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Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice, Italy

BASILICA SAINT MARK, VENICE

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark (officially known in Italian as the and commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica) is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo- Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city's cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice,Demus, 1 archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello. For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).

Photos of Saint Mark's Church in Venice

History

Earliest construction

The first St Mark's was a building next to the Doge's Palace, ordered by the doge in 828, when Venetian merchants stole the supposed relics of Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria, and completed by 832; from the same century dates the first St Mark's Campanile (bell tower). The church was burned in a rebellion in 976, when the populace locked Pietro IV Candiano inside to kill him, and restored or rebuilt in 978. Nothing certain is known of the form of these early churches. From perhaps 1073 the present basilica was constructed. The consecration is variously recorded as being in 1084-5, 1093 (the date most often taken), 1102 and 1117, probably reflecting a series of consecrations of different parts.Demus, 3 In 1094 the body supposed that of Saint Mark was rediscovered in a pillar by Vitale Faliero, doge at the time. Recovery basilicasanmarco.it. Retrieved 2013-07-28. The building also incorporates a low tower (now housing St Mark’s Treasure), believed by some to have been part of the original Doge's Palace. The Pala d'Oro ordered from Constantinople was installed on the high altar in 1105.Demus, 3 In 1106 the church, and especially its mosaics, were damaged by a serious fire in that part of the city; it is not entirely clear whether any surviving mosaics in the interior predate this, though there is some 11th-century work surviving in the main porch.Demus, 5, 15-19 The main features of the present structure were all in place by then, except for the narthex or porch, and the facade. The basic shape of the church has a mixture of Italian and Byzantine features, notably "the treatment of the eastern arm as the termination of a basilican building with main apse and two side chapels rather than as an equal arm of a truly centralized structure".Demus, 5 In the first half of the 13th century the narthex and the new façade were constructed, most of the mosaics were completed and the domes were covered with second much higher domes of lead-covered wood in order to blend in with the Gothic architecture of the redesigned Doge's Palace.—

Later construction

The basic structure of the building has not been much altered. Its decoration has changed greatly over time, though the overall impression of the interior with a dazzling display of gold ground mosaics on all ceilings and upper walls remains the same. The succeeding centuries, especially the period after the Venetian-led conquest of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade of 1204 and the fourteenth century, all contributed to its adornment, with many elements being spolia brought in from ancient or Byzantine buildings, such as mosaics, columns, capitals, or friezes.Demus, 6 Gradually, the exterior brickwork became covered with marble cladding and carvings, some much older than the building itself, such as the statue of the Four Tetrarchs (below). The latest structural additions include the closing-off of the Baptistery and St Isidor's Chapel (1300s), the carvings on the upper facade and the Sacristy (1400s), and the closing-off of the Zen Chapel (1500s).

Function and administration

During the 13th century the emphasis of the church's function seems to have changed from being the private chapel of the Doge to that of a "state church", with increased power for the procurators. It was the location for the great public ceremonies of the state, such as the installation and burials of Doges, though as space ran out and the demand for grander tombs increased, from the 15th century Santi Giovanni e Paolo became the usual burial place. The function of the basilica remained the same until 1807, after the end of the Venetian Republic, when the basilica finally became subject to the local bishop, the Patriarch of Venice, though from the 12th century he had had a throne there, opposite the doge's.Demus, 1-2 The transfer of the see was ordered by Napoleon during his period of control of Venice.Buckton, 68 Before this, Venice's cathedral from 1451 was the much less grand San Pietro di Castello. The procurators, an important organ of the Republic of Venice, were in charge of administration; their seats were the Procuratie, in St Mark’s Square. All building and restoring works were directed by the protos: great architects such as Jacopo Sansovino and Baldassarre Longhena held the office. The doge himself appointed a special group of clergy led by the primicerio. Procurators and protos still exist and perform the same tasks for the Patriarchate.

Exterior

The exterior of the west facade of the basilica is divided in three registers: lower, upper, and domes. In the lower register of the façade, five round-arched portals, enveloped by polychrome marble columns, open into the narthex through bronze-fashioned doors. The upper level of mosaics in the lunettes of the lateral ogee arches has scenes from the Life of Christ (all post-Renaissance replacements) culminating in a 19th-century replacement Last Judgment lower down over the main portal that replaced a damaged one with the same subject (during the centuries many mosaics had to be replaced inside and outside the basilica, but subjects were rarely changed). Mosaics with scenes showing the history of the relics of Saint Mark from right to left fill the lunettes of the lateral portals; the first on the left is the only one on the façade still surviving from the 13th century. The formal subject is the Deposition of the Relics, but it is probably depicted as the crowd leaving San Marco after the ceremonial installation of a new doge. The four bronze horses are shown in their place on the facade. We can for once get a good idea of the original compositions of the mosaics from paintings and other depictions, especially Gentile Bellini's very large Procession in Piazza San Marco in the Gallerie dell'Accademia.Demus, 183-187 The stone sculpture is relatively limited at the lower level, where a forest of columns and patterned marble slabs are the main emphases. It includes relatively narrow bands of Romanesque work on the portals, richly carved borders of foliage mixed with figures to the ogee arches and other elements, and large shallow relief saints between the arches. Along the roofline, by contrast, there is a line of statues, many in their own small pavilions, culminating in Saint Mark flanked by six angels in the centre, above a large gilded winged lion (his symbol, and that of Venice). In the upper register, from the top of ogee arches, statues of Theological and Cardinal Virtues, four Warrior Saints, Constantine, Demetrius, George, Theodosius and St Mark watch over the city. Above the large central window of the façade, under St Mark, the Winged Lion (his symbol) holds the book quoting “Pax Tibi Marce Evangelista Meus” (Peace to you Mark my evangelist) . In the centre of the balcony the famous bronze horses face the square.

Horses of Saint Mark

The Horses of Saint Mark were installed on the balcony above the portal of the basilica in about 1254. They date to Classical Antiquity, though their date remains a matter of debate, and presumably were originally the team pulling a quadriga chariot, probably containing an emperor. By some accounts they once adorned the Arch of Trajan. The horses were long displayed at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, and in 1204 Doge Enrico Dandolo sent them back to Venice as part of the loot sacked from Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade. They were taken to Paris by Napoleon in 1797 but returned to Venice in 1815. After a long restoration, since 1970s the originals have been kept in St Mark’s Museum inside the basilica and the horses now on the facade of the cathedral are bronze replicas. ]]

The Tetrarchs

In an attempt to stabilise the Roman Empire after the crisis of the third century, the Emperor Diocletian imposed a new Imperial office structure: a four co-emperor ruling plan called The Tetrarchy. The famous porphyry statue of the Four Tetrarchs represents the interdependence of the four rulers. It was taken from Constantinople, during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, and set into the south-west corner of the basilica (the above mentioned low tower) at the level of the Piazza San Marco. Part of the missing foot of one of the figures was discovered in Istanbul (near the Bodrum Mosque) in the 1960s, where it is still on display, clarifying the original location of the work.

Narthex or porch

By the 13th century, the narthex or porch embraced the western arm of the basilica on the three sides; when it was first built is uncertain but was probably the 13th century. Later the southern part was closed to obtain the Baptistery (14th century) and the Zen Chapel (16th century). The narthex prepares the visitors’ eyes for the atmosphere of the gilded interior, just as the Old Testament stories represented in its 13th-century mosaic ceiling prepare them for the New Testament decoration in the interior. The main subjects are Genesis and the life of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. It has long been recognised that the compositions are very close to those of the Cotton Genesis, an important 4th- or 5th-century Greek luxury illuminated manuscript copy of the Book of Genesis, now in the British Library, though very badly damaged in a fire of 1731. About a hundred of the 359 miniatures in the manuscript are used. It is presumed that this reached Venice after the Fourth Crusade.  On the wall above and at the sides of the main doorway are the Four Evangelists and saints, 11th-century mosaics, the oldest in the building, that decorated the old facade to St Mark’s even before the narthex was built.

