first monument in Venice in which images of the
Virtues appear; L. wall, the noble and simple fourteenth-century tomb of
an unknown knight, “perfect Gothic form.” In the choir are two important
works attributed to Ant. Riccio. R. wall, the ornate monument of Doge
Francesco Foscari (pp. 141, 151) (1457); L. wall, the mausoleum of Doge
Nicolo Tron (1473). The transition of Gothic to Renaissance is admirably
illustrated in these two works. Titian’s Assumption stood formerly over
the high altar. L. aisle beyond the baptistery is the Renaissance tomb
of Jacopo Pesare (1547). The inscription states that the buried bishop
conquered the Turks in war, and was transported from a noble family
among the Venetians to a nobler among the angels. The monstrous pile of
masonry beyond the Titian altar-piece (p. 195), erected to Doge Giovanni
Pesaro (1659) by Melchior Barthel (a German) and Longhena, qualified by
Ruskin as a huge accumulation of theatrical scenery in marble, will
illustrate even more clearly than the Valier tomb in S. Zanipolo the
depths of bad taste to which monumental art had fallen in the
seventeenth century.

Turning to the pictures, we note two altar-pieces (1474) by Bart.
Vivarini, St Mark enthroned, and a Virgin and Child with Saints. In the
third chapel L. of the choir is Alvise’s Apotheosis of St Ambrose.
Within the sacristy is treasured Giov. Bellini’s altar-piece, the Virgin
and Child with four saints (L., St Nicholas and another; R., SS.
Benedict and Bernadine), and two of the most exquisitely charming angels
in Venetian art. All the master’s qualities are here in their highest
manifestation--maternal tenderness; fervent, grave and virile piety; and
the joy of childhood. The picture makes a direct appeal to our finer
emotions and the traveller will prefer to remain in silent and reverent
appreciation without further intrusion of guide or critic. The Titian
altar-piece in the choir screen aisle, painted for Bishop Jacopo Pesaro,
affords an admirable contrast to the Bellini. Progress even in art must
be paid for. Although perfect in technique, grand in composition, rich
in colour, it yet lacks the atmosphere of tranquil devotion of the
earlier master. The doughty bishop, who is seen kneeling to the left,
had the picture painted to commemorate a small naval victory that he
gained when in charge of a papal fleet over the Turks (p. 164). Above is
the Virgin and Child to whom St Francis commends the kneeling Pesaro
family. At the Virgin’s feet sits St Peter who turns from his reading to
look on the donor below. Behind the latter stands a knight in full
armour holding in his right hand the papal standard crowned by a sprig
of laurel, and grasping in his left hand two Turkish captives in chains.
The portraits of the Pesari are in Titian’s most perfect manner. This
was a favourite of Sir Joshua Reynolds who describes it at length in
“The Journey to Flanders and Holland.” Crossing the bridge opposite the
main portal and turning L. we reach the great Monastery now the Record
Office of Venice (Archivio Centrale). It contains the most famous
collection of state documents in the world. The custodian will admit the
traveller to the noble double cloisters. We return to the Porta dei
Frari and further to the W. find the Scuola and church of S. Rocco.

Towards the end of the thirteenth century a young noble of Montpellier
found himself the master of great possessions, and following the
injunctions of Christ sold all that he had and gave it to the poor. He
set forth as a pilgrim to Rome and on his way passed plague-stricken
cities where he devoted himself to the service of the hospitals and by
his tenderness, sympathy and fervent prayers wrought many wondrous
cures. At length on his return from Rome he was stricken himself at
Piacenza and a horrible ulcer broke out on his thigh. Wishing to spare
his fellow-sufferers the sound of his groans he dragged himself to a
ruined hut in a deserted place hard by, where angels tended his sores
and a dog brought him daily bread. When healed he went back to his
native city but arrived so changed by suffering that he was arrested as
a spy and cast into prison. One morning after he had languished there
for five years the jailer on entering his dungeon saw it flooded with a
bright light, the prisoner dead, and a writing which promised healing to
all stricken by plague who should call on his name. In 1485 some
Venetians disguised as pilgrims carried off the saint’s body to Venice;
the Church of S. Rocco was erected to contain it and a guild founded in
his name for the tending of the sick and the burial of the dead. The
church, entrusted to Bart. Buon of Bergamo, was built in the
fifteenth century. The Scuola was begun about the same time (1490) by
the same architect, carried on by the Lombardi and Scarpagnino (1524-37)
and completed about 1550. Here during eighteen years Tintoretto worked
on the stupendous series of paintings which decorate the interior. They
are fully described and vigorously appreciated and depreciated by Ruskin
in the Venetian Index. The Adoration of the Magi, in the lower hall,
facing the entrance, he esteems to be “the most finished picture in the
Scuola except the Crucifixion.”

[Illustration: SCUOLA DI S. ROCCA.]

From the first landing as we ascend the stairs may be seen to the L. an
early Annunciation by Titian, refreshing in its repose and simplicity;
R. is Tintoretto’s Visitation.

On the walls of the upper hall are continued the scenes of New Testament
history begun in the lower. They are unequal in merit, and include,
according to Ruskin, two of the worst Tintorettos in Venice: The Last
Supper and the altar-piece, S. Rocco in Glory. The ceiling, decorated
with scenes from Old Testament history, is painted with all the master’s
force and decorative science.

The Crucifixion in the Guest-Chamber on the same floor is justly
esteemed as Tintoretto’s greatest work. On it he concentrated all his
art and all his majestic power. It was his favourite work, and when
Carracci’s plate was brought to him for approval he fell on the
engraver’s neck and kissed him. Opposite the Crucifixion is the Christ
before Pilate; over the door, an Ecce Homo. The series closes with the
Christ bearing His Cross. The ceiling is decorated with the Apotheosis
of S. Rocco (p. 210) and other allegorical figures. The choir stalls in
the large hall are beautifully carved with scenes from the life, of S.
Rocco by Giovanni Marchiori. In the small room to R. of entrance is an
early Titian, Ecce Homo, and the death-mask of Doge Alvise Mocenigo with
his ducal cap.


Tintoretto has here dealt with the story of the saint in his most
unequal fashion. Not all his art can make the scenes of disease and
death envisaged in so realistic a manner other than disagreeable. We
turn from their contemplation with relief to the noble and stately SS.
Christopher and Martin by Pordenone and to the latest of miracle-working
pictures, Christ led to Execution, by Titian, in the chapel to the R. of
the choir. In the vestibule of the sacristy is Pordenone’s fresco, St


     _S. Zaccaria--S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni--S. Francesco della Vigna_

We pass the N. portal of St Mark’s, follow the Calle di Canonica, turn
R., and first observing the beautiful façade of the Palazzo Trevisan,
associated with the memory of the notorious Bianca Cappello,[109] cross
the Ponte di Canonica. We continue E., cross the Ponte S. Provolo, pass
under a Gothic portal with a restored relief in the lunette of the
Virgin and Child, the Baptist and St Mark, and reach the Campo and
church of S. Zaccaria, once the chapel of the oldest, richest and most
extensive nunnery in Venice (now a barrack), and the burial-place of the
early Doges. The present church dates from the second half of the
fifteenth century. The visitor will infallibly be drawn to the altar on
the L. where stands Giovanni Bellini’s Virgin and Child with four
saints. R. of the enthroned Virgin stand SS. Lucy and Jerome: L., SS.
Catherine of Alexandria and Peter. Though imperfectly preserved and ill
seen its charm is indescribable. Feminine tenderness and virile
strength, fervent piety and dignity are expressed with all the lucidity
and winning grace of the master. It was painted in 1505 when he was
seventy-nine years of age.

The nuns’ choir, entered by a door on the right, has some fine choir
stalls by Marco da Vicenza, and some pictures, among them a doubtful
Palma Vecchio and a badly-preserved Tintoretto--the Birth of the
Baptist. The sacristan will open the chapel of S. Tarasius (p. 31) which
contains three gilded, carved altar-pieces of wood with paintings by
Giovanni Alemano and Antonio Vivarini. Each altar-piece is inscribed
with the name of the donatrix. The expert in the iconography of the
saints will find scope for his science in the interpretation of the
various symbols. The tomb of Alessandro Vittoria is in the L. aisle.

We return to the Campo S. Provolo and make our way N.E. to the little
oratory of S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni (Dalmatians), belonging to the lay
foundation (1451) of that name and built (1551) by Zuane Zon, master
mason of the arsenal. The foundation is still under Austrian
jurisdiction, and a rather poor endowment is helped by a yearly
contribution of two lire each from some hundred brethren, the Emperor of
Austria assisting by an annual subscription. Three Dalmatian priests
serve the chapel. St George’s Day, when high mass is sung and the upper
chamber is filled by the brethren and their friends, is a great
festival. During six years, 1502-8, Carpaccio was employed in decorating
the hall with scenes from the lives of three great Dalmatian saints, SS.
George, Tryphonius and Jerome. These charming and naïve paintings,
happily still in their original setting, have been described by Ruskin
in “St Mark’s Rest.”

L. of the entrance are two panels with scenes from the life of St
George. (1) The fight with the dragon; the young princess looks on with
clasped hands. The remains of the monster’s victims are a somewhat
gruesome detail. (2) The victor drags the slain beast, its head
transfixed by a dagger, into the city. The gorgeous dresses of the pagan
king, the princess and the oriental spectators, the quaint attempts at
local colour, and at investing the dragon with some degree of
fearsomeness, make the picture one of the most attractive of the series.
The story is concluded on the wall L. of the altar. (3) The saint
baptises the king and his daughter, carefully holding his cloak lest it
be spoiled by the water. This composition is rich in delightfully
conceived details of Eastern splendour. R. of the altar-piece (The
Virgin and Child by Catena) is a scene from the life of St Tryphonius.
He is portrayed as a lad subduing the basilisk which devastated Albania.
On the R. wall are the Agony in the Garden and the Calling of Matthew.
Then follow three scenes from the life of St Jerome. (1) The terror of
the monks at the sight of the lion; (2) death of the saint; (3) the
saint in his study translating the Scriptures. The furniture and
surroundings in this last, painted with loving care, betray the refined
taste of a Venetian scholar. A shelf of books, some manuscripts, an
orrery, works of art, objects of devotion, and, a homely detail--the
typical Venetian pet dog. The whole scene is pervaded with an atmosphere
of calm and studious retirement.

In a northerly direction, towards the Fondamente Nuove, is the great
church of S. Francesco della Vigna, whose site is associated with one of
the earliest legends of St Mark (p. 17). The land--one of the most
extensive vineyards in Venice--was bequeathed to the Franciscans in 1253
by Marco, son of Doge Pietro Ziani. The church was rebuilt (1534-62) by
Sansovino, modified subsequently by Palladio, who designed the imposing
façade. In a chapel to the R. in the S. transept is a Virgin and Child
by Negroponte. The figures are drawn with great fulness and beauty, and,
though much repainted, the picture, executed in 1450, is a remarkable
example of the Paduan master’s art. The church contains seven ducal
monuments; among them, L. of the choir, the tomb of Andrea Gritti
(1538). But of greater interest are the beautiful reliefs by Tullio,
Ant., and Sante Lombardi in the Giustiniani chapel, L. of the choir, of
the prophets and Evangelists, and eighteen scenes from New Testament
history. The church also contains two paintings by the Bergamasque
artists Franc. and Girolamo di Santa Croce (1500-50); a Holy Family and
a Resurrection by Veronese; and, in the chapel on the way to the old
cloisters, a Virgin and Child with four saints and donor by Giov.
Bellini, debased by re-painting.



     _The Riva degli Schiavoni--S. Maria della Pietà--Petrarch’s
     House--S. Giovanni in Bragora--S. Martino--The Arsenal--The Public
     Gardens--S. Pietro in Castello_

Turning S. from the Piazza we pass the Libreria Vecchia, designed by
Sansovino to contain the books left to the Republic by Petrarch and
Cardinal Bessarione and reach the two columns of grim memories, where
Browning delighted to

    The swallows soaring their eternal curve
    ’Twixt Theodore and Mark.”