Interior

The interior is based on a Greek cross, with each arm divided into three naves with a dome of its own as well as the main dome above the crossing. The dome above the crossing and the western dome are bigger than the other three. This is based on Constantine's Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. The marble floor (12th century, but underwent many restorations) is entirely tessellated in geometric patterns and animal designs. One particular panel in the pavement shows two cocks carrying a trussed-up fox, has been interpreted politically by some, as a reference to the French conquest of Milan in the Italian Wars. Others see it as a sacred symbol of the faithful wish for immortality, with the victory of the cock and "analogous to the hope of resurrection, the victory of the soul over death". The techniques used were opus sectile and opus tessellatum. The lower register of walls and pillars is completely covered with polychrome marble slabs. The transition between the lower and the upper register is delimited all around the basilica by passageways which largely substituted the former galleries.

Mosaics

The upper levels of the interior are completely covered with bright mosaics covering an area of about 8000 m2. The great majority use the traditional background of gold glass tesserae, creating the shimmering overall effect. Unfortunately, the Doge retained a workshop of mosaicists until the late 18th century, and in the 19th century contracted a mosaic workshop run by the Salviati glassmaking firm, and the majority of the medieval mosaics have been "restored" by removing and resetting, usually with a considerable loss of quality, so that "only about one-third of the mosaic surface can be regarded as original".,  The earliest surviving work, in the main porch, perhaps dates to as early as 1070, and was probably by a workshop that had left Constantinople in the mid-11th century and worked at Torcello Cathedral. They are in "a fairly pure Byzantine style" but in succeeeding phases of work Byzantine influence reflecting the latest style of the capital was reduced by stages, disappearing altogether by about the 1130s, after which the style was Italian in essentials, reflecting "a change from a colonial to a local art".

The main period of decoration was the 12th century, a period of deteriorating relations between Venice and Byzantium, but very little is known about the process or how it was affected by politics. The main work on the interior mosaics was apparently complete by the 1270s, with work on the atrium continuing into the 1290s. After that the St Marks workshop seems to have been disbanded, so that when a fire in 1419 caused serious damage, the only Venetian capable of the work had just died and the Signoria of Florence had to be asked for help; they sent Paolo Uccello. Initially the restorations tried to retain the medieval compositions and replicate a medieval style, but from 1509 the policy changed and further work was in contemporary styles. From the 1520s a series of Venetian painters were able to get commissions for the replacement of undamaged areas in what was considered to be superior modern style, until from 1610 a number of conservation-minded decrees attempted to restrain the process. The large and complicated programme of the decoration centres on the seated large Christ Pantocrator in the main apse (now a 15th-century recreation) above patron saints of Venice.

The East dome over the high altar has a bust of Christ in the centre surrounded by standing prophets and the Virgin Mary, with the Four Evangelists in the pendentives. A large and comprehensive cycle of the Life of Christ occupies much of the roof, with usually extensive coverage for the Middle Ages of his miracles, originally shown in 29 scenes in the transepts. It includes the Ascension of Christ in the central dome and Pentecost in the west dome. The centre is an etimasia ("empty throne") with book and dove, with the twelve apostles seated round the outer rims, with flames on their heads and rays connecting them to the central throne. Below the apostles pairs of figures representing the "nations", with tituli, stand between the windows. Similar images are found in the Chludov Psalter and elsewhere. As well as the miracles the transepts contain cycles of the Life of the Virgin before and during the Infancy of Christ. As well as many saints, church fathers, virtues and angels, there are scenes from the lives of Saints Mark, Clement, Peter, and John (with many scenes in post-Renaissance versions). The west wall has a 13th-century deesis below a Last Judgement in the vault, and a huge Tree of Jesse was added to the end wall of the north transept in 1548.

The origin of the iconography of the Old Testament cycle in the porch in the Cotton Genesis manuscript has been described above; similar relationships have been traced for parts of the interior mosaics, in particular with the cycle of the Life of the Virgin and Infancy of Christ sharing a common Byzantine model with a fresco cycle in the cathedral at the Mirozhsky Monastery in Pskov in Russia.Dodwell, 186 As mentioned above, restorations and replacements were often necessary thereafter, or done even when not necessary, and great painters such as Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Tintoretto and his son Domenico were among those who produced the designs for the mosaicists. Titian and the Padovanino prepared the cartoons for the sacristy, built in the late 15th century. Other mosaics decorate the Baptistery, the Mascoli Chapel, St Isidor Chapel and the Zen Chapel, which has scenes from the life of St Mark, perhaps from the 1270s, and among the latest work of the original programme to be done.

The presbytery of St Michael

The eastern arm has a raised presbytery with a crypt beneath. The presbytery is separated by an altar screen formed by eight red marble columns crowned with a high Crucifix and statues by Pier Paolo and Jacobello Dalle Masegne, masterpiece of Gothic sculpture (late 14th century). Behind the screen, marble banisters with Sansovino's bronze statues of the Evangelists and Paliari's of the Four Doctors mark the access to the high altar, which contains St Mark’s relics. Above the high altar is a canopy (“ ciborium”) on columns decorated with fine reliefs. The altarpiece is the famous Pala d'Oro, a masterpiece of Byzantine craftsmanship, originally designed for an antependium.This masterpiece incorporates 1,300 pearls, 300 sapphires, 300 emeralds, and 400 garnets. They are all original and highly polished, unfaceted gems. The original altar frontal is now in the treasury. The choir stalls are embellished with inlay by Fra Sebastiano Schiavone, and above them on both sides are three reliefs by Sansovino. Behind the presbytery are the sacristy and a 15th-century church consecrated to St Theodore (the first patron saint of Venice) where is displayed a painting (Child’s Adoration) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

The treasury

The treasury contains what is now a unique collection of Byzantine portable objects in metalwork, enamel and hardstone carving, most looted from Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade (although there was a serious fire in the treasury in 1231), with probably a new influx after the "Franks" were expelled in 1261. Thereafter most objects were made locally, though there are also important Islamic works, especially in rock crystal, and some from Northern Europe. Selections have toured internationally. Most of the church plate was ordered to be surrendered to the state immediately after the end of the Venetian Republic in 1797, and was melted down for coining; there were only 141 objects in an inventory ordered by the Austrians in 1816, many in materials that could not be recycled for cash. The group of Byzantine hardstone vessels in various semi-precious stones is by the most important to survive.Buckton, 73-75 A glass situla or bucket carved with Bacchic figures been dated to either the 4th or 7th centuries. The 6th-century "throne-reliquary" in rather crudely carved alabaster, the Sedia di San Marco, was moved from the high altar to the Treasury in 1534. It would only fit a bishop with a slight figure, and has a large compartment for relics below the seat. It may have functioned as a "throne-lectern" or resting place for a gospel book, making actual the hetoimasia ("empty throne") images with open books that are found in art of the period. The treasury "now houses the best single collection of Byzantine metalwork, and particularly of enameling, that survives", including two imperial chalices of antique sardonyx with Byzantine gold and enamel mounts, marked "Romanos", the name of four emperors.

Caffe Florian in Venice, Italy

CAFFE' FLORIAN, VENICE

cafe florian venice

Caffè Florian is a coffee house situated in the Procuratie Nuove of Piazza San Marco, Venice. It was established in 1720, and is a contender for the title of the oldest coffee house in continuous operation ( Antico Caffè Greco in Rome was established in 1760).

History

Coffee, which the Venetians first recorded in Turkey in 1585, began to be sold commercially in Venice in 1638, and coffee houses soon sprang up around the city. The Florian opened with two simply furnished rooms on 29 December 1720 as Caffè alla Venezia trionfante (the Café of the Triumphant Venice), but soon became known as Caffè Florian, after its original owner Floriano Francesconi. The Caffè was patronised in its early days by notable people including the playwright Carlo Goldoni, Goethe and Casanova, who was no doubt attracted by the fact that Caffè Florian was the only coffee house that allowed women. Later Lord Byron, Marcel Proust, and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors. It was one of the few places where Gasparo Gozzi's early newspaper Gazzetta Veneta could be bought, and became a meeting place for people from different social classes. In the mid-18th century the Florian expanded to four rooms. Valentino Francesconi, the grandson of Floriano Francesconi, took over the business at the beginning of the 19th century, and passed it on to his son Antonio.

By 1858 the establishment had passed into the hands of Vincenzo Porta, Giovanni Pardelli, and Pietro Baccanello, and was in need of some restoration. Lodovico Cadorin was commissioned to carry out restoration work and redecorate the interiors, but there was public outcry over the expense and because he was tampering with a much loved institution. However the work pressed on, and the rooms were redecorated in opulent splendour and given the names by which they are still known. The Sala degli Uomini Illustri (Hall of the Illustrious Men) featured paintings by Giulio Carlini of ten notable Venetians: Goldoni, Marco Polo, Titian, Francesco Morosini, Pietro Orseolo, Andrea Palladio, Benedetto Marcello, Paolo Sarpi, Vettor Pisani and Enrico Dandolo. In the Sala del Senato (Senate Hall) the walls are decorated with panels depicting scenes from the worlds of the arts and sciences by Casa with the theme "Progress and Civilisation instructing the Nations". The Sala Cinese (Chinese Hall) and Sala Orientale (Oriental Hall) take their inspiration from the Far East with paintings of lovers and scantily clad exotic women painted by Pascuti. The Sala delle Stagioni (Hall of the Seasons) or Sale degli Specchi (Hall of Mirrors) was decorated by Rota with the figures of women representing the four seasons. The Sala Liberty which was added at the beginning of the 20th century is decorated with hand-painted mirrors and sumptuous wooden wainscoting.

Church of San Benedetto in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SAN BENEDETTO, VENICE

The Chiesa di San Benedetto ( Saint Benedict) is a church in Venice, northern Italy. Generally known as San Beneto in the Venetian dialect, it is on the Campo San Benedetto in Venice. It was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt in 1685. San Beneto is in the parish of San Luca.

Works of art

  • Sebastiano Mazzoni (A Priest recommended to the Virgin by St Benedict and St Benedict with John the Baptist and the Virtues over the doors to either side of the high altar)
  • Bernardo Strozzi (St Sebastian tended by the Holy Women on the south wall)
  • Giambattista Tiepolo (San Francesco di Paola on the north wall)

Church of San Moisè in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SAN MOISE, VENICE

The Chiesa di San Moisè (or San Moisè Profeta) is a church in Venice, northern Italy, built initially in the 8th century.

History

It is dedicated to Moses as, like the Byzantines, the Venetians tended to canonise Old Testament prophets. It also honors Moisè Venier, who paid for it to be rebuilt in the 9th century. The elaborate Baroque facade, dating from 1668, is covered in carvings. Some of its sculptures are generally attributed to Heinrich Meyring. It is attributed to Alessandro Tremignon, with patronage by Vincenzo Fini, whose bust is found over the entry door. Statues in public spaces were forbidden in Venice. By putting his bust on the facade of a church, he could circumvent this ordinance and, like a rich parvenu, show off with his wealth and his only just acquired title of nobility.

The interior is dominated by Meyring's huge and mannered sculptural set piece and altarpiece, depiction Mount Sinai with Moses receiving the Tablets, created by Tremignon andMeyring. Behind it is a canvas by Michelangelo Morlaiter. It also has a Washing of Christ's Feet by Tintoretto, and a Last Supper by Palma il Giovane. A Deposition was painted in 1636 by Niccolò Roccatagliata in collaboration with Sebastiano. John Law, originator of the Mississippi Scheme, is buried in the church. San Moisè is the parish church of one of the parishes in the Vicariate of San Marco-Castello. The other churches within the parish are Santa Maria Zobenigo, San Fantin, Santa Croce degli Armeni and the Basilica of San Marco itself.

Church of the Holy Savior in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF HOLY SAVIOR, VENICE

The Chiesa di San Salvatore (of the Holy Savior) is a church in Venice, northern Italy. Known in Venetian as San Salvador, is located on the Campo San Salvador, along the Merceria, the main shopping street of Venice.

The church was first consecrated in 1177 by Pope Alexander III shortly after his reconciliation with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa at nearby San Marco. The present church, however, was begun in around 1508 by Giorgio Spavento and continued after his death the following year by Tullio Lombardo, Vincenzo Scamozzi and possibly Jacopo Sansovino. They built a large hall church, formed from three Greek crosses placed end to end. Each has a dome with a lantern to let light into the cavernous interior. The facade was added in 1663 by Giuseppe Sardi. Adjoining the church is the former monastery, now the offices of the telephone company, which still contain Sansovino's magnificent cloisters. San Salvador is parish church of a parish in the Vicariate of San Marco-Castello. Other churches in the parish are San Bartolomeo and San Zulian. San Salvador is a small, but still active religious, cultural and social centre. web Below the left column on the facade, there is a cannonball embedded in the base of the column. It derived from a bombardment in 1849 by Austrian forces in the fort of Marghera, of the independent republic which had been proclaimed by Daniele Manin.

Works of art

  • Jacopo Sansovino (tomb of Francesco Venier on the south wall)
  • Titian ( Annunciation on the south wall and Transfiguration, the altarpiece of the high altar)
  • Francesco Vecellio (paintings on organ doors; frescoes in tomb in floor in front of high altar)
  • Alessandro Vittoria (altar on north wall, with statues of St. Roch and St. Sebastian)
  • Silver reredos behind the high altar dating from the 14th century.
  • Giovanni Bellini's Crucifixion, now in the Museo Correr

Funerary monuments

  • Caterina Cornaro (d.1510) (Queen of Cyprus)
  • Andrea Dolfin
  • Doge Gerolamo Priuli
  • Doge Lorenzo Priuli
  • Doge Francesco Venier (d.1556)

Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy

DOGE'S PALACE, VENICE

Venice Italy, Doge Palace

One of Italy's grandest and most historical town halls, Vence's Palazzo Ducal (Doges or DucalPalace) is a massive Gothic-Renaissance building built in 1309, and rebuilt after a 1577 fire. The public halls of the Doge's Palace are heavily decorated with canvases and frescoes by Venice's greatest artists—works by Veronese and Tintoretto are exceedingly abundant.

VISITING THE DOGE PALACE IN VENICE

  • Address: San Marco, 1, Venice
  • Hours: Daily 8:30 - 7:00 (closes 5:30 in winter), last admission one hour before closing. Closed January 1 and December 25
  • Information: web site; Tel. (0039) 041-2715-911
  • Admission: €16 (as of 2012) for Saint Mark's Square Museums Pass, includes 3 other museums. Reduced price for over age 65, be sure to ask at ticket window. Doge's Palace is also included in the 11-museum pass, good for a longer period.
  • Buying Tickets in Advance: You can avoid the ticket line with a Venice Musuem Pass that includes either 4 or 11 museums and is good for one month. Purchase in US dollars online at visitmuve.it/en/home.
  • Tours: The Secret Itineraries Tour includes a visit to secret passageways, prisons, an interrogation room, and the infamous Bridge of Sighs, must be reserved in advance.
GETTING TO SAN MARCO SQUARE AND THE DOGE PALACE

The sign posted route from the train station walks you through the tourist maze and will take about 20 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the crowds and how much you get distracted by the shops. If you are arriving early I would suggest taking the water bus to San Marco Square and start you adventure there. Otherwise do not follow the tourist signs just strike out on your own and stumble onto the square.

A LITTLE ABOUT THE DOGE PALACE

To fully understand Venice the unique place it holds in history, you should visit the Doge's Place in San Marco. There are audio guides available at the main ticket counter that leads you through the multiple rooms. There is also the "Secret Itinerary" Tour, if you wish to pay a the price, but I do not think it is a must. If you are a scholar of the history, yes you get a few more glimpses into the Republic's Myth but as a visitor you are not getting your money's worth.