To the W., on the site of the present royal gardens, stood the old
granaries of the Republic. We turn E., cross the Ponte della Paglia
(straw) where the barges laden with straw used to unload, and reach the
_Riva degli Schiavoni_, in olden times the most bustling quarter of
Venice. Here lived the Schiavoni (Dalmatian sailors), who manned the
galleons and argosies of the Republic. Here was the starting-point for
the galleys bound for the Holy Land. On the site of the present prison,
John the Englishman, in the fourteenth century, kept “The Dragon,” a
hostelry, with stables, much patronised by English pilgrims, for horses
were then almost as common in Venice as in other mediæval towns. Several
of the Doges had the finest stables in Italy, and horses and mules were
largely used by the Venetians. There was no wide Riva[110] in those
days, only a narrow fondamenta beyond the Molo, which was then a
projecting quay, the chief landing-stage of Venice. The Riva is the
favourite promenade of the Venetian _popolani_, and affords an
ever-changing scene of local colour for the stranger. We cross two
bridges to S. Maria della Pietà, which contains a masterpiece (Christ in
the House of the Pharisee) by Moretto, the Brescian painter (1498-1560),
in the upper choir at the S. end. Just over the next bridge (del
Sepolcro, so called because the pilgrims to and from the Holy Sepulchre
at Jerusalem lodged near), is the site of the house given by the
Republic to Petrarch. Here he lived with his married daughter,
entertained Boccaccio, and had a disputation with a notorious atheist of
Venice, whom he failed to convert, and ejected from the house.

We turn N., beyond the house, by the calle del Dose, and reach the
church of S. Giovanni in Bragora (the marshes). Here we shall find one
of the finest Cimas in Venice (The Baptism of Christ), unhappily
difficult to see as a whole, owing to its position behind the high
altar. It was painted in 1491. On a pillar, R. of the choir, is another
work by the same master--SS. Helena and Constantine; on a pillar to the
L. is Alvise Vivarini’s Resurrection, painted in 1498. The Virgin and
Child in the second chapel R. of the entrance is generally given to
Alvise, though by some critics attributed to Giov. Bellini. On the L.
wall is a Virgin and Child with the Baptist and St Andrew by Bartolomeo
Vivarini, painted in the same year. Beneath are three predelle by Cima,
with scenes from the Invention of the Cross. The church contains also a
doubtful Bissolo between the first and second chapels in the R. nave,
and a Last Supper by Paris Bordone, utterly disfigured by restoration,
in the L. nave.

On leaving, we turn again E. to the church of S. Martino, with a Bocca
del Leone (p. 248) in the façade. Just beyond the church we sight the
main portal of the great arsenal, once fortified with twelve
watch-towers and walls two miles in extent, paced night and day by
sentinels. The portal is flanked by the four Greek lions in marble
brought from the Porta Leoni at Athens by Francesco Morosini, and
surmounted by the Lion of St Mark and a statue of St Giustina by
Campagna, to commemorate the victory of Lepanto. The museum contains on
the first floor, among other objects of interest, models of Venetian
ships and galleys of all kinds, a small carved panel from an old
Bucintoro, and a fragment of a mast, all that remains of the last
Bucintoro which Goethe saw and described as not over-loaded with
decoration, since it was all decoration. A model of this gorgeous vessel
may be seen in the room. On the second floor is a collection of weapons
and spoils of war. The simple, noble statue of Vittor Pisani faces us as
we ascend the staircase. A striking contrast is afforded by Canova’s
sentimental monument to Angelo Emo. In the room are preserved the armour
of Doge Seb. Ziani, with closed visor and bearing a crest on the
cuirass, and of Seb. Venier, with open visor, and crest on cuirass; of
Henry IV. of France, and of the condottiero Gattamelata. We cross the
iron bridge to the L. of the portal of the arsenal, and return to the
Riva. We may now proceed past the church of S. Biagio to the Public


_S. Salvatore--Corte del Milione--S. Giovanni Grisostomo_


We take our way along the Merceria, past the church of S. Zulian, until
we come in sight of the tall apse of S. Salvatore. We enter from the
Merceria by the door of the L. aisle. S. Salvatore is one of the most
important examples of ecclesiastical Renaissance architecture in Venice.
Spavento, four of the Lombardi, Sansovino, Scamozzi and Longhena all
contributed at various periods to the building and decoration, not to
speak of more modern restorers. Here in the R. transept is the massive
memorial to unhappy Queen Catherine Cornaro by Bernardini Contino. A
finer specimen of monumental art is Sansovino’s tomb of Doge Franc.
Venier (1556), beyond the second altar in the R. aisle. The figures of
Faith and Charity, the former said to have been almost wholly carved by
the master in his eightieth year, are among the greatest achievements of
later Renaissance sculpture. Over the third altar is Titian’s
Annunciation and at the high altar his Transfiguration, both painted
when he was approaching ninety years of age; the latter, however, by
some critics is depreciated to a school painting. In the chapel L. of
choir is a most interesting, Christ at Emmaus, generally attributed to
Giovanni Bellini, but by Crowe and Cavalcaselle confidently assigned to
Carpaccio. Another critic (Molmenti) is convinced it is by no other hand
than that of Benedetto Diana.

Leaving by the front entrance we find ourselves on the Campo S.
Salvatore, where in olden times stood a water trough, and a fig tree to
which horses were tied, after the law of 1287 forbade equestrian traffic
along the Merceria. We turn R. by the new Merceria due Aprile, pass the
Goldoni statue, and cross the Ponte dell’ Olio to the church of S.
Giovanni Grisostomo. Before we enter, a slight deviation by the calle
Ufficio della Seta and the calle del Teatro (over a fruiterer’s shop
will be seen the inscription: PROVISORES SIRICI, p. 117) will bring us
on the R. to the entrance to the Corte Milione. On the N. side of this
court stood the house of the Polo family which Marco, then a lad of
seventeen, left in 1271, with his uncles Nicolo and Maffeo, for the
East. A quarter of a century later three travel-stained wanderers,
dressed in coarse garb of Tartar cut and speaking broken Venetian with a
Tartar accent, were at first refused admission by their kinsmen. The
three, to warm the affection of their relatives, invited them to a
sumptuous banquet, and when all were seated entered arrayed in flowing
crimson robes of satin. Having washed their hands, they retired and
returned clothed in crimson damask, and ordered the first dresses to be
cut up and distributed among the servants. After a few dishes a similar
change was made into crimson velvet and similarly disposed of. Again
they changed into dresses of ordinary fashion. When the nine suits had
been divided among the servants, Marco rose, went to his chamber, and
appeared with the old Tartar coats, and ripping them open with a knife,
showered on the table before his amazed guests a glittering and
inestimable treasure of jewels and precious stones. The thirteenth
century arched doorway and various fragments of sculptured stonework
imbedded in the walls of the neighbouring houses almost certainly formed
part of the original Polo mansion (p. 99).


[Illustration: THE RIALTO BRIDGE]

We return to the church of S. Giov. Grisostomo by Tullio or Moro
Lombardo. The finely proportioned interior holds one of the most
precious of Venetian paintings--the altar-piece by Giov. Bellini,
over the first chapel to the R., SS. Jerome, Christopher, and Augustine,
dated 1513. It is the last of his signed works, and was painted three
years before his death. At the high altar is Sebastiano del Piombo’s
sensuous painting of the patron saint, with the Baptist, SS. Augustine,
Liberale, Catherine of Alexandria, Agnes, and the Magdalen. Over the
second altar, L., is a fine relief by Tullio Lombardo. We note the fine
Renaissance well-head in the Campo, and retrace our steps to the foot of
the Rialto bridge and the pier on the Rio del Carbon.


_S. Moisè--S. Stefano--Site of the Aldine Press--Il Bovolo--S.
Vitale--S. Vio--The Salute--The Seminario_

From the S.W. angle of the Piazza a bustling street leads W. past S.
Moisè, a late seventeenth century church by A. Tremignan, whose amazing
façade was once thought beautiful. Traversing the Campi S. Maria
Zobenigo and S. Maurizio, we reach the large Campo Franc. Morosini. At
the N. end of the campo is the fine Gothic brick church of S. Stefano
(1294-1320). The principal portal and the windows of the W. front are by
the Massegne. The spacious interior contains several good Renaissance
monuments, the best being that of Jac. Suriano, L. of entrance; P.
Lombardo’s statues of SS. Jerome and Paul stand either side of the third
altar, L. aisle; those of the Baptist and St Anthony at either side of
the altar in the sacristy. The last is one of the master’s most perfect
works in Venice. Near these statues are Bart. Vivarini’s SS. Nicholas
and Lawrence. Morosini’s tomb is on the pavement of the nave. We quit
the church by the L. aisle, and enter the cloister, with some
fragmentary remains of Pordenone’s frescoes.

Crossing the cloister we emerge on the Campo S. Angelo, which we
traverse and walk along the Calle della Mandola to the Campo Manin, at
the farther end of which is the _Cassa di Risparmio_ (Savings Bank), on
the site of the old Aldine Press.

We retrace our steps, and before leaving the campo turn L. by the Calle
della Vida, again to the L., and on the R. down the Calle and Corte
Contarini del Bovolo reach a beautiful early Renaissance spiral
staircase and a Byzantine well-head. We return to the Campo Morosini, at
the farther end of which, on the R., is the church of S. Vitale (Vidal),
which has a late Carpaccio, S. Vitale on horseback, accompanied by
Valeria his wife, his sons Gervasius and Protasius, and other saints. We
cross the Grand Canal by the iron bridge, leave the Accademia to the R.,
turn E. by the calle Nuova S. Agnese, and, after crossing a bridge,
reach the church of S. Vio, demolished in 1813 and rebuilt in 1864. A
few of the fragments of Tiepolo’s house were incorporated in the new
building (p. 109). The church is only open once a year, S. Vio’s day,
but admission at other times may be obtained by applying at the stone
mason’s, next door. The Campo S. Vio is associated with one of the most
charming legends of Venice. Here lived the blessed Contessa
Tagliapietra, whose insistent devotion and frequent visits to a priest
at S. Maurizio, on the opposite side of the Grand Canal, were deemed
unseemly by her family. Entreaties proving vain, the ferrymen were
forbidden to row her across; whereupon the Countess took a thread, laid
it upon the waters, and crossed to her devotions without human aid.


[Illustration: S. MARIA DELLA SALUTE]

We continue E. and after some turning of corners, pass a picturesque
little shrine at the end of the calle Barbaro. We cross the Ponte S.
Gregorio and at length reach the great plague church of the Salute. The
interior contains over the third altar L., Titian’s somewhat faded but
still beautiful Descent of the Holy Ghost. The Virgin is drawn from the
same model as that of the Assumption in the Accademia. The small ceiling
medallions behind the high altar, the four Evangelists and four Fathers
of the Church are also by Titian. The St Matthew is the artist’s own
portrait. Over the altar of the sacristy is Titian’s St Mark enthroned,
attended by SS. Sebastian, Roch, Cosimo, and Damian (1513), sadly spoilt
by restoration. The ceiling paintings--the Death of Abel, Abraham’s
Sacrifice (Isaac is a lovely child), and David and Goliath are in
Titian’s later manner (1543). The space between the windows on the R.
wall is covered by Tintoretto’s Marriage at Cana. It is described at
length by Ruskin in the Venetian index and is esteemed by the great
critic to be “perhaps the most perfect example which human art has
produced of the utmost possible force and sharpness of shadow united
with richness of local colour.” In the sacristy are also a St Sebastian
by Paris Bordone, and two small oval paintings to the R. of the altar,
SS. Augustine and Nicholas, usually assigned to Ant. and Bart. Vivarini,
attributed, however, by Mr Berenson to Giambono. In the ante-sacristy is
a fifteenth century pietà in relief and an early painting (1339), The
Virgin and Child with the kneeling donors, Doge Francesco Dandolo, and
the Dogeressa Elisabetta, with their name saints.

E. of the Salute is the Seminario with a small collection of sculpture
and pictures. Ascending Longhena’s noble staircase we enter the Galleria
Manfredini, which contains works by Filippino Lippi and Veronese, and
Giorgione’s Apollo and Daphne (p. 202), probably painted for the panel
of a _cassone_ (bridal chest). The ferry from the Salute or the Dogana
point will land us near the Piazza.


     _SS. Apostoli-Palazzo Falier--I Gesuiti--I Crociferi--S.
     Caterina--S. Maria dell’ Orto--S. Marziale--Palazzo Giovanelli._
     (Admission to this last by application to the British Consul,
     traghetto S. Felice, Grand Canal.)