The Palazzo once was the Doge's residence and the highest seat of power in the Republic, it was a symbol of power and put on display the richness and splendor of the State.

Venice Italy, Canaletto Painting

Off the back of the building, you cross over the famous, enclosed Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), named by romantic-era writers who imagined condemned prisoners letting out a lament as they crossed and got their final glimpse of Venice and her lagoon through the tiny windows in the center. The cells on the other side preserve the scrawls and graffiti of ancient prisoners.

The Bridge of Sighs crosses the Rio di Palazzo, so for the full effect you need to see it from the outside. Best vantage point: stand on the next bridge down the canal, a wide bridge crossing the Rio di Palazzo along the Riva degli Schiavoni. (I call it the "Bridge of Tourists Looking at the Bridge of Sighs.")

Getting voted off the island

Any Venetian citizen could accuse someone of misdeeds by writing the denunciation down and slipping it through specially placed "Lion's Mouth" slots in the Palazzo Ducale's walls. While this activity sounds like prime breeding ground for backstabbing, it was a highly regulated procedure. All accusations had to be signed and witnessed, and if they proved merely to be slanderous and not actionable, the would-be denounced was in serious legal trouble of his own.

The real governing of the VenetianRepublic was not done here in plain sight. True power was wielded in a network of low-ceilings, wooden-plank corridors and tiny offices wrapped around this public palace like a clandestine cocoon, the entrances hidden behind secret doors set into all those fancy oil paintings and carved woodwork of the public rooms.

Here private secretaries kept records and compiled accusations made against people both lowly and high-placed (see the box to the right).

The only way to see this inner sanctum, is to take the· 90-minute "Secret Itineraries" tour.  The·"Secret Itineraries"·tour will show you where the dreaded Council of Ten met to decide the fate of the Republic,·the inquisition room, and the "plumbio" the lead lined prison cells·where your guide will recount the tale of Casanova's famous escape.

After the tour, you are free to to tour the rest of the palace's public rooms on your own.

WHO WERE THE DOGE OF THE VENICE EMPIRE

The Palazzo Ducale is Venice's ducal palace, and in old Venetian dialect, the duke was called the doge or doxe, after the Latin dux, a military leader (which is what dukes originally were; the title of "duke" was the feudal equivalent to "army general.")

In Venice, the doge·was the head of state, but acted in essence as the highest-level servant of the Republic.

A doge was elevated from among the aristocracy, was almost always of an extremely advanced age (they served for life, but no one wanted a Doge to have power for too long), and was chosen through a process filed with so much chance and round-robins of elimination as to be thoroughly fair and random.

The doge was paid a ridiculously enormous salary so that no outside force could afford to bribe him, and his every move was supervised. The system worked surprisingly well. From the first doge elected in AD 700 until Napoleon deposed the last one in 1797, only twice was the office betrayed by traitors or major corruption.

TIPS ON VISITING

  • Planning your day: Touring the public areas will take about 45 minutes—maybe an hour to 75 minutes if you stop to read all the informative plaques. The Secret Itineraries tour takes roughly 75 minutes(after which you'll likely want to wander the public spaces for another 30 minutes or so).
  • The standard admission ticket to the Doge's Palace actually covers four museums on the square its name is: "I Musei di Piazza San Marco" so you might as well use it to pop into at least the Museo Civico Correr, though if you're pressed for time, go ahead and skip the less interesting Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum) and Sale Monumentali della Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (fresco-ed, monumental rooms of the Marciana Library).
  • If, in addition to those museums on Piazza San Marco, you intend also to visit the Ca' Rezzonico and at least two of the other sights it covers—like the Ca’ Pesaro or the Glass Museum on Murano—go ahead and buy the Venice Museum Pass; it'll save you money.
  • Visit after 1pm—and buy your ticket ahead of time at Venice Connected—and you can get an Afternoon Ticketat a slight discount.

Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy

HARRY'S BAR, VENICE

Harry's Bar is a bar and restaurant located at Calle Vallaresso 1323, Venice, Italy, owned by Cipriani S.A..

History

Harry's Bar was opened in 1931 by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani. According to the company history, Harry Pickering—a rich, young Bostonian—had been frequenting Hotel Europa in Venice, where Giuseppe Cipriani was a bartender. When Pickering suddenly stopped coming to the hotel bar, Cipriani asked him why. When Pickering explained that he was broke because his family found out his drinking habits and cut him off financially, Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (about $5,000 US). Two years later, Pickering returned to the hotel bar, ordered a drink, and gave Cipriani 50,000 lire in return. "Mr. Cipriani, thank you," he said, according to the Cipriani website. "Here's the money. And to show you my appreciation, here's 40,000 more, enough to open a bar. We will call it Harry's Bar." The Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs declared it a national landmark in 2001.

Patrons

Harry's Bar has long been frequented by famous people, and it was a favourite of Ernest Hemingway. Other notable customers have included Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, inventor Guglielmo Marconi, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Princess Aspasia of Greece, Aristotle Onassis, Barbara Hutton, Peggy Guggenheim, and Woody Allen. Stephen O'Brien The bar was also briefly mentioned in the second and subsequent editions of Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited (in the first edition Waugh simply called the bar "the English bar") as a frequent haunt of principal characters Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte during their time in Venice. In fact it was impossible for them to have frequented Harry's Bar as Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte were born in 1903 and were 19 at the time they visited Venice in the novel.

Food and drink

Harry's Bar is home of the Bellini and Carpaccio. Harry's Bar is also famous for its dry martini, which is served in a small glass without a stem. Their dry martinis are very dry, apparently with the ratio of 10 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. This is an adaptation of the Montgomery Martini, which is 15 parts gin to 1 part dry vermouth. The Montgomery is named after British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, who liked to have a 15 to 1 ratio of his own troops against enemy troops on the battle field. Ernest Hemingway is said to be the first person to order a Montgomery at Harry's Bar. Harry's Bar serves classic Italian dishes. Its prices are high (twenty Euros for a bowl of minestrone).

Hotel Danieli (Palazzo Dandolo) in Venice, Italy

PALAZZO DANDOLO, VENICE

Hotel Danieli, formerly Palazzo Dandolo, is a five-star palatial hotel in Venice, Italy. It was built at the end of the 14th century by one of the Dandolo families. CNN cites it as one of the top five "lavish hotels" in the city. In 2010, extensive footage was shot at the hotel for The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.

Location

The hotel's main building is the Palazzo Dandolo, close to St. Mark’s Square, with a rear facade on the Riva degli Schiavoni's quayside promenade overlooking the Saint Mark's Basin. It adjoins a number of buildings dated to the 14th and 15th century.

History

The structure was built at the end of the 14th century by the Dandolos, a noble Venetian family. In the 16th century the building was divided into three sections for different members of the family. The richly embellished building, which gives the appearance of a single unit from the exterior, was then the venue of social gatherings and lavish parties. In the 17th century, ownership was with the Mocenigo and the Bernardo families who continued to hold grand social events. At the wedding celebration of Giustiniana Mocenigo with Lorenzo Giustinian in 1629, Giulio Strozzi's Proserpina Rapita was performed with music by Monteverdi. The two families were still the owners of the building at the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.

After the building had suffered the effects of the city's decline, the Venetian Giuseppe Dal Niel of Friuli, known as Danieli, rented the first floor of the building from 24 October 1822 for his own use and to house his guests. In 1824, appreciating its potential as a centrally located meeting place, he bought the entire building, lavishly restored it and converted it into a hotel which he appropriately renamed "Danieli". Many notable artists, writers, musicians and other luminaries stayed here, among them Goethe, Wagner, Charles Dickens, Byron, Peggy Guggenheim, Leonard Bernstein, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg. One of the most popular rooms in the hotel is Number 10. It was here that Aurore Dudevant, better known as George Sand, stayed with her lover Alfred de Musset. The biography of George Sand, under the section "Love and Genius", brings out the romantic details of their stay in this room.

During this period, the famous restaurant, first known as the Caffè Brigiacco, came into being among the shops which developed on the ground floor. As it was run by two Greek brothers who had a liking for oriental dress, it later became known as the "Caffè Orientale". In the 19th century, private beach access was a feature of the hotel, while guests could use the services of interpreters who were versed in different European languages. In 1895, when the building's ownership changed hands, it was modernized with extensive electrical fittings, lifts and central heating, transforming it into the luxurious "Hotel Royal Danieli". By end of the 19th century, a bridge link was established, annexing the hotel to a 19th-century adjoining palace now known as the Casa Nuova which became part of the hotel in 1906. That year, together with four other luxurious hotels in Venice, the Danieli came under the control of Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi, owned by Count Giuseppe Volpi. Further changes to the façade were undertaken by the architect Francesco Marsich.

Finally, from 1946 to 1948 after the buildings between the Palazzo Dandolo and the Palazzo delle Prigioni had been demolished, the hotel was substantially extended. The "Danielino" (Little Daniele), a new building with a marble façade designed by Virgilio Vallot, became the last addition to the hotel. In 2010, extensive footage was shot at the hotel for the The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The suite which appeared in the film was once lived in by the likes of Proust and Balzac; something mentioned in the film. In one scene, Depp clambered across the roof tiles of the hotel in his pajamas.

Architecture and fittings

The 14th-century building which has been a hotel since 1822 now has a pink façade with marble sills, white turrets and balconies with pointed arches. The main architectural feature is the four-storied courtyard which is covered with arches in Byzantine Gothic style and provides for natural sunlight. The foyer leads to the open staircases with balustrades up to the furnished rooms and suites. While an elevator is available, the stairway is painted gold. The hotel's 233 rooms and suites are spread through a central building with three wings. There are rooms facing the lagoon in the original wing of the hotel and large rooms in the 19th-century palazzo. The hotel also boasts a huge fireplace. The Doge Suite is the most luxurious, with furniture dating to the 18th century and frescos by the 18th-century Venetian artist Jacopo Guarana. The balcony features a Venetian mask shop, while the restaurant is ornamented with an entrance of high arches and chandeliers of Venetian glass. The rooftop terrace restaurant has views of Venice and the sea.

Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Italy

PALAZZO GRASSI, VENICE

Palazzo Grassi (also known as the Palazzo Grassi-Stucky) is an edifice in the Venetian Classical style located on the Grand Canal of Venice, northern Italy.

History

It was designed by Giorgio Massari, and the building was completed between 1748 and 1772. The latecomer among the palaces on the Grand Canal of Venice, Palazzo Grassi has an academic classical style that is in contrast to the surrounding Byzantine Romanesque and Baroque Venetian palazzi. It has a formal palace façade, constructed in white marble, and lacking the lower mercantile openings typical of many Venetian patrician palaces. The Grassi family sold the palazzo in 1840, with ownership that followed passing through many different individuals.

The Palazzo was purchased by the Fiat Group in 1983, under the late chairman Gianni Agnelli, and it underwent a complete restoration overseen by Count Antonio Foscari Widmann Rezzonico, the current owner of Villa Foscari. The group's aim was to transform Palazzo Grassi into an exhibition hall for the visual arts. It continues to be used as an art gallery today. Between 1984 and 1990, Pontus Hultén was in charge of the art museum which also contains a 600 seat outdoor theatre. Since 2006, the palace has been owned by the French entrepreneur François Pinault who exhibits his personal art collection there. It was also where Pinault's son Francois-Henri met actress Salma Hayek and it served as the location for their wedding

Saint Mark's Church in Venice Italy

CHURCH OF SAINT MARK, VENICE

Basilica San Marco is the multi-domed church on Saint Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco), and one of Italy's most spectacular churches and one of Venice's top attractions. Exhibiting influences from Byzantine, Western European, and Islamic architecture Saint Mark's Basilica is truly an embodiment of the Venetian aesthetic.

Visitors flock to Basilica San Marco to admire its gleaming, golden Byzantine mosaics, which adorn the church's main portal as well as the inside of each of the basilica's five domes. Most of the astounding ornamentation of Saint Mark's Basilica dates from the 11th to the 13th centuries. In addition to gorgeous mosaics, Basilica San Marco also houses the relics of its namesake, the apostle Saint Mark, and the Pala d'Oro, a golden altarpiece decorated with priceless jewels.

While admission to Basilica San Marco is free, it is restricted however. Visitors are allowed approximately 10 minutes to walk through and admire the basilica's beauty. To maximize your visit and ensure that you spend more time inside Saint Mark's than queued up outside of it, consider reserving a ticket (free, with a service charge). You can also take a guided tour of Saint Mark's Basilica.  Guided tours are available at 11 am, Mondays through Saturdays from April to October. See the Saint Mark's Basilica web site.

PLANNING YOUR VISIT TO SAN MARCO CHURCH IN VENICE

  • Address: Piazza San Marco
  • Hours (as of 2010): Mondays through Saturdays 9:45 am until 5:00 pm; Sundays and holidays 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm (during March and April – Easter – the Basilica is open until 5:00 pm on Sundays and holidays). Mass hours are at 7:00 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 10: 00 am (in Baptistery), 11 a.m., noon (September through June only), and 6:45 pm.
  • Information: web site; Tel. (0039) 041-270-8311
  • Admission: Admission to the Basilica San Marco is free, but visitors should expect to pay entrance fees during holidays or to special parts of the basilica complex, such as the St. Mark's museum, Pala d'Oro, and the Treasury. You can book your free reservation (for a 1 euro service fee)
  • Visitors may attend mass for free and require no reservations at this time. However, they are also not allowed to tour the church during mass.

San Giuliano Church in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SAN GIULIANO, VENICE

The Chiesa di San Giuliano ( St Julian), commonly called San Zulian in the Venetian dialect, is a church in Venice. San Zulian is in the parish of San Salvador. It is situated on the Merceria, the main shopping street of the city. Originally a structure from the 9th century; it underwent a number of reconstructions, including likely after the 1105 fire of the neighborhood. The façade was constructed in 1553-1554 by Jacopo Sansovino, and completed after his death in 1570 by Alessandro Vittoria. The flattened classical temple façade was paid for by the scholar Tommaso Rangone, whose bronze seated portrait appears above the door. In his hands, the physician Rangone holds sarsaparilla and guaiacum, two plants which he used to treat syphilis and yellow fever. The reliefs also depict a map of the world as was known at his death. As befitting his broad-ranging interests in classic texts, the flanking inscriptions are in Latin (center), Greek (right) and Hebrew (left) text. The interior was also designed by Sansovino, and the church consecrated in 1580.

Works of Art

  • Girolamo Campagna ( terracotta figures of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene and a marble altar panel in the chapel to the left of the high altar)
  • Palma the Younger (St Julian in Glory on the central panel of the ceiling)
  • Paolo Veronese (Pietà with SS Roch, Jerome and Mark on the south wall)
  • The upper walls are painted by Leonardo Corona, Giovanni Fiammingo, and Palma.

San Marco Square in Venice, Italy

SAN MARCO SQUARE, VENICE

Venice Saint Marks Square

San Marco Square is the greatest people watcher place in the city of Venice and is a year-round carnival of milling tourists, a endless supply of pigeons, locals relaxing at outdoor café tables, and couples caught up in Venice's romance, and at time fulled with water as if to give you a new prospective. The square is enclosed on three sides by a unified 16th-century arcade and is crowned by St. Mark's Church, Italy's most mosaic covered cathedral. The square is a mob by midday, but late at night or at dawn it's virtually deserted, an emptiness that brings it to life with a Venetian magic all its own.

WHAT TO SEE IN SAN MARCO SQUARE

Piazza San Marco has famously been called "the drawing room of Europe," a quote that has been attributed to Napoleon. The square is named after the stunning Basilica San Marco that sits on the east end of the square. The Campanile di San Marco, the basilica's bell tower, is one of the square's most recognizable landmarks.