From the Ca’ d’Oro Pier on the Grand Canal a narrow calle leads into the
broad Corso Vitt. Emanuele, which we follow to the R. and reach the
church of the SS. Apostoli. Admirers of Tiepolo will find his St Lucy
receiving the Sacrament before her Martyrdom, at the altar of the
Cappella Corner to R. of entrance where are also two family monuments in
the best style of the Lombardi school. A Veronese school painting, the
Fall of Manna, is at the L. of the choir. The remains of Marino Falier’s
house are incorporated in the palazzo over the Ponte SS. Apostoli
opposite the church.

N.E. from the campo stands the church of the Gesuiti, built (1715) on
the site of the ruined church of the Crociferi in the base style of the
age. The interior, lavishly decorated with marble and inlay of _verde
antico_, is incredibly vulgar in taste and contains, first chapel L.,
Titian’s martyrdom of St Lawrence, painted in 1558 when the old painter
was under Michael Angelo’s influence. The work, which was generally
esteemed one of the most rare and remarkable of his creations, is now so
darkened by time as to be barely legible. The church possesses also an
Assumption by Tintoretto.

Nearly opposite the Gesuiti is the oratory of the Crociferi, with Palma
Giovane’s, Doge Cigogna visiting the Oratory, and six other paintings in
the artist’s best style. The room contains also a Flagellation by
Tintoretto and a ceiling painting, the Assumption, by Titian. The large
monastery buildings opposite, still bearing the device of the order
(three crosses), are now a barrack. We retrace our steps across the
campo. About a hundred yards along the fondamenta Zen is the entrance
to the little church of S. Caterina, which contains Veronese’s admirably
preserved Marriage of St Catherine (p. 211). The church has works by
Palma Giovane and the inevitable Tintoretto, but we have eyes alone for
the St Catherine, one of the most satisfying examples of the later
glories of the Venetian school.

In an outlying part of the city to the N.W. is the church of S. Maria
dell’ Orto. Cima’s Baptist with SS. Peter, Mark, Jerome and Paul, in a
marble setting by Leopardi (p. 200) stands over the first altar, R.
aisle. In the third chapel L., is Tintoretto’s Presentation at the
Temple, and in the Cappella Contarini, the same master’s St Agnes. Both
have been freely restored, the former, says Ruskin, “has been so daubed
as to be a ghastly ruin and a disgrace to modern Venice.” We turn to the
choir, R. and L. of which are Tintoretto’s huge canvases, the Last
Judgment, and the Worship of the Golden Calf. These are very highly
appreciated by Ruskin but “demand resolute study if the traveller is to
derive any pleasure from them.” Vasari, who saw them shortly after they
were painted, was impressed by the terrible yet capricious invention
displayed in the Last Judgment, but lamented the lack of care and
diligence which marred what might have been a stupendous creation.
Closely scrutinised, however, both seemed to him painted _da burla_ (in
jest). The first chapel L. of entrance has (R. wall) a Pietà by Lorenzo
Lotto, and over the altar an early Virgin and Child by Giov. Bellini
disastrously repainted. Over the sacristy door is a miracle-working
half-figure of the Virgin and Child (restored), which was discovered in
a garden in 1577 and gave the present name to the church (Our Lady of
the Garden). Verocchio, Leopardi and Tintoretto were buried in the
sacristy, but most of the tombs were defaced or destroyed by the
Austrians when the church was used as a military magazine in 1855.

Making our way southward we reach the church of S. Marziale, which
contains Titian’s Tobias, and Tintoretto’s last work, the Patron Saint
with SS. Peter and Paul. From the Campo S. Marziale we cross the Ponte
Zancani and the Ponte S. Fosca, noting the marble footmarks on the crown
(p. 305), and pass the statue of Paolo Sarpi erected near the spot where
the friar was stabbed. We continue our way by the church, and a short
distance to the L. along the Corso Vitt. Emanuele is the Palazzo
Giovanelli, one of the best examples of a restored patrician mansion of
the period of the Ducal Palace. The interior is sumptuously decorated,
and contains the most precious Giorgione in Venice, the so-called Family
of Giorgione (p. 202), referred to by a late contemporary as “a stormy
landscape with a gipsy and soldier.” Vasari complained that Giorgione’s
subjects were difficult to characterise by a phrase. In the foreground
on the L., with the characteristic Giorgione pose, stands a figure in
the flower of manhood holding a staff. The dress, suggesting both knight
and peasant, seems to typify the defender and sustainer of maternity
symbolised by the young mother sitting, to the R., on a sloping, sunlit
meadow, giving suck to her babe, both modelled with perfect naturalness
and beauty. Through the centre of the picture flows a mountain stream
crossed by a rustic bridge. In the background of the landscape, with its
graceful trees, rises the walled city of Castelfranco, Giorgione’s
birthplace, darkened by storm clouds rent by a flash of lightning. The
sunny foreground and the louring sky seem to tell of the vicissitudes of
human existence. A classic remain with two broken columns adds to the
pathetic beauty of this, one of the earliest paintings in which
landscape is transfused with human emotion and poetic sentiment.

Among other attractions the gallery possesses a portrait by Antonello, a
Santa Conversazione by Paris Bordone, a battle scene by Tintoretto, a
portrait by Titian, and a doubtful Giovanni Bellini, attributed by Mr
Berenson to Catena. In the ballroom are some very fine Venetian

[Illustration: RIO S. CASSIANO.]




     _The Rialto--S. Giacomo di Rialto--S. Giovanni Elemosinario--S.
     Cassiano--S. Maria Mater Domini--Museo Civico_

We cross the Rialto bridge, and in the campo on the farther side find
the little church of S. Giacomo di Rialto, according to tradition (p. 6)
the oldest in Venice. This spot, Shakespeare’s Rialto, was the focus of
the commercial life of the old Republic. The colonnade was covered with
frescoes, and possessed the famous planisphere or _mappa mondo_ showing
the routes of Venetian commerce over the world. Here the patricians were
wont to meet before noon to discourse together of private and public
affairs. The church, rebuilt and altered more than once, no longer
stands on its original site. It was removed in 1322, when the Rialto was
enlarged and a loggia made, that the merchants might meet under cover.
The beautiful relief of the Virgin and Child over the portico is
fourteenth-century work. The six columns of the nave are the sole
remains of the eleventh-century church, rebuilt by Doge Dom. Selvo. On
the exterior of the apse will be found the (Latin) inscription whose
discovery so delighted Ruskin: AROUND THIS TEMPLE LET THE MERCHANT’S LAW

[Illustration: EDICT STONE, RIALTO.]

On the farther side of the campo, opposite the W. front, is the
Hunchback of the Rialto (Il Gobbo di Rialto), restored in 1892, whence
in olden times the decrees of the Republic were promulgated. Beyond the
market is the church of S. Giovanni Elemosinario, early sixteenth
century, by Scarpagnino. The picturesque campanile has an interesting
relief below the cella of the bells. The high altar painting is by
Titian, the Patron Saint (St John the Almsgiver). In the chapel to the
R. is an altar-piece by Pordenone, SS. Sebastian, Roch and Mary
Magdalen. Above on the L. wall is a quaint relief, saved from the fire
which destroyed the old eleventh-century church.

We follow the hand pointing to the Museo Civico, and soon reach S.
Cassiano, containing three Tintorettos. The Crucifixion, held by Ruskin
to be one of the finest paintings in Europe by the master, is a most
remarkable and original treatment of the subject--a great and solemn
picture in excellent condition. The church has an altar-piece by Palma
Vecchio, The Baptist and four saints, said to be the first painted by
him at Venice, and three paintings by L. Bassano.

Following the indicator, we reach the little church of S. Maria Mater
Domini by one of the Lombardi: the façade by Sansovino. It is situated
in an interesting campo, where may be seen a few early Gothic houses
with some beautiful Byzantine reliefs and crosses. The church possesses,
second altar to the R., Catena’s S. Cristina. The angel to the left
holding the millstone is one of the most sweet and guileless of the
master’s creations (p. 201). In the R. transept is Tintoretto’s
Invention of the Cross. Opposite is a Last Supper attributed to

We at length reach the Museo Civico in the restored Fondaco de’ Turchi.
The original palace, the Ca’ Pesaro, was built for Giac. Palmieri, a
rich Guelf refugee from Pesaro, about 1230. In 1861 it was an imposing
and picturesque ruin, with a cherry tree growing and fruiting on one of
the turrets. In 1869 it was wholly restored (_Guasto e profanato_,
says Boni), all the beautiful capitals and columns were recut and
scraped, and subsequently anointed with oil to bring out the veining.


In the court are some fine examples of Venetian well-heads. 2nd Floor,
Room I. contains a collection of arms and banners, some of them captured
from the Turks, and fine standards of the Republic. In Room II.
are:--31, A late work by Carpaccio, The Visitation; 41, Lotto, The
Virgin and Child with SS. George and Jerome and kneeling donor; and a
number of characteristic scenes of Venetian life by Longhi and Guardi.
Rooms III., IV., V., VI. are wholly dominated by Francesco Morosini and
contain spoils of war, personal relics, among which are a book of hours
(concealing a pistol), a bust, a portrait, costumes, pictures of his
victories, models of galleys. Room VII. has an interesting and complete
set of oselle,[112] beginning (2200) from Doge Ant. Grimani to (2716)
Doge Ludovico Manin. Venetian coins, among which are cases of gold
Zecchini with a unique Marïn Falier, and medals of the Carraresi. Rooms
VIII. and IX. display some beautiful Venetian lace and rich stuffs;
costumes, fans, stilted shoes, and miniatures, a diagram showing the
method of electing a Doge, and a remarkable fifteenth-century wooden
staircase. Room X., besides some furniture, has, No. 14, a portrait of
Goldoni, and some paintings by Longhi. Room XI. has a miscellaneous
collection of reliefs from the burnt chapel of the Rosary at S.
Zanipolo; bronze works and ornaments. Room XII. contains a fine
collection of majolica ware and porcelain, and some glass, among which,
912, is a deep blue wedding goblet by the famous Berovieri of Murano.
Room XIV. has a precious collection of illuminated MSS. No. 70
(fifteenth century), (Leggenda dell’ apparizione di S. Marco) shows the
pillar near St Clement’s altar from which the hand of the saint is said
to have protruded. Here are also a number of Mariegole or guild
statutes, one of which (9) shows the Master of the Carpet-makers
submitting the statutes to Doge Foscari. A specimen of the manufacture
which has been presented to the Doge according to usage is hanging on
the balcony; 166 is a portrait of Paolo Sarpi and the dagger with which
he was stabbed. Room XV., 43, Basaiti, Virgin and Child with donor. 35,
Jac. Bellini, Crucifixion. Room XVI., 2, Alvise Vivarini, St Anthony of
Padua. 5, Carpaccio,[113] Two Courtezans with their pets: the stilted
shoes then worn by ladies are seen in this picture.[114] Four early
works by Giov. Bellini, (6) a Transfiguration, (3) a Pietà with a forged
signature of Dürer; (8) a Crucifixion, and (II) Christ mourned by Three
Angels. Portraits of Doge Giov. Mocenigo (16) by Gentile Bellini and
(19) a Bellini school painting of Doge Franc. Foscari.

The curious old church of S. Giacomo dall’ Orio stands S. of the Museo
Civico. The timber coved roof dates from the fourteenth century. On the
wall R. of the entrance is a fine picture (1511) SS. Sebastian, Lawrence
and Roch by Giov. Buonconsiglio, a Vicenzian painter of the early
sixteenth century, sometimes known as Marescalco. In the R. aisle is a
richly carved and gilded vaulted frieze beneath which is Franc.
Bassano’s Preaching of the Baptist, one of his most beautiful works:
opposite is an Ionic column of _verde antico_ of wonderful size and
beauty, one of the “jewel shafts”[115] referred to by Ruskin. In a
chapel in the L. aisle is a Lorenzo Lotto, Coronation of the Virgin with
SS. Andrew, James, Cosimo and Damian (1546). The picture, which has been
much restored, brought the artist 130 gold ducats.


     _S. Sebastiano--S. M. del Carmine--S. Pantaleone--The Cobblers’
     Guildhall--S. Polo--S. Apollinare_

We follow the route (Section XI.) to the Campo Morosini and turn R. by
the church of S. Vitale along the Campiello Loredan. After crossing two
bridges and turning an angle to the L., we reach the Campo S. Samuele.
The ferry across the Grand Canal will land us at the Calle del
Traghetto, which we follow to the Campo S. Barnabà. Crossing the Campo
obliquely we reach on the R. the Ponte dei Pugni, as its name implies,
one of the bridges where the faction fights between the Castellani and
Nicolotti used to take place. The former were distinguished by red, the
latter by black caps and scarves. These contests were favoured by the
Signory, in order, it is believed, to foster a warlike spirit among the
people, and were continued until 1705, when a peculiarly bloody affray
in which stones and knives were used, led to their abolition.[116] If
the traveller will mount to the crown of the bridge he will see two
footmarks in stone let into the paving on either side. Victory smiled on
that faction which could thrust their adversaries beyond the line marked
by the feet. The bridge then had no parapets and in the course of the
struggle many a champion fell into the canal. We resume our way along
the Fondamenta as far as the Ponte delle Pazienze. A turning opposite,
to the L., brings us to the Calle Lunga, which we follow to the R.
direct to the church of S. Sebastiano. No admirer of Veronese should
leave this church unvisited. Here the painter, when he came, a young man
of twenty seven, to try his fortune at Venice, received his first
commission to decorate the sacristy, owing to the influence of his uncle
the prior of the monastery. Veronese has made the walls of this temple
glorious with some of his greatest creations. Here he desired to be
buried, and his two sons and his brother (all fellow artists) piously
gave effect to his wishes, and a slab of marble on the pavement, with an
inscription, marks his resting-place under his bust to the R. of the
organ. A year after his work on the ceiling of the sacristy (the
Coronation of the Virgin and the Four Evangelists), he painted in 1556
the ceiling of the church with scenes from the Book of Esther. People
crowded to see these novel and daring compositions. At one flight he
rose to the highest plane of artistic excellence, to rank with the
veteran Titian, and with Tintoretto in the height of his fame. In these
creations the Veronese of the Ducal Palace is already revealed with his
daring perspective, the grand and victorious sweep of his powerful
brush, the pulsating life and movement of his figures. In the plenitude
of his genius he subsequently decorated the walls of the choir with two
scenes from the martyrdom of SS. Sebastiano, Marco and Marcellino (all
three victims of the Diocletian persecution), and the high altar with a
Virgin and Child with the Baptist, SS. Sebastian, Peter and Francis,
John the Baptist and Elizabeth. In the composition L. of the choir, St
Sebastian in armour clasping a banner is seen exhorting SS. Marco and
Marcellino to be faithful unto death, while their mothers at the top of
the steps entreat them to recant and live. Below, kneeling wives and
children add their supplications. This is esteemed by some the
masterpiece of the artist, who has painted his own portrait in the
figure of St Sebastian. To the R. of the choir is the Martyrdom of St

Veronese designed also the decorations of the organ and painted the
panels, (outside) the Purification of the Virgin, (inside) the Pool of
Bethesda. The church possesses three altar-pieces by the master (the
first altar has a St Nicholas by Titian), and the wall paintings in
fresco in the upper choir.

We retrace our steps to the Ponte delle Pazienze, which we cross, and
quickly reach the long basilica of S. Maria del Carmine, elaborately
renovated in the seventeenth century. The church contains a somewhat
faded Cima, Birth of Christ, with a characteristic landscape; an early
Tintoretto, the Purification of the Virgin; Lorenzo Lotto’s Apotheosis
of St Nicholas, with the Baptist, St Lucy, and angels bearing the
bishop’s mitre and crook. In a landscape to R. is seen St George slaying
the dragon; in the centre the Princess near a city by the sea; L. are
some peasants--a noble and poetic creation.


We leave by the door of the L. aisle, and make our way through the long
Campo S. Margarita to the church of S. Pantaleone, which we visit for
the sake of the fine altar-piece, a Coronation of the Virgin, by Giov.
Alemano and Antonio Vivarini in the chapel L. of the choir. What art was
able to accomplish four centuries later we may see by lifting our eyes
to the ceiling of the church over which expatiate Fumiani’s paintings of
the Martyrdom and Apotheosis of the patron-saint.

We leave the church on our left, and continue N.E. to the Campo S. Tomà.
Here we shall find the old Guild Hall of the Cobblers (_Scuola dei
Calerghi_) with a relief by Pietro Lombardo, St Mark healing the
cobbler. The quaint signs of the craft over the portal and Pietro’s
sculpture bear traces of the original colouring. We make our way E.,
passing the fourteenth-century Campanile of S. Polo, one of the finest
at Venice. At the base are carved in stone two lions, one of which has a
serpent coiled round its neck, the other holds a human head in its
claws. They are popularly supposed to symbolise the fate that overtook
Marin Faliero. We note on the L. the fine old Gothic S. portal of the
church, and emerge into the broad Campo S. Polo.

From the S.E. angle of the campo a way leads along the Calle della
Madonetta, and by the Calle del Perdon to the Campo S. Apollinare. On
the L., just before we emerge into the campo, are an inscription and a
medallion of Pope Alexander III., which mark his legendary resting-place
(p. 50). (Another tradition, however, indicates the portico of the old
church of S. Salvatore in the Merceria as the spot where he lay.) S.
from the campo a way leads to the S. Silvestro Pier on the Grand

[Illustration: TIMBER BOATS.]


_Giudecca--The Redentore--S. Trovaso_

A steamer leaves the Riva degli Schiavoni every hour for the S. Croce
Pier on the island of the Giudecca where stands Palladio’s masterpiece,
the plague church of the Redentore de’ Cappucini. The island, formerly
known as Spinalunga was assigned (_giudicata_) in the ninth century as a
place of banishment to certain of the nobles implicated in the murder of
Doge Tradenico. Hence according to some authorities its name: by others
it is believed to have been the ancient Jewry.

The fine proportion and symmetry make the interior of the church even
more impressive than that of S. Giorgio Maggiore. In the sacristy are
three early Venetian paintings once assigned to Giov. Bellini, now
generally attributed: (1) Virgin with the Sleeping Jesus attended by two
Angels to Alvise Vivarini (p. 196); (2) Virgin and Child with SS. John
and Catherine and (3) Virgin and Child with SS. Mark and Francis to
Bissolo. The last is by some critics attributed to Pasqualino, a feeble
imitator of Giov. Bellini.

We may return by the steamer that crosses every few minutes to the
fondamenta of the Zattere (rafts) so called because here the great rafts
of timber from the Alps were and still are landed, and follow the rio di
S. Trovaso, on which is a most picturesque _squero_ (boat builder’s)
purchased by the municipality of Venice to save it from destruction, to
the church of S. Trovaso. The church contains two Tintorettos of
interest. At the high altar is his Temptation of St Anthony. “A small
and very carefully finished picture, marvellously temperate and quiet in
treatment,” says Ruskin, who describes the painting in the Venetian
Index. There is little tranquillity in the other picture, the Last
Supper, in the L. transept. The whole scene is full of “bustle and
tumult” and in nearly all its details the composition is coarse and
irreverent. The moment chosen is when Christ has uttered the words, “One
of you shall betray Me.” An overturned rush-bottom chair is in the
foreground. One of the Apostles is leaning down to fill his glass from a
large fiasco of wine on the floor; another is in the act of lifting the
lid of a soup kettle; a cat is lapping up some of the soup. The solemn
scene is degraded to the level of a vulgar beanfeast.


_Palazzo Labia--S. Giobbe--The Ghetti--Gli Scalzi_

From the S. Geremia Pier on the Grand Canal we turn along the W. bank of
the Cannareggio and quickly reach the Pal. Labia. A hall on the first
floor is decorated by the finest of Tiepolo’s work existing in Venice.
We continue along the fondamenta and at length reach the grass-grown
campo, opposite the Ponte Tre Archi, on which stands the Franciscan
church of S. Giobbe attributed to Pietro Lombardo. The chief pictures of
interest are in the sacristy: the portrait of Doge Cristoforo Moro with
a careful representation of a ducal cap is a Bellini school painting; a
well-preserved Marriage of St Catherine is by Previtati in the master’s
most suave and gracious manner; there is also a not very convincing
tryptich by Ant. Vivarini. In the Ante-Sacristy is a much-restored
Savoldo, the Birth of Christ. Moro’s tomb is on the ground before the
altar in the beautiful chapel erected by the Doge to his personal friend
S. Bernardino. The chapel is a fine example of Pietro Lombardo’s
decorative genius and power.


[Illustration: CANNAREGGIO.]

The Ghetto Vecchio and the Ghetto Nuovo may be reached by crossing the
Ponte Tre Archi and following the E. bank of the Cannareggio to a
portico which gives access to the Jewry of Venice. The term Ghetto is
said to have originated from the fact that here were located the old and
new foundries for casting (_gettando_) the ordnance of the Republic. The
sites of the old and the new foundries (the Ghetto Vecchio and the
Ghetto Nuovo) were in 1516 assigned to the Jews for their quarter.
Little that is characteristic now remains. On the L. as we enter the
quarter is an inscription declaring the “firm intention of the
magistrates of the Republic to severely repress the sin of blasphemy
whether committed by Jews or converted Jews. They therefore have ordered
this proclamation to be carved in stone in the most frequented part of
the Ghetti, and threaten with the cord, stocks, whip, galleys or prisons
all who are guilty of blasphemy. Their Excellencies offer to receive
secret denunciations and to reward informers by a sum of a hundred
ducats to be taken from the property of the offender on conviction.”

We return to the fondamenta and pursue our way to the fine bridge on the
R. which spans the Cannareggio and leads to the railway station. We
cross the bridge and reach the church of S. Maria agli Scalzi (1648-89),
designed by Longhena. The façade by Sardi was restored by the Austrians
in 1853-62. The interior is condemned by Ruskin as a vulgar abuse of
marble in every way. The ceiling is frescoed by Tiepolo in his most
flamboyant style. This heavily decorated edifice (p. 195) was erected,
as its name implies, for Our Lady of the Shoeless Friars. Behind the
high altar is a doubtful Giov. Bellini. The last of the Doges, Ludovico
Manin, lies in this church.


_Titian’s House--S. Michele in Isola--Murano_

Few parts of Venice have suffered more from the disfigurement wrought by
national decadence, poverty and insensibility than that now bounded by
the _Fondamente nuove_. In the sixteenth century this was one of the
most charming quarters of the city. Here stood the smaller pleasure
palaces of the patricians, with delicious gardens sloping down to the
sea, whither they could retire after the business of the day to refresh
themselves and entertain their friends. The gardens gave on that
exquisite prospect where:--

                                “the hoar
    And aëry Alps towards the north appeared
    Thro’ mist an heaven-sustaining bulwark reared
    Between the east and west; and half the sky
    Was roofed with clouds of rich emblazonry.”

At evening over the face of the waters, fanned by the cooling breezes
of the north, glided the “black Tritons” of the lagoons, graced by the
wit and fashion and beauty of Venice. Salutation and repartee were
winged with laughter from mouth to mouth, and stanza alternating with
stanza of Tasso’s noble verse answered each other in song over the
rippling sea. Titian’s palace,[117] where the master entertained all who
were celebrated in art and literature, stood near the present
Fondamenta. While the tables were being laid the guests were taken to
see his great collection of pictures, then for a stroll about his
beautiful gardens. The banquet was arranged with delightful art; tables
were loaded with the most delicate viands and the most precious wines;
music of sweet voices and many instruments accompanied the feast.
Pleasures and amusements followed, suited to the season and the guests,
until midnight closed the revelry.

[Illustration: MURANO]

There was no brick wall then fencing about the fair island of S. Michele
with its beautiful churches, cloisters and gardens; no cloud of coal
smoke fouling the atmosphere of Murano, it too adorned with palaces and
lovely pleasaunces.