Adjacent to Saint Mark's Basilica is the Doges' Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the erstwhile headquarters of the Doges, the rulers of Venice. The paved area that extends from the Piazza San Marco and forms a large "L" shape around the the Doges Palace is known as the Piazzetta (little square) and the Molo (jetty). This area is characterized by the two tall columns along the waterfront which represent Venice's two patron saints. The Column of San Marco is topped with a winged lion while the Column of San Teodoro holds up a statue of Saint Theodore.

Saint Mark's Square is bordered on its other three sides by the Procuratie Vecchie and Procuratie Nuove, built, respectively, in the 12th and 16th centuries. These connected buildings once housed the apartments and offices of the procurators of Venice, government officials who oversaw the administration of the Venetian Republic. Today, the Procuratie Nuove houses the Museo Correr, while famous cafés, such as the Gran Caffè Quadri and Caffe' Lavena, spill out from the Procuraties' arcaded ground floors.

Travel Tips to Consider When Visiting Venice

  • The cafes on the piazza are overpriced, but if you are visiting during carnival the cappuccino and a front-row seat are great place view the events. Just drink very slowly
  • I always suggest taking the Vaporetto straight to the square to start your visit, more so if you are arriving early in the morning.  Also staying near the square allows you to comfortably enjoy the magic of the republic in the late evening.

San Maurizio Church in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SAN MAURIZIO, VENICE

The Church of San Maurizio in Venice is located in the sestiere of San Marco, in thecampo San Maurizio. A church was present at the site at the time of the first reconstruction in the 16th century. A further reconstruction took place in 1806. It once housed a studio of a young Antonio Canova. Near the church was built the scuola degli Albanesi. The present church is mainly a design of the Neoclassic architect Giovanni Antonio Selva.

San Samuele Church in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SAN SAMUELE, VENICE

San Samuele is a church in Venice, northern Italy. It is located in the eponymous campo near Palazzo Grassi and Palazzo Malipiero.

The facade is set back on the campo, but faces and is visible from the Grand Canal. It is named after the Biblical Samuel, because in the interior are housed relics traditionally attributed to him. The church was built around 1000 by the families Boldù and Soranzo. In the early 12th centuries it was destroyed by two fires and then reconstructed. In 1685 it was again almost entirely rebuilt. The portico on the façade, now closed, is surmounted by a loggia added in 1952.

The interior, over the high altar, houses a 14th-century crucifix attributed to Paolo Veneziano. San Samuele bears the distinction of being one of only a handful of Venetian churches dedicated to an Old Testament prophet rather than a Roman Catholic saint. It is also unique in that its late- Gothic apse has remained intact despite the restructuring of its nave and façade in 1685. The walls and vaults of this apse have been restored starting in 1999, and are one of the few surviving fresco cycles of the early Venetian Renaissance. The cycle depicts eight Sibyls, Greek and Roman female seers who were believed to have predicted events in the life of Christ such as the Annunciation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The ceiling's quadripartite vault features Saints Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose and Gregory, the four fathers of the Western church, set in roundels and surrounded by inscriptions, decorative foliage, and putti bearing the instruments of the Passion. Above the high altar, the frescoes occupying the spaces between the ribs of the cupola feature Christ and the four Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The cycle has traditionally been attributed to the Paduan or Bolognese school.

Santa Maria dei Giglio Church in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DEL GIGLIO, VENICE

The Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio is a church in Venice, Italy. The church, whose name translates into St. Mary of the Lily referring to the flower classically depicted as being presented by the Angel Gabriel during the Annunciation), is more commonly known as Santa Maria Zobenigo after the Jubanico family who founded it in the 9th century. The edifice is situated on the Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo, west of the Piazza San Marco. It was rebuilt by Giuseppe Sardi for Admiral Antonio Barbaro between 1678 and 1681 and has one of the finest Venetian Baroque facades in all of Venice.

Exterior

The exterior lacks any Christian image statues or reliefs. It shows the marble relief maps of various places in which Antonio Barbaro served, including Candia, Zadar, Padua, Rome, Corfu and Spalato. Venice files His own statue, as the chief benefactor, in the center, sculpted by Josse de Corte, is flanked by representations of Honour, Virtue, Fame and Wisdom. The other statues are his brothers. At the top of the facade is the Barbaro family arms carved in relief.

Interior

The nave ceiling is decorated with a large canvas by Antonio Zanchi. Along the nave are painted depictions of the Via Crucis (1755–1756) or Stations of the Cross by various artists, including Francesco Zugno, Gianbattista Crosato, Gaspare Diziani, and Jacopo Marieschi. The Molin chapel on the right of the church contains the only painting by the Flemish Rubens in Venice, the Madonna and child with young St. John. That chapel also has a painting of St Vincent Ferrer (1750) by Piazetta and Giuseppe Angeli.

The altar has flanking statues depicting the Annuciation byMeyring. Behind the high altar, in the sanctuary are paintings of the Evangelists by Jacopo Tintoretto. The organ shutters include works by Alessandro Vittoria. Other paintings in the church are by Sebastiano Ricci and Jacopo Palma il Giovane. Morlaiter has an additional sculpture found in the second chapel to the right of San Gregorio Barbarigo. Another painting by Tintoretto, Christ with two Saints in the north aisle, has been damaged by restoration.

Santo Stefano Church in Venice, Italy

CHURCH OF SANTO STEFANO, VENICE

The Chiesa di Santo Stefano (Church of St. Stephen) is a large church at the northern end of the Campo Santo Stefano in Venice. It was founded in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 14th century and altered again early in the 15th century, when the fine gothic doorway and ship's keel roof were added. The tall interior is also Gothic and has three apses. Santo Stefano is parish church of one of the parishes in the Vicariate of San Marco-Castello. The other churches of the parish are San Samuele, San Maurizio, San Vidal and the Oratorio di San Angelo degli Zoppi.

Works of art

  • Antonio Canova ( stele commemorating Giovanni Falier in the baptistery)
  • Pietro Lombardo (tomb of Giacomo Surian)
  • Tullio Lombardo (two marble statuettes in the sacristy (attributed))
  • Tintoretto (The Agony in the Garden, The Last Supper and The Washing of the Disciples' Feet, all in the sacristy)
  • Paolo Veneziano (painted Crucifix in the sacristy)
  • Bartolomeo Vivarini (St Lawrence and St Nicholas of Bari in the sacristy)
  • And the saint Marks Basilica

Funerary monuments

  • Doge Andrea Contarini (d.1382)
  • Giovanni Falier
  • Francesco Morosini
  • Giacomo Surian
  • Giovanni Gabrieli (d. 1612) Great Venetian composer and organist at San Marco

Seat of Rule The Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy

DOGE PALACE, VENICE

The Doge's Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice, northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. In 2013, it was visited by more than 1.5 million people.

History

In 810, Doge Angelo Partecipazio moved the seat of government from the island of Malamocco to the area of the present-day Rialto, when it was decided apalatium duci, a ducal palace, should be built. However, no traces remains of that 9th-century building as the palace was partially destroyed in the 10th century by a fire. The following reconstruction works were undertaken at the behest of Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172–1178). A great reformer, he would drastically change the entire layout of the St. Mark's Square. The new palace was built out of fortresses, one façade to the Piazzeta, the other overlooking the St. Mark's Basin.

Although only few traces remain of that palace, some Byzantine-Venetian architecture characteristics can still be seen at the ground floor, with the wall base in Istrian stone and some herring-bone pattern brick paving. Political changes in the mid-13th century led to the need to re-think the palace's structure due to the considerable increase in the number of the Great Council's members. The new Gothic palace's constructions started around 1340, focusing mostly on the side of the building facing the lagoon. Only in 1424, did Doge Francesco Foscari decide to extend the rebuilding works to the wing overlooking the Piazzetta, serving as law-courts, and with a ground floor arcade on the outside, open first floor loggias running along the façade, and the internal courtyard side of the wing, completed with the construction of the Porta della Carta (1442).