We make our way to the ferry steamer for Murano, which leaves the
Fondamente Nuove every quarter of an hour. How has the glory of Murano
departed--_Muranum delitiae et voluptas civium Venetorum!_ Its palaces
and pleasure grounds are said by an anonymous writer of the seventeenth
century[118] to be beautiful beyond description. Spacious chambers and
banqueting halls were hung with tapestry wrought with scenes from the
Punic wars, and furnished with the most precious and ornate productions
of Venetian craftsmen. Delicious gardens were traversed by artfully
designed paths and provided with arbours of interlaced foliage;
fountains, fish-ponds, cool grottos adorned with coral and shells in
charming taste, pastures gay with the manifold colours of flowers, and
trees bearing choicest fruits. Classic peristyles and _exedræ_,
decorated with paintings and arabesques, afforded shelter from the heat
of the sun or from rain, and invited to quiet converse.

On gaining the island of Murano we follow the Fondamenta Vetrai and soon
reach the church of S. Pietro Martire, which possesses Giov. Bellini’s
altar-piece (1488), the Virgin and Child, to whom St Mark presents Doge
Agostino Barbarigo. Notwithstanding the clumsiness of restorers this
remains one of the most precious of Venetian paintings.

We continue along the Fondamenta, and cross the Ponte Vivarini to the
ancient basilica of SS. Mary and Donatus. Legend tells of the Emperor
Otho I. caught in a fearful storm, and vowing, if saved, to build a
church to the Virgin, who appeared to him in a vision and indicated this
very triangular space, bright with a mass of red lilies, as the chosen
spot. To the basilica of S. Maria here erected, Doge Dom. Michele gave
in 1125 the body of S. Donatus and the bones of the slain dragon, which
are still suspended over the high altar. The story of the saint, as
related by the worthy sacristan of the church with dramatic gestures, is
as follows:--A terrible dragon once devastated Cephalonia, devouring the
inhabitants and poisoning the waters of the river up which it swam. The
good bishop Donatus determined to rid the land of the monster, and,
accompanied by his clergy, went towards the river to confront it. On its
appearance the clergy fled, but the saint boldly advanced alone and
spat at the beast, which at once fell dead. Donatus then took a cup, and
drinking of the water of the river, found it pure and sweet, called back
his clergy and showed them the dead monster.

The exterior of the apse, with its masterly decoration of coloured brick
and marble so lovingly described by Ruskin in the “Stones of Venice,” is
one of the most interesting examples of twelfth century Lombard
architecture in North Italy.

We enter and note the rare and precious pavement of the church which is
finer even than that of St Mark’s. Much of it has been broken up and
reset, but enough has remained undisturbed to rejoice the eye of the
traveller. The quaint designs are wrought of opus Alexandrinum,
porphyry, _verde antico_ and mosaic. A favourite subject is that of two
cocks bearing between them a fox with feet bound--the triumph of
watchfulness over cunning. The date, September 1, 1140, may still be
read on the pavement in the middle of the nave near the main entrance.
The tall, solitary figure of the Virgin in the act of blessing in the
apse is a twelfth-century mosaic. An example of Sebastiani’s
work--Virgin and Child with the Baptist, St Donatus and the donor
(1484)--will be found in the L. aisle.

The local museum possesses a unique collection of Venetian glass of the
finest period by the Berovieri family and the Dalmatian Zorzi il
Ballerin, some of the ancient luminous red glass contrasted with a
modern imitation, and a Libro d’Oro with genealogies of members of this,
the closest of the guilds of Venice (p. 213). Descendants of the
Berovieri still work for Salviati.


_Torcello--S. Francesco del Deserto_

The poor and almost desolate island of Torcello lies N.E. of Murano and
may be reached by steamer, or by gondola with two rowers.

The ride by gondola is a delightful experience. As we are urged along
the channels by the stalwart gondoliers with rhythmic strokes, lagoons,
islands and mainland villages unfold themselves to our sight. A little
group of cottages amid some poplars to the N.W. is all that remains of
the once great and rich Roman city of Altinum. To the N.E., among the
islands and groups of trees that seem to float mysteriously poised in
the soft grey vaporous atmosphere, is S. Francesco del Deserto, with its
cypress groves and solitary stone pine, where St Francis bade his little
sisters the birds keep silence while he prayed (p. 73).

The tall, square campanile of Torcello has long been in view. We pass St
James of the Marshes (S. Giacomo della Palude), now a powder magazine,
then Burano, and at length enter a canal, pass under a decayed
bridge,[119] and are landed at the edge of a sloping plot of grass, once
the busy market-place of an important city. The cathedral of S. Maria
has been twice restored or rebuilt (864 and 1088), but much of the
material and probably the apse of the original basilica still survive in
the actual fabric. Less than fifteen years since could be seen the old
episcopal throne and semi-circular tiers of seats worn by generations of
Christian pastors[120] as they sat amid their clergy facing the people.
But the seats have been rebuilt and the throne partly restored with
ill-fitting slabs of cheap Carrara marble. We remember visiting the
cathedral shortly after the renewal with a young Italian architect, who,
to our expression of pained surprise, replied, _Ma signore, era in
disordine_ (but, sir, it was so untidy). There is no _disordine_ now in
the scraped and restored interior. Many of the original marbles, with
beautiful and virile designs, however, still remain in the chancel; and
in the facings of the pulpit stairs, hewn into blocks and placed in
position by the old builders with small regard for continuity of design,
we may perhaps gaze on the very stones brought from the mainland at the
time of the great migration under Bishop Paul. The restored
thirteenth-century mosaic of the Last Judgment on the W. wall, with its
ingenuous realism and grim humour, is unrelated in style to anything in
St Mark’s, and is the analogue of many a sculptured Gothic west front in
northern Europe. The mosaic in the apse, the Virgin and the Twelve
Apostles, with an Annunciation on the spandrils, is Byzantine in style,
and believed by Saccardo to be late seventh-century work.

We note the old stone shutters of the windows as we pass to the
campanile, which lost one-third of its height by a lightning stroke in
1640. A magnificent view of the lagoons and the mainland is obtained
from the summit. The remarkable little church of S. Fosca, with its
picturesque portico round the apse, is Byzantine in plan, and was in
existence before 1011. It was restored in 1247 and again later. The
cupola has disappeared and is replaced by a low tiled roof, but the four
arches which carried the old dome still remain. A rudely-carved font of
alabaster is worth notice. On our way back we may touch at the island of
S. Francesco del Deserto. The friars give a gracious welcome, but true
followers of the _poverello_ that they are, will accept no gifts in
return save reverence and courtesy. A little church and monastery were
built around the spot where St Francis prayed, and a small brotherhood
have for seven centuries kept unbroken the traditions of their gentle


_S. Nicolo del Lido_

From the Riva degli Schiavoni, and from any pier on the Grand Canal,
steamers at frequent intervals will carry the traveller to the _Lido di
Malamocco_, popularly known as _the_ lido, one of the narrow sandbanks
which, aided by the wit and industry of man, have preserved Venice from
destruction by the patiently eroding, and at times, fiercely aggressive
waves of the Adriatic. In earliest times it was covered with pine
forest, and many an ancient Doge went hawking there. The Adriatic side,
a line of bare, desolate sand dunes, visited only by a few lone
fishermen when Byron used to take his daily rides on horseback to and
fro between the fort and Malamocco, is now the most frequented
bathing-station in North Italy. Along the shore “more barren than the
billows of the ocean,” Byron and Shelley rode one evening, and as the
sun was sinking held that pregnant talk

    “Concerning God, Freewill and Destiny,”

which is immortalised in _Julian and Maddalo_.

As the vessel steams along St Mark’s Channel, will be seen on the left
the once fair island of S. Elena, where the ashes of the mother of
Constantine, the discoverer of the True Cross, are reputed to rest, and
where many famous scions of the Giustiniani and Loredano families lie
buried. But Vulcan has now laid his sooty hand upon it. The old
monastery walls with their romantic investure of the _erba della
Madonna_ and other mural plants, the cloister with its gardens and
tangle of rose-bushes, are now demolished to give place to an
iron-foundry; the church, once so magnificent within that it seemed a
miracle of sumptuous decoration,[121] is now a machine-room (_magazzino
da macchine_) and tall smoke-stacks smirch the sky.

[Illustration: VENICE FROM THE LIDO.]

The wanderer who cares for the more silent and intimate charm of Venice
will, on the arrival of the steamer, turn aside from the thronged and
dusty road to the bathing pavilion, follow to the N.E. the Via S.
Nicolo, and walk[122] along the shore by meadows bright in spring-time
with blue salvia and the star of Bethlehem to the restored
eleventh-century church of S. Nicolo inside the fort. The tomb of the
founder (Doge Dom. Contarini) stands over the portal, and in a small
chamber in the L. transept, now used as a lumber room, a short
inscription of a dozen words tells that there lie the ashes of the stout
old Imperial Vicar, “Famous Taurello Salinguerra, sole i’ the
world,”[123] who for seven months held Ferrara (p. 77) for his master,
the great Frederick, against the allied forces of the Venetians and of
the Lombard League. Here in olden times the galleys and argosies of the
Republic called to take in sweet water for the voyage and to pray for
protection to the mariners’ patron saint, and here stood a fair and
costly lighthouse. We retrace our steps to the Jewish cemetery and turn
L. down a country lane which we follow as far as the Villa la Favorita;
we turn again L. and reach the shore of the open Adriatic, saturated
with indescribable tones of blue, from palest turquoise to deepest
ultramarine, and dotted with the rich yellow and orange sails of fishing

The walk may be pursued along the grass-grown ramparts of the old
Austrian fort to the left, or we may turn to the more material
seductions of the Stabilimento dei Bagni to the right.




A still finer view of the Lidi is obtained by a voyage to Chioggia and
back on the steamers which start from the Riva some half-dozen times
daily, and if the voyager happen on a sunny, vaporous day he will enjoy
a feast of gorgeous colour almost cloying in its richness.

On loosing from the Riva we steam along the canal Orfano, the legendary
scene of the slaughter of the Franks and pass the islands of S. Servolo
(now the lunatic asylum), S. Lazzaro with the Armenian convent and
printing-press, S. Spirito and Poveglia. Beyond the porto of Malamocco
on the lido of Pellestrina, a few hundred yards to the south of S.
Pietro in Volta, stands the little village of Porto Secco on the
filled-up porto of Albiola, where the first stand was made against Pepin
and his host (p. 16). The beautiful lines of the low-lying Euganean
hills have long been in sight, and the richly coloured sails of the
Chioggian fishing craft. We pass the porto of Chioggia and enter the
harbour. It is said that the old Venetians were wont to distinguish each
of the porti by the colour of the water that flowed through: Tre Porti
on the N., which gives on the Torcello and Burano group of islands,
being yellow; S. Erasmo (now filled up), blue; Lido, red; Malamocco,
green; Chioggia, purple. Chioggia, to the jaded sightseer, has the
inestimable advantage of offering nothing of interest save the
descendants of a fine and stalwart race of islanders still retaining
some of their old characteristic traits of costume and language. The
admirable view of Venice as we return in the evening, gradually rising
with her domes and towers from the sea, is not the least delightful part
of a restful and charming excursion.


“The word _Venetia_,” says Francesco Sansovino, “is interpreted by some
to mean VENI ETIAM, which is to say, ‘Come again and again’; for how
many times soever thou shalt come, new things and new beauties thou
shalt see.”



  Paolo Anafesta, A.D. 697-717.
  Marcello Tegaliano, 717-726.
  Orso Ipato, 726-737.
  Six Mastro Miles, 737-742.
  Orso Diodato, 742-755.
  Galla Gaulo, 755-756.
  Domenico Monegaro, 756-765.
  Maurizio Galbaio, 764-787.
  Giovanni Galbaio, 787-804.
  Obelerio de’ Antenori, 804-809.
  Angelo Participazio, 809-827.
  Giustiniano Participazio, 827-829.
  Giovanni Participazio I., 829-836.
  Pietro Tradenico, 836-864.
  Orso Participazio I., 864-881.
  Giovanni Participazio II., 881-887.
  Pietro Candiano I., 887-888.
  Pietro Tribuno, 888-912.
  Orso Participazio II., 912-932.
  Pietro Candiano II., 932-939.
  Pietro Participazio, 939-942.
  Pietro Candiano III., 942-959.
  Pietro Candiano IV., 959-976.
  Pietro Orseolo I., 976-977.
  Vitali Candiano, 977-978.
  Pietro Memo, 978-991.
  Pietro Orseolo II., 991-1008.
  Otho Orseolo, 1008-1025.
  Domenico Centranico, 1026-1032.
  Domenico Flabianico, 1032-1043.
  Domenico Contarini, 1043-1071.
  Domenico Selvo, 1071-1084.
  Vitale Falier, 1085-1096.
  Vitale Michieli I., 1096-1102.
  Ordelafo Falier, 1102-1117.
  Domenico Michieli, 1117-1130.
  Pietro Polani, 1130-1148.
  Domenico Morosini, 1148-1156.
  Vitale Michieli II., 1156-1172.
  Sebastiano Ziani, 1173-1178.
  Orio Malipiero, 1178-1192.
  Enrico Dandolo, 1193-1205.
  Pietro Ziani, 1205-1229.
  Giacomo Tiepolo, 1229-1249.
  Marin Morosini, 1249-1252.
  Renier Zeno, 1253-1268.
  Lorenzo Tiepolo, 1268-1275.
  Jacopo Contarini, 1275-1280.
  Giovanni Dandolo, 1280-1289.
  Pietro Gradenigo, 1289-1311.
  Giorgio Marin, 1311-1312.
  Giovanni Soranzo, 1312-1328.
  Francesco Dandolo, 1329-1339.
  Bartolomeo Gradenigo, 1339-1342.
  Andrea Dandolo, 1343-1354.
  Marin Faliero, 1354-1355.
  Giovanni Gradenigo, 1355-1356.
  Giovanni Dolfino, 1356-1361.
  Lorenzo Celsi, 1361-1365.
  Marco Cornaro, 1365-1368.
  Andrea Contarini, 1368-1382.
  Michele Morosini, 1382.
  Antonio Venier, 1382-1400.
  Michel Steno, 1400-1413.
  Tomaso Mocenigo, 1414-1423.
  Francesco Foscari, 1423-1457.
  Pasquale Malipiero, 1457-1462.
  Cristoforo Moro, 1462-1471.
  Nicolo Tron, 1471-1473.
  Nicolo Marcello, 1473-1474.
  Pietro Mocenigo, 1474-1476.
  Andrea Vendramin, 1476-1478.
  Giovanni Mocenigo, 1478-1485.
  Marco Barbarigo, 1485-1486.
  Agostino Barbarigo, 1486-1501.
  Leonardo Loredano, 1501-1521.
  Antonio Grimani, 1521-1523.
  Andrea Gritti, 1523-1539.
  Pietro Lando, 1539-1545.
  Francesco Donato, 1545-1553.
  Marc’antonio Trevisano, 1553-1554.
  Francesco Venier, 1554-1556.
  Lorenzo Priuli, 1556-1559.
  Girolamo Priuli, 1559-1567.
  Pietro Loredano, 1567-1570.
  Luigi Mocenigo, 1570-1577.
  Sebastiano Venier, 1577-1578.
  Nicolo da Ponte, 1578-1585.
  Pasquale Cicogna, 1585-1595.
  Marin Grimani, 1595-1606.
  Leonardo Donato, 1606-1612.
  Marc’antonio Memo, 1612-1615.
  Giovanni Bembo, 1615-1618.
  Nicolo Donato, 1618.
  Antonio Priuli, 1618-1623.
  Francesco Contarini, 1623-1624.
  Giovanni Cornare, 1624-1630.
  Nicolo Contarini, 1630-1631.
  Francesco Erizzo, 1631-1646.
  Francesco Molini, 1646-1655.
  Carlo Contarini, 1655-1656.
  Francesco Cornaro, 1656.
  Bertuccio Valieri, 1656-1658.
  Giovanni Pesaro, 1658-1659.
  Domenico Contarini, 1659-1674.
  Nicolo Sagredo, 1674-1676.
  Luigi Contarini, 1676-1683.
  Marc’antonio Giustiniani, 1683-1688.
  Francesco Morosini, 1688-1694.
  Silvestre Valier, 1694-1700.
  Luigi Mocenigo, 1700-1709.
  Giovanni Cornaro, 1709-1722.
  Sebastiano Mocenigo, 1722-1732.
  Carlo Ruzzini, 1732-1735.
  Luigi Pisani, 1735-1741.
  Pietro Grimani, 1741-1752.
  Francesco Loredano, 1752-1762.
  Marco Foscarini, 1762-1763.
  Luigi Mocenigo, 1763-1779.
  Paolo Renier, 1779-1789.
  Ludovico Manin, 1789-1797.



_General Histories._

BROWN, H. R. F.--“Venice: A Historical Sketch of the Republic.” London.

         “Venice” in the Cambridge Modern History. Vol. i.
Cambridge. 1902.

         “The Venetian Republic.” Temple Primers.
London. 1902.

DARU, P.--“Histoire de la République de Venise.” 8 Vols. Paris. 1821.

FILIASI, G.--“Memorie storiche dei Veneti.” 7 Vols. Padua. 1811-14.

FOUGASSES, T. DE--“Generall Historie of the Magnificent State of
Venice.” Translated by Shute, W. London. 1612.

HAZLITT, W. C.--“The Venetian Republic.” 2 Vols. London. 1900.

HODGSON, F.--“The Early History of Venice.” London. 1901.

MICHELET, J.--“Histoire de France. Vol. x. 1879.

PEARS, E.--“The Fall of Constantinople.” London. 1885.

ROMANIN, S.--“Storia documentata di Venezia.” 10 Vols. Venice. 1853.


ALTINATE, CRONACA, and CANALE, M. DE.--“La Cronica dei Veneziani.
Archivio Storico Italiano.” Vol. viii. Florence. 1842.

COMINES, P. DE.--“Les Mémoires.” Lyons. 1559.

MALIPIERO, D.--“Annali Veneti. Archivio Storico Italiano.” Vol. vii.
Florence. 1842.

ROMUALDI II.--“Archiepiscopo Salernatini Chronicon. Muratori.” Rer.
Ital. Script. Vol. vii.

SANUDO, M.--“Diarii di.” (In course of publication.) Venice. 1879-1902.

”        “Vite de’ Duchi de Venezia.” Muratori. Rer. Ital. Script.
            Vol. xxii.

”        “Ragguali sulla Vita e sulle Opere di.” Brown, R. 2
            Vols. Venice. 1837.

“Venetian Calendar of State Papers.” 10 Vols. London. 1864-1900.

VILLEHARDOUIN, G. DE.--“La Conquête de Constantinople.” Edited by
Bouchet, E. 2 Vols. Paris. 1891.


“Architecture, Dictionary of.” London. 1892.

BERENSON, B.--“Lorenzo Lotto.” London. 1901.

”         “Study and Criticism of Italian Art.” London. 1901.

”         “Venetian Painters of the Renaissance.” London. 1899.

BURCKHARDT, J.--“Der Cicerone.” Edited by Bode, W. 2 Vols. Leipzig.

CROWE and CAVALCASELLE.--“A History of Painting in N. Italy.” 2 Vols.
London. 1871.

”            “         “Life and Times of Titian.” 2 Vols.
                          London. 1881.

JAMESON, Mrs.--“Sacred and Legendary Art.” 2 Vols. London. 1890.

KUGLER.--“Handbook of Painting.” Edited by Layard, A. H. London. 1887.

LAFENESTRE, G.--“La Peinture en Europe--Venise.” Paris.

LEVI, C. A.--“I Campanili.” Venice. 1870.

LUDWIG, G.--“Jahrbuch der königlich-preussichen Kunstsammlungen.” Vols.
xxii. and xxiii. Berlin. 1901-1902.

MELANI, A.--“Architettura italiana.” Milan. 4a edizione.

MORELLI, G.--“Italian Masters in German Galleries.” Translated by
Richter, L. M. London. 1883.

MORELLI, G.--“Italian Painters.” Translated by Foulkes, C. F. London.

PAOLETTI, P.--“Catalogo delle R. R. Gallerie di Venezia.” Venice. 1903.

RUSKIN, J.--“The Stones of Venice.” 3 Vols. Orpington. 1886.

  “         “St Mark’s Rest.” 1 Vol. Orpington. 1884.

  “         “A Guide to the Principal Pictures in the Academy of Fine
Arts at Venice.” Venice. 1887.

SACCARDO, P.--“Les Mosaïques de S. Marc à Venise.” Venice. 1897.

SANSOVINO, F.--“Venezia Città nobilissima.” Venice. 1580.

VASARI, G.--“Le Vite dei più excellenti Pittori,” etc. Edited by
Milanesi, G. 1878.

  “         “Lives,” etc. Translated by Hinds, A. B. Temple
Classics. London. 1900.

ZANOTTO, F.--“Il Palazzo ducale.” Venice. 1841-61.

WOODS, J.--“Letters of an Architect.” Vol. i. London. 1828.


BROWN, H. R. F.--“Life in the Lagoons.” London. 1900.

CENTELLI, A.--“Caterina Cornare e il suo Regno.” Venice. 1892.

CORONELLI, P.--“Armi Blasoni,” etc. Venice. 1700.

DIDOT, F.--“Aide Manuce.” Paris. 1875.

GOZZI, C.--“Memoirs.” Translated by J. A. Symonds. 1889.

HOWELL, J.--“Familiar Letters.” Temple Classics. London. 1903.

MIDDLETON, J. H., and YRIATE, C.--“Venice”; Encyclopædia Britannica.

MOLMENTI, P.--“Calli e Canali di Venezia.” Venice. 1890.

    “         “Venezia: Nuovi Studi di Storia e d’ Arte.” Florence.

    “         “Studi e Ricerche di Storia e d’ Arte.” Turin. 1892.

MORYSON, FYNES.--“Itinerary.” London. 1617.

ROBERTSON, A.--“The Bible of St Mark.” London. 1898.

SYMONDS, J. A.--“Bergamo and Bart. Colleoni: Sketches and Studies in
Southern Europe.” Vol. ii. New York. 1880.

TASSINI, A.--“Curiosità Veneziane.” Venice. 1897.

VORAGINE, J. DE--“The Golden Legend.” Englished by William Caxton.
Temple Classics. London. 1900.

YRIATE, C.--“La Vie d’un Patricien de Venise.” Venice. 1886.

ZANOTTO, F.--“I Pozzi ed i Piombi, antiche Prigioni di Stato della
Repubblica di Venezia.” Venice. 1876.