In 1483, a violent fire broke out in the side of the palace overlooking the canal, where the Doge's Apartments were. Once again, an important reconstruction became necessary and was commissioned from Antonio Rizzo, who would introduce the new Renaissance language to the building's architecture. An entire new structure was raised alongside the canal, stretching from the pontedella Canonica to the , with the official rooms of the government decorated with works commissioned from Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgione, Alvise Vivarini and Giovanni Bellini. Another huge fire in 1547 destroyed some of the rooms on the second floor, but fortunately without undermining the structure as a whole. Refurbishment works were being held at the palace when on 1577 a third fire destroyed the Scrutinio Room and the Great Council Chamber, together with works by Gentile da Fabriano, Pisanello, Alvise Vivarini, Vittore Carpaccio, Giovanni Bellini, Pordenone, and Titian.

In the subsequent rebuilding work it was decided to respect the original Gothic style, despite the submission of a neo-classical alternative designs by the influential Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. However, there are some classical features — for example, since the 16th century, the palace has been linked to the prison by the Bridge of Sighs. As well as being the ducal residence, the palace housed political institutions of the Republic of Venice until the Napoleonic occupation of the city in 1797, when its role inevitably changed. Venice was subjected first to French rule, then to Austrian, and finally in 1866 it became part of Italy. Over this period, the palace was occupied by various administrative offices as well as housing the Biblioteca Marciana and other important cultural institutions within the city.

By the end of the 19th century, the structure was showing clear signs of decay, and the Italian government set aside significant funds for its restoration and all public offices were moved elsewhere, with the exception of the State Office for the protection of historical Monuments, which is still housed at the palace's loggia floor. In 1923, the Italian State, owner of the building, entrusted the management to the Venetian municipality to be run as a museum. Since 1996, the Doge’s Palace has been part of the Venetian museums network, which has been under the management of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia since 2008.

Exterior

The oldest part of the palace is the façade overlooking the lagoon, the corners of which are decorated with 14th-century sculptures by Filippo Calendario and various Lombard artists such as Matteo Raverti and Antonio Bregno. The ground floor arcade and the loggia above are decorated with 14th- and 15th-century capitals, some of which were replaced with copies during the 19th century. In 1438–1442, Giovanni Bon and Bartolomeo Bon built and adorned the Porta della Carta, which served as the ceremonial entrance to the building. The name of the gateway probably derives either from the fact that this was the area where public scribes set up their desks, or from the nearby location of thecartabum, the archives of state documents. Flanked by Gothic pinnacles, with two figures of the Cardinal Virtues per side, the gateway is crowned by a bust of St. Mark over which rises a statue of Justice with her traditional symbols of sword and scales. In the space above the cornice, there is a sculptural portrait of the Doge Francesco Foscari kneeling before the St. Mark's Lion. This is, however, a 19th-century work by Luigi Ferrrari, created to replace the original destroyed in 1797. Nowadays, the public entrance to the Doge's Palace is via the Porta del Frumento, in the waterfront side of the building.

The courtyard

The north side of the courtyard is closed by the junction between the palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, which used to be the Doge’s chapel. At the center of the courtyard stand two well-heads dating from the mid-16th century. In 1485, the Great Council decided that a ceremonial staircase should be built within the courtyard. The design envisaged a straight axis with the rounded Foscari Arch, with alternate bands of Istrian stone and red Verona marble, linking the staircase to the Porta della Carta, and thus producing one single monumental approach from the Piazza into the heart of the building. Since 1567, the Giants’ Staircase is guarded by Sansovino’s two colossal statues of Mars and Neptune, which represents Venice’s power by land and by sea, and therefore the reason for its name. Members of the Senate gathered before government meetings in the Senator’s Courtyard, to the right of the Giants’ Staircase.

Museo dell'Opera

Over the centuries, the Doge’s Palace has been restructured and restored countless times. Due to fires, structural failures, and infiltrations, and new organizational requirements and modifications or complete overhaulings of the ornamental trappings there was hardly a moment in which some kind of works have not been under way at the building. From the Middle Ages, the activities of maintenance and conservation were in the hands of a “technical office”, which was in charge of all such operations and oversaw the workers and their sites: the Opera, or fabbriceria or procuratoria. After the mid-19th century, the Palace seemed to be in such a state of decay that its very survival was in question; thus from 1876 a major restoration plan was launched.

The work involved the two facades and the capitals belonging to the ground-floor arcade and the upper loggia: 42 of these, which appeared to be in a specially dilapidated state, were removed and replaced by copies. The originals, some of which were masterpieces of Venetian sculpture of the 14th and 15th centuries, were placed, together with other sculptures from the facades, in an area specifically set aside for this purpose: the Museo dell’Opera. After undergoing thorough and careful restoration works, they are now exhibited, on their original columns, in these 6 rooms of the museum, which are traversed by an ancient wall in great blocks of stone, a remnant of an earlier version of the Palace. The rooms also contain fragments of statues and important architectural and decorative works in stone from the facades of the Palace.

The Doge's Apartments

The rooms in which the Doge lived were always located in this area of the palace, between the Rio della Canonica – the water entrance to the building – the present-day Golden Staircase and the apse of St. Mark’s Basilica. The disastrous fire in this part of the building in 1483 made important reconstruction work necessary, with the Doge’s apartments being completed by 1510. The core of these apartments forms a prestigious, though not particularly large, residence, given that the rooms nearest the Golden Staircase had a mixed private and public function. In the private apartments, the Doge could set aside the trappings of office to retire at the end of the day and dine with members of his family amidst furnishings that he had brought from his own house (and which, at his death, would be promptly removed to make way for the property of the new elected Doge).