Accademia, 252-263

Albiola, porto of, 16, 323

Aldine Press, site of, 296

Aristocracy, their growing power, 74

Arsenal, the, 292
---- foundation of, 41


Bajamonte Conspiracy, 107-109

Barbarossa and Pope Alexander, 48

Boccaccio at Venice, 291

Bocche di Leoni, 248, 292

Bovolo, il, 296

Brides of St Mark, story of, 23

Brienne, John of, Latin Emperor of the East, 75

Brienne, Walter of, his defection, 59

Bronze Horses, from Constantinople, 68

Bucintoro, 53, 78


Cabinet, the, 102

Cabot, Sebastiano, and the Ten, 172

Cambrai, League of, 146, 156, 165-167

Cambrai, peace of, 170-172

Campanile, the, 22, 44
---- fall of, 219

Canal, Grand, 263-275

Cape route, discovery of, 159

_Capi_ of the Ten, 110, 112, note

Cappello, Bianca, 286, note

Carlo Zeno, 130, 137

Carmagnola, his strategy, 142, 143
---- capture and execution, 143, 144

Carraras, the, 118, 119, 136, 137

Cassiodorus, letter of, to the _Tribuni Maritimi_, 6

Castle of Love at Treviso, 72

Charlemagne defeats the Lombards, 11

Chioggia, 322
---- relief of, 134
---- war of, 131

Cobblers’ Guildhall, 308

“Cobden Madonna,” 93, 251

Colleoni, statue of, 280

Columns of St Mark and St Theodore, raising of, 53

Comines, Philippe de, his impressions of Venice, 160

Comnenian dynasty, 62

Constantinople, first capture of, by Venetians and Franks, 64

Constantinople, second capture and sack of, 67

Corn Office, 93

Cornaro, Caterina, 157, 159

Coronation oath, 55, 74

Council, closing of Great, 101

Cretan war, the, 181-183

Crichton, the Admirable, at Venice, 178

Crociferi, oratory of the, 298

Crown of Thorns pawned, 76

Crusade, fourth, 56-67

Crusades, attitude of Venetians towards, 38

Cyprus, acquisition of, 157, 158


Da Canale writes the history of the Venetians in French, 86

---- his description of Venice, 87

---- his description of a ducal election festival, 90

Dalmatia, loss of, 127

---- protectorate of, 29

---- recovery of, 138

Dalmatian pirates, 21, 28

Dante at Venice, 117

Despots, Italian, 118

Dogado, the extent of, 2

Doge, election of first, 8

---- his power and state, 8, 9

---- limitation of powers of, 32, 33

Ducal Council, origin of, 33

Ducal Palace, 17, 241-251

Ducat of gold first coined, 95


East, conquests of Venetians in the, 68

Eccelino da Romano, death of, and rejoicings at Venice, 86

Election of Doge, complicated machinery for, 88

English goods branded at Venice, 105

English knights at Venice, 128

---- soldiers in Venetian service, their prowess, 136

Erasmus at Venice, 213


Factions, aristocratic (Heraclia) and democratic (Malamocco), 9, 10, 12, 13

Factions, Caloprini and Orseoli, 28

---- Nicolotti and Castellani, 305

Faliero, Marin, his house, 298

---- his victory at Zara and embassy to Genoa, 122

Faliero, Marin, treason and execution of, 124, 126

Ferrara, defeat of Venetians at, 107

---- siege of, 77

Festivals at Venice, 184, 185

Fisherman and St Mark, legend of, 120

Fleets, trading, 104

Florence appeals for a Venetian alliance, 141

Foscari, Francesco, his forward policy, 140, 146, 151

Foscari, Francesco, degradation and death, 149, 150

Foscari, Jacopo, his trial, 147, 148

---- his exile and death, 149

Foscarini, Antonio, executed unjustly, 180

Frari, S. Maria Gloriosa dei, 281-284

French, defeat of, at Fornova, 162

Friuli, occupation of, 138


Galileo at Padua, 178

Galley, value of cargo of, 104

---- comparative size of, 105

Genoa, defeat of, 82, 85

---- origin of war with, 81

Genoese crushed by Venetians off Lojero, 122

Genoese, defeat of Venetians by, 97

Gesuiti, the, 298

Ghetti, the, 310

Giudecca, island of, 309

Glass-workers, 212, 213

Goethe at Venice, 186, 246

Golden Book, the, 102

Goldoni, 214, note
---- statue of, 293

Grado and Aquileia, jealousy of Patriarchs of, 32

Great Council, origin of, 47

Greek islands, occupation of, 139

Greeks recapture Constantinople, 83


Holy Roman Empire, Dante and, 45

Horses at Venice, 291, 293

Hunchback of the Rialto, 302


Inquisition, Holy, introduction of, at Venice, 79

Inquisitors of State, 111, 112

---- of the dead Doge, 74

_Interdetto_, conflict of the, 175-177


Lagosta, capture of, 29

Lepanto, victory of, 173-175

Libreria Vecchia, 289

Lido, the, 320

Lighting of streets, 44

Lombard invaders, 3, 4

Loss and recovery of mainland provinces, 167-169


Mainland, aggrandisement on, 106
---- war policy on, 119

Malamocco, Old, where situated, 15, note

Manuel, orders spoliation of Venetian traders at Constantinople, 46

Marco Polo, his travels, 98
---- joins Venetian fleet, and is taken prisoner at Curzola, 99

Marco Polo, site of his house, 99, 293

Merceria, the, 218

Mocenigo, Tomaso, his wise counsel, 140, 141

Morea, the loss of, 153, 183

Murano, 316

Murzuphles, his _coup d’état_ at Constantinople, 66

Museo Civico, 303, 304


Normans, conflicts with, 35


Oligarchy, rise of, 100

Olivolo becomes Castello, 22

Oselle, 303, note

Othello, Rawdon Brown’s identification of, 153, note

Otho II., his preparation to crush Venice, and death, 28


Padua, occupation of, 187

Painters, Venetian, 195-212

Palazzo Giovanelli, 300

---- Labia, 310

Papal States, occupation of, by Venice, 164

Paradiso, calle and Ponte di, 276

Pepin, attack on Venetians by, 14, 15, 16

Petrarch at Venice, 123, 127, 129

Petrarch, his house at Venice, 291

Piazza, the, 219-222

Piombi, Pozzi and, 115, 116

Pisani, Victor, his release and triumph, 132

Plague, the, at Venice, 183

Ponte dei Pugni, 305

Pope Alexander III., his legendary resting-place, 308

Porti, their traditional colours, 323

Possessions on mainland, 146, 156

Prince in pawn, a, 83

Printers, 213, 214

Prisons, their position, 115

Privy Council, the, 102

Providence, the vote of, 71


Rialto, foundation of united Venetians at, 16

RIALTO, the, 301


SS. Apostoli, 298

S. Cassiano, 302

S. Caterina, 299

S. Elena, 321

S. Francesco del Deserto, 319

---- della Vigna, 288

St Francis at Venice, 73

---- and Walter of Brienne, 59

S. Giacomo dall’ Orio, 304

---- di Rialto, 301

S. Giobbe, 310

S. Giorgio Maggiore, 274, 309

S. Giovanni in Bragora, 291

---- Grisostomo, 294

---- Elemosinario, 302

St Louis and the Crown of Thorns, 76

S. Maria del Carmine, 307

---- Formosa, 276

---- Mater Domini, 302

---- dei Miracoli, 280

---- dell’ Orto, 299

---- agli Scalzi, 313

St Mark, Basilica of, 20, 27, 222-241

---- fisherman and, 121

---- legends of, 17, 18, 19

---- rediscovery of body of, 36, 37

S. Marco, Scuola di, 280

S. Martino, 292

S. Marziale, 299

S. Moisè, 295

St Nicholas, capture of body of, 39

S. Nicolo del Lido, 321

S. Pantaleone, 308

S. Polo, 308

S. Rocco, Church of, 286

---- Scuola di, 285

---- story of, 284

S. Salvatore, 293

S. Sebastiano, 306

S. Stefano, 295

St Tarasius, rape of the body of, 31

St Theodore, Church of, 7

S. Trovaso, 309

S. Vio, 296

S. Vitale, 296

S. Zaccaria, 286

S. Zanipolo, 276-279

---- legend of foundation of, 78

S. Zulian, 275

Salinguerra, his memorial, 321

Salute, the, 297

Sarpi, Paolo, death of, 178

Scalas, the, 118, 119, 136

Schiavoni, Riva degli, 290

---- S. Giorgio degli, 287

Sculpture, Venetian, 187-195

Seminario, the, 297

Senate, origin of, 33

---- the, 102

Shrine at Calle Barbaro, 296

Signory, the, 102

Slave trade at Venice, 12, 21, 26

Spanish plot, 179

Steno, Michel, his insult to Faliero, 124

Street nomenclature, 216


Tagliapietra, Contessa, legend of, 296

Ten, attack on the, 180

---- Council of the, 109-111

Titian’s house, site of, 315

Torcello, 5, 318
---- final migration to, 4

Trading privileges, extension of, 36, 40, 42

Tribunes, their first election, 6

_Tribuni majores_, election of, 7

Turkish conquests, 173
---- terror at Venice, 152, 154, 155
---- capture of Constantinople, 151, 153

Tyre, capture of, 43


Venetian fleet, destruction of, by Genoese, 130

Venetian settlements, the earliest, 4

Venetians defeated by Genoese off Pera, 122
---- defeated by Turks off Sapienza, 163
---- routed by Genoese off Sapienza, 124
---- their master passions, 68

Venice, excommunication of, 106, 156, 167, 176
---- her fortitude under disaster, 124, 130
---- her popularity on the mainland, 120, 146
---- invites the King of France to Italy, 156
---- occupied by the French, 186

Verona, occupation of, 137

Visconti, Galeozzo, 136

---- Filippo, 140


Wedding of the Adriatic, 29, 50, 53


Zara, capture of, by Crusaders, 61
---- rebellion of, 117, 121

Zattere, fondamenta delle, 309

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Palazza Ducale=> Palazzo Ducale {pg xi}

Vie de St Francois=> Vie de St François {pg 73}

who rode to seek aventure=> who rode to seek adventure {pg 92}

answer Ghisello=> answered Ghisello {pg 125}

envoys empty away=> envoys away empty {pg 154}

reign that the ast=> reign that the last {pg 155}

The chief atttraction=> The chief attraction {pg 255}

Cornara, Caterina, 157, 159=> Cornaro, Caterina, 157, 159 {pg 328}

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] See Appendix II. An exhaustive bibliography will be found in “The
Cambridge Modern History,” Vol. I.

[2] Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia and Ancona.

[3] A method of disposing of a political enemy, so common in Italy, in
the middle ages, that it was expressed by a word _abbacinare_, from the
_bacino_ or red hot basin of brass fixed before the eyes of the victim.

[4] See “Archæologia,” vol. xliv. p. 128. This curious inscription
purports to have been interpreted in 1202 by Marin Dandolo, Procurator
of St Mark, from the Latin of an old and decayed parchment written by
Orso Hypato of Heraclea.

[5] So late as 1428 a Russian female slave was sold by one friar to
another for 52 sequins, with “right to dispose of her body and soul in
perpetuity.” The contract is quoted by Filiasi. In 1492 a Saracen slave,
15 years old, fetched 25 sequins.

[6] The original Malamocco, destroyed by flood in the twelfth century,
was a fortified place girt with walls and towers, whose precise locality
is not now known. It was situated on the open Adriatic, not far from the
present Malamocco. Filiasi, writing about 1800, says the ruins used to
be seen at low tide about a good stone’s throw from the _lido_.

[7] The Greek Emperor at Constantinople.

[8] Pietro in his two years of office could have done little more than
repair the old St Mark’s. Recent researches have proved that the present
structure was begun in 1061 under Doge Contarini. Part of the ducal
palace was pulled down to extend the basilica southwards, and part of
the Church of St Theodore incorporated on the north. When the wall which
separated the Chapel of St Isidore from the north transept was stripped
of its marble casing in 1887 it showed a bare surface of brick blackened
by exposure to the weather and one of the windows which lighted the
north aisle of old St Theodore’s.

[9] In 1456 the See of Castello and the Patriarchate of Grado were
united, and S. Lorenzo Giustiniano was made first Patriarch of Venice.

[10] Writing about 1500-1520.

[11] The memorable triumph of the Papacy when the Emperor was made to
stand barefoot in the bitter January cold outside the castle of Canossa
for three days before Pope Gregory VII. would admit and absolve him.

[12] Two-thirds of the people were said to have perished.

[13] As in the arsenal of the Venetians, the sticky pitch boils in
winter to daub their leaky ships which they cannot sail, and instead,
one builds his ship anew, another caulks the ribs of that which many
voyages hath made. One hammers at the prow and one at the poop: another
makes oars: another twists the ropes: another mends the jib and
mainsail.--“Inferno,” xxi. 7-15.

[14] The Emperor complained much of the mosquitoes and other less
volatile vermin at Chioggia. Dare we assume that these irritants were
not without effect in hastening the conclusion?

[15] “_Ante cujus atrium._” The scene is described by the Archbishop of
Salerno who was present. See “Muratori, Rer. Ital.,” Scrip. vii.

[16] A similar story is however told of the raising of the great obelisk
at Rome.

[17] Actually one is of red, the other of grey marble.

[18] It was to join the standard of this renowned knight that St
Francis, fired by stories of his prowess, set forth in 1204 and saw at
Spoleto that vision which determined him to return to Assisi and devote
himself to the service of another Lord.

[19] See “The Fall of Constantinople,” by Edwin Pears, p. 263. This
allegation is, however, much canvassed by authorities.

[20] The alleged blindness of Dandolo is one of the enigmas of history.
The chroniclers are hopelessly at variance. Villehardouin, his constant
associate, says he _ne voit goutte_ (couldn’t see a bit). Others ignore
the blindness, and it is difficult to explain his career on that theory.

[21] Probably from his attempt to convert the Sultan in 1219-1220. See
Sabatier’s “Vie de St François, p. 271.” The story of the birds is
obviously an echo of the _Fioretti_.

[22] Experts in heresy.

[23] According to the archives of the Holy Office only six cases are
found of the death penalty, drowning or strangling (never burning),
being inflicted for heresy in Venice.

[24] Hollow balls of wax were first used, afterwards the thirty were
made of gold and the others of silver.

[25] “Christ conquereth; Christ reigneth; Christ ruleth. Salvation,
honour, long life and victory to our lord, Lorenzo Tiepolo, by the grace
of God renowned Doge of Venice, Dalmatia and Croatia, Dominator of
one-fourth and a half of the Empire of Romania. O St Mark, lend him
thine aid!”

[26] Purgatorio, iii. 115.

[27] The details of the victory are inscribed in St Matthew’s, the
private church of the Doria family, at Genoa. Hapless Dandolo, rather
than figure in a Genoese triumph, dashed out his brains against the mast
of the ship that bore him away.

[28] The supreme legal authority.

[29] Birdwood, Report on the old records of the India Office.

[30] The value of a ducat is estimated by Col. Yule at about 9s. 6d. of
English money.

[31] The tune sung by sailors to-day as they lift the anchor is the same
as that sung a thousand years ago by the Venetians as they manned their
oars or spread their sails.

[32] Lindsay’s “History of Merchant Shipping.”

[33] The name adopted by the Participazii at the end of the ninth

[34] “And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s
head, and all to brake his skull.”--JUDGES ix. 53.

[35] The Quirini house is now incorporated in the new Fish Market.

[36] The column is now in the Museo Civico.

[37] The Ten could act promptly too. In 1484, one of the _Capi_ crossing
the Piazza saw a priest and two soldiers set upon a man with drawn
weapons. He ordered their arrest. The same evening the three were hanged
by torchlight between the columns.

[38] I pozzi e i piombi. Venice, 1876.

[39] Not the present _Scala dei Giganti_, built two centuries later in a
different position.

[40] “_I’vo gridando pace, pace, pace!_” _Canzone all’Italia._

[41] The hero’s statue and a Latin inscription from his tomb in the
demolished church of S. Antonio are now in the Museum of the Arsenal.

[42] By an unhappy misprint (_ne_ for _non_) in Muratori’s ed. of Sanudo
Morosini has been grievously calumniated and accused of speculating on
his country’s misfortune. See Romanin, iii., p. 310, and Muratori,
_Rerum Ital. Scriptores_, xxii. 743.

[43] The last of the Scalas died a few years ago, a poor cobbler, at

[44] The ordinary method of putting to the “question” was to tie the
victim’s hands behind him and swing him by the wrists over a pulley.

[45] Sanudo gives the population in 1422 as 190,000 souls, about equal
to that of Cardiff to-day.

[46] In 1347, a Flanders galley, after a voyage of eight months and
seven days, made a profit of 10,000 ducats.

[47] In the reign of Francesco Dandolo.

[48] The Doge uses the familiar _tu_: Jacopo the formal _voi_.

[49] Ruskin, by a curious misunderstanding of Rawdon Brown, has confused
this Doge (who, according to a contemporary was a short-statured
squint-eyed creature) with the original of Shakespeare’s “Othello,” and
the error has since been repeated. Rawdon Brown’s ingenious
identification of the Moor of Venice with one Cristoforo Moro, refers to
another Venetian of that name who lived a generation later and was a
prominent official in the service of the Republic during the wars of the
League of Cambrai. _Cf._ Ruskin, “Stones of Venice,” vol. ii. p. 302,
note, with Rawdon Brown’s “Ragguali sulla vita e sulle opere di M.
Sanuto,” Parte I. pp. 229-235.

[50] Met to deal with the situation created by the attempt of the famous
Venetian Condottiero Colleoni to win the duchy of Milan in collusion
with the Florentine exiles.

[51] In 1483 the Flanders galleys were attacked by a famous Spanish
privateer; 130 Venetians were killed, 300 wounded, and an enormous booty
was taken. The Signory demanded satisfaction from the Emperor Charles
VII., which was refused on the plea that Venice was under the ban of the
Church. A certain Christopher Columbus was serving among the Spaniards.

[52] The firm, resolute features of this grand old Pontiff look out to
us from Raphael’s portrait of him in the National Gallery of London.

[53] Our own Henry VIII. was an important piece in the game. “You are
all rascals” (_ribaldi_), exclaimed Pope Julius II. to the English
ambassador in 1510.

[54] The words of this oft-misquoted phrase are: “_De toutes choses ne
n’est demeuré que l’honneur et la vie qui est sauve._”

[55] Sir Thomas More was the English envoy.

[56] Girolamo Diedo’s story of the famous battle is published in the
_Biblioteca Diamante_, for twenty _centesimi_ (twopence).

[57] By the interdict the Venetian clergy were forbidden to exercise any
of the functions of the Church. By excommunication the Government and
citizens of Venice were excluded from the communion of the faithful.

[58] Sir Henry Wotton told the Doge that the blow was struck by a
Scotchman, who used to hang about the English embassy.

[59] The writer of the “History of the Council of Trent” is placed by
Ranke second to Macchaevelli alone as an Italian historian. Mazzini, in
an essay published in vol. iv. of his collected works, claims that Sarpi
was the real discoverer of the circulation of the blood.

[60] So indelible an impression was made by the long struggle on the
popular mind, that the locution, a _vera guerra di Candia_, to express
bitter personal enmity was common in Byron’s time.

[61] The incidents of this, a nobler chapter than any of the foregoing
in Venetian history, may be read in Mr Bolton King’s “History of United
Italy,” 2 vols., Nisbet, 1899.

[62] Macigno is a hard sandstone.

[63] Later researches have brought into prominence the name of Pietro
Basseggio, who is now believed to have designed the earlier S. façade of
the Palace.

[64] Il Palazzo Ducale di Venezia.

[65] In early times architecture, sculpture, and engineering were
branches of the same profession. Michel Angelo worked for six months at
San Miniato on the fortifications of Florence.

[66] _Arch. Stor. Ital._ vol. vii. p. 674.

[67] Now assigned to Marc’ Antonio Gambello and Moro Coducci.

[68] The present façade is the result of alterations by Scamozzi in

[69] See Plate 72 in the Dream of Poliphilus, called the
Hypnerotomachia, published in Venice by Aldus, 1499, reproduced by the
Science and Art Department, South Kensington, 1888.

[70] See Berenson’s “Lorenzo Lotto,” chap. ii., sec. vii., revised ed.,

[71] The Pietà, and the Transfiguration in the Correr Museum.

[72] The ivy-leaved toadflax.

[73] It has again been exalted to a prominent position in Room X.

[74] Morelli, however, classes it among Titian’s early productions.

[75] See “XIXth Century and After,” 1902, p. 156, where H. Cook gives
reasons for believing the painter to have been but 86 years of age at
his death in 1576.

[76] Morelli, _Italian Masters in German Galleries_, translated by Mrs
Richter, pp. 184-94.

[77] _Jahrbuch der Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen._ Berlin,
vols. xxii. and xxiii., 1901-1902.

[78] “Marietta or the Maid of Venice.”

[79] Goldoni’s grandfather was a native of Modena: _Il Burbero Benefico_
was first performed at Paris and subsequently translated into Italian.

[80] Now assigned to Moro Coducci of Bergamo.

[81] The Ducal Palace is not built on piles, but rests on a stratum of
stiff clay.

[82] Sanudo.

[83] _Italiæ brevis Descriptio_, Ultrajecti, 1650.

[84] “Letters of an Architect from France, Italy and Greece,” by Joseph
Woods, 1828, vol. i., p. 256, _et seq._

[85] Unhappily most of the old Greek marbles have been replaced by
inferior Carrara. It was once proposed by the restorers to varnish and
smoke the S. façade, to imitate the rich colours which the mellowing
effect of time has given to the original incrustations.

[86] Left of the spectator.

[87] No. 567 in the Accademia.

[88] The traveller who is acquainted with Burne-Jones’ Days of Creation
will note the influence of these mosaics on the English master’s work.

[89] In 1682 the slab of this tomb was accidentally discovered embedded
in the wall of the Ducal Palace. In 1810 the French ordered the carving
to be defaced, but the mason evaded the command by setting the stone
face downwards, and in 1839 Rawdon Brown secured it and sent it to

[90] The figure may still be discerned in the great mosque when the
light is favourable.

[91] “Devastated,” says Saccardo.

[92] Reproduced in Parker’s “Introduction to Gothic Architecture,” ninth
Edition, p. 296.

[93] During the excavations made in 1903 round the foundations of the
fallen Campanile the old brick paving was clearly seen.

[94] On free days the entrance is by the farther Scala dei Censori.

[95] “The most terrific brain that ever applied itself to painting”

[96] (1) The Carità, (2) S. Giovanni Evangelista, (3) The Misericordia,
(4) S. Marco, (5) S. Rocco, (6) S. Teodoro.

[97] Four pictures were painted for the Guild of St Mark. Two, the
Carrying of the Body of St Mark from Alexandria, and St Mark saving a
Saracen, are in the Royal Palace of Venice; the fourth is in the Brera
at Milan.

[98] Said in the official catalogue to represent Henry VIII. and Anne
Boleyn respectively!

[99] 283, SS. Mark and Vincent, is interesting from the fact that the
latter saint was originally the beardless St Lawrence, which was painted
over by Tintoretto to represent a full-bearded magistrate, and became St
Vincent. The original painting was by Michele Parrhasio, a wealthy
dilettante working in Bonifazio’s atelier, who used to treat his critics
to sweets and wine.

[100] Now promoted to Room X.

[101] _Quando del ver si sogna_ (when dreams are true).--INFERNO, xxvi.

[102] The eminent critic and scholar, 1706-78.

[103] More probably Vice or Slander.

[104] We retain the modern appellation. The old Venetians were content
with Ca’ (Casa) House.

[105] See _Venezia: Nuovi Studi_, etc., p. 37, by P. Molmenti.

[106] Grave reasons for doubting whether Bruno suffered death by order
of the Inquisition have, however, been adduced by Théophile Desdouits,
who believes the whole story to be a fabrication. See _La Légende
tragique de Jordano Bruno_, 1885.

[107] Date of death.

[108] As in Jacopo Pesaro’s tomb in the Frari.

[109] A rich heiress who, when fifteen years of age, eloped to Florence
with a poor bookkeeper and married him. She there became the mistress,
then the wife, of Francesco de’ Medici, Duke of Tuscany, who was
implicated in the assassination of her first husband. Notwithstanding
her scandalous past and condemnation by the laws of Venice, the Signory,
on her second marriage, took her under their protection for political
reasons, and proclaimed her the “true and particular daughter of the
Republic.” She and the Grand Duke died within a day of each other in
1587, not without suspicion of poison. The Ca’ Trevisan was bought by
Bianca in 1577, and given to her brother, Vittore Cappello. Francesco
Sansovino dedicated his _Venezia Città Nobilissima_ to her.

[110] The widening was effected at the end of the eighteenth century.

[111] “Hoc circa templum sit jus mercatoribus aequm: pondera ne vergant
nec sit conventio prava.”

[112] It was the custom of the early Doges to make a coronation present
of wild ducks to each of the nobles in Venice. Owing to the difficulty
of finding sufficient game in the lagoons Doge Celsi in 1361 gave a sum
of money instead. In 1521 the number of recipients had so increased that
the Grand Council permitted Doge Ant. Grimani to substitute a silver
medal which was called an _osella_, the Venetian for bird. The custom
survived till the end of the Republic.

[113] In the sixteenth century a catalogue was published _de tutte le
principali e più onorate cortigiane de Venetia_.

[114] How wayward are Ruskin’s judgments at times may be illustrated by
this poor work on which he lavishes the most ecstatic eulogy in the
“Shrine of the Slaves,” p. 38, where it is referred to as the finest
picture in the world, superior even to the Bellinis in the Frari and in
S. Zaccaria.

[115] From Franc. Sansovino’s description of it as being reputed a jewel
rather than a stone.

[116] The factions were formally reconciled in 1848.

[117] Now hidden by workmen’s dwellings.

[118] _Italiae brevis descriptio._ Ultrajecti, 1650.

[119] Painted in Walter Crane’s “Bridge of Life.”

[120] In primitive times the bishop sat in the centre of the apse facing
the congregation, just as the judge had done in the law-courts, which
served as models for the first Christian churches.

[121] _Italiæ Brevis Descriptio._

[122] The walk may be shortened by taking the direct steamer to S.
Nicolo which leaves the Riva hourly.

[123] See Browning’s “Sordello,” _passim_.

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