  • The Scarlet Chamber possibly takes its name from the color of the robes worn by the Ducal advisors and counsellors for whom it was the antechamber. The carved ceiling, adorned with the armorial bearings of Doge Andrea Gritti, is part of the original décor, probably designed by Biagio and Pietro da Faenza. Amongst the wall decoration, two frescoed lunettes are particular worthy of attention: one by Giuseppe Salviati, the other by Titian.
  • The “Scudo” Room has this name from the coat-of-arms of the reigning Doge which was exhibited here while he granted audiences and received guests. The coat-of-arms currently on display is that of Ludovico Manin, the Doge reigning when the Republic of St. Mark came to an end in 1797. This is the largest room in the Doge’s apartments, and runs the entire width of this wing of the palace. The hall was used as a reception chamber and its decoration with large geographical maps was designed to underline the glorious tradition that was at the very basis of Venetian power. The two globes in the center of the hall date from the same period: one shows the sphere of heavens, the other the surface of Earth.
  • The Erizzo Room owes its name to Doge Francesco Erizzo (1631–1646) and is decorated in the same way as the preceding ones: a carved wood ceiling, with gilding against a light-blue background, and a Lombardy-school fireplace. From here, a small staircase leads up to a window that gave access to a roof garden.
  • The Stucchi or Priùli Room has a double name due to both the stucco works that adorn the vault and lunettes, dating from the period of Doge Marino Grimani (1595–1605), and the presence of the armorial bearings of Doge Antonio Priùli (1618–1623), which are to be seen on the fireplace, surmounted by allegorical figures. The stucco-works on the walls and ceiling were later commissioned by another Doge Pietro Grimani (1741–1752). Various paintings representing the life of Jesus Christ are present in this room, as well as a portrait of the French King Henry III (perhaps by Tintoretto) due to his visit to the city in 1574 on his way from Poland to take up the French throne left vacant with the death of his brother Charles IX.
  • Directly linked to the Shield Hall, the Philosophers’ Room takes its name from the twelve pictures of ancient philosophers which were set up here in the 18th century, to be later replaced with allegorical works and portraits of Doges. To the left, a small doorway leads to a narrow staircase, which enabled the Doge to pass rapidly from his own apartments to the halls on the upper floors, where the meetings of the Senate and the Great Council were held. Above the other side of this doorway there is an important fresco of St. Christopher by Titian.
  • The Corner Room's name comes from the presence of various paintings depicting Doge Giovanni Corner (1625–1629). The fireplace, made out of Carrara marble, is decorated with a frieze of winged angels on dolphins around a central figure of St. Mark’s Lion. Like the following room, this served no specific function; set aside for the private use of the Doge.
  • The Equerries Room was the main access to the Doge’s private apartments. The palace equerries were appointed for life by the Doge himself and had to be at his disposal at any time.
  • Institutional Chambers
  • The Square Atrium served as a waiting room, the antechamber to various halls. The decoration dates from the 16th century, during Doge 's reign, who appears in Tintoretto’s ceiling painting with the symbols of his office, and accompanied by scenes of biblical stories and allegories of the four seasons, probably by Tintoretto’s workshop, Girolamo Bassano and Veronese.
  • The Four Doors Room was the formal antechamber to the more important rooms in the palace, and the doors which give it its name are ornately framed in precious Eastern marbles; each is surmounted by an allegorical sculptural group that refers to the virtues which should inspire those who took on the government responsibilities. The present decoration is a work by Antonio da Ponte and design by Andrea Palladio and Antonio Rusconi. Painted by Tintoretto from 1578 onwards, the frescoes of mythological subjects and of the cities and regions under Venetian dominion were designed to show a close link between Venice’s foundation, its independence, and the historical mission of the Venetian aristocracy. Amongst the paintings on the walls, one that stands out is Titian’s portrait of Doge Antonio Grimani (1521–1523). On the easel stands a painting by Tiepolo portraying Venice receiving the gifts of the sea from Neptune.
  • Antechamber to the Hall of the Full Council was the formal antechamber where foreign ambassadors and delegations waited to be received by the Full Council, delegated by the Senate to deal with foreign affairs. This room was restored after the 1574 fire and so was its decorations, with stucco-works and ceiling frescoes. The central fresco by Veronese shows Venice distributing honors and rewards. The top of the walls is decorated with a fine frieze and other sumptuous fittings, including the fireplace between the windows and the fine doorway leading into the Hall of the Full Council, whose Corinthian columns bear a pediment surmounted by a marble sculpture showing the female figure of Venice resting on a lion and accompanied by allegories of Glory and Concord. Next to the doorways are four canvases that Tintoretto painted for the Square Atrium, but which were brought here in 1716 to replace the original leather wall panelling. Each of the mythological scenes depicted is also an allegory of the Republic’s government.
  • The Council Chamber: the Full Council was mainly responsible for organizing and coordinating the work of the Senate, reading dispatches from ambassadors and city governors, receiving foreign delegations and promoting other political and legislative activity. Alongside these shared functions, each body had their own particular mandates, which made this body a sort of “guiding intelligence” behind the work of the Senate, especially in foreign affairs. The decorations were designed by Andrea Palladio to replace that destroyed in the 1574 fire; the wood panelling of the walls and end tribune and the carved ceiling are the work of Francesco Bello and . The paintings in the ceiling were commissioned from Veronese, who completed them between 1575 and 1578. This ceiling is one of the artist’s masterpieces and celebrates the Good Government of the Republic, together with the Faith on which it rests and the Virtues that guide and strengthen it. Other paintings are by Tintoretto and show various Doges with the Christ, the Virgin and saints.
  • The Senate Chamber was also known as the Sala dei Pregadi, because the Doge asked the members of the Senate to take part in the meetings held here. The Senate which met in this chamber was one of the oldest public institutions in Venice; it had first been founded in the 13th century and then gradually evolved over time, until by the 16th century it was the body mainly responsible for overseeing political and financial affairs in such areas as manufacturing industries, trade and foreign policy. In the works produced for this room by Tintoretto, Christ is clearly the predominant figure; perhaps a reference to the Senate ‘conclave’ which elected the Doge, seen as being under the protection of the Son of God. The room also contains four paintings by Jacopo Palma il Giovane, which are linked with specific events of the Venetian history.
  • The Chamber of the Council of Ten takes its name from the Council of Ten which was set up after a conspiracy in 1310, when Bajamonte Tiepolo and other noblemen tried to overthrow the institutions of the State. The ceiling decoration is a work by Gian Battista Ponchino, with the assistance of a young Veronese and Gian Battista Zelotti. Carved and gilded, the ceiling is divided into 25 compartments decorated with images of divinities and allegories intended to illustrate the power of the Council of Ten that was responsible for punishing the guilty and freeing the innocent.
  • The Compass Room is dedicated to the administration of justice; its name comes from the large wooden compass surmounted by a statue of Justice, which stands in one corner and hides the entrance to the rooms of the Three Heads of the Council of Ten and the State Inquisitors. This room was the antechamber where those who had been summoned by these powerful magistrates waited to be called and the decoration was intended to underline the solemnity of the Republic’s legal machinery, dating from the 16th century. The ceiling paintings are by Veronese and the large fireplace was designed by Sansovino. From this room, one can pass to the Armoury and the New Prisons, on the other side of the Bridge of Sighs, or go straight down the Censors’ Staircase to pass into the rooms housing the councils of justice on the first floor.
  • In the Venetian language, Liagò means a terrace or balcony enclosed by glass. This particular example was a sort of corridor and meeting-place for patrician members of the Great Council in the intervals between their discussions of government business.
  • The Chamber of Quarantia Civil Vecchia: originally a single 40-man-council which wielded substantial political and legislative power, the Quarantia was during the course of the 15th century divided into three separate councils. This room was restored in the 17th century; the fresco fragment to the right of the entrance is the only remnant of the original decorations.
  • The Guariento Room's name is due to the fact it houses a fresco painted by the Paduan artist Guariento around 1365. Almost completely destroyed in the 1577 fire, the remains of that fresco were, in 1903, rediscovered under the large canvas Il Paradiso which Tintoretto was commissioned to paint.
  • Restructured in the 14th century, the Chamber of the Great Council was decorated with a fresco by Guariento and later with works by the most famous artists of the period, including Gentile da Fabriano, Pisanello, Alvise Vivarini, Vittore Carpaccio, Giovanni Bellini, Pordenone and Titian. 53 meters long and 25 meters wide, this is not only the largest chamber in the Doge’s Palace, but also one of the largest rooms in Europe. Here, meetings of the Great Council were held, the most important political body in the Republic. A very ancient institution, this Council was made up of all the male members of patrician Venetian families over 25 years old, irrespective of their individual status, merits or wealth. This was why, in spite of the restrictions in its powers that the Senate introduced over the centuries, the Great Council continued to be seen as bastion of Republican equality. Soon after work on the new hall had been completed, the 1577 fire damaged not only this Chamber but also the Scrutinio Room. The structural damage was soon restored, respecting the original layout, and all works were finished within few years, ending in 1579–80. The decoration of the restored structure involved artists such as Veronese, Jacopo and Domenico Tintoretto, and Jacopo Palma il Giovane. The walls were decorated with episodes of the Venetian history, with particular reference to the city’s relations with the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, while the ceiling was decorated with the Virtues and individual examples of Venetian heroism, and a central panel containing an allegorical glorification of the Republic. Facing each other in groups of six, the twelve wall paintings depict acts of valor or incidents of war that had occurred during the city’s history. Immediately below the ceiling runs a frieze with portraits of the first 76 doges (the portraits of the others are to be found in the Scrutinio Room); commissioned from Tintoretto, most of these paintings are in fact the work of his son. Each Doge holds a scroll bearing a reference to his most important achievements, while Doge Marin Faliero, who attempted a coup d’état in 1355, is represented simply by a black cloth as a traitor to the Republic. One of the long walls, behind the Doge’s throne, is occupied by the longest canvas painting in the world, Il Paradiso, which Tintoretto and his workshop produced between 1588 and 1592.
  • The Scrutinio Room is in the wing built between the 1520s and 1540s during the dogate of Francesco Foscari (1423–57), facing the Piazzeta. It was initially intended to house the precious manuscripts left to the Republic by Petrarch and Bessarione (1468); indeed, it was originally known as the Library. In 1532, it was decided that the Chamber should also hold the electoral counting and/or deliberations that assiduously marked the rhythm of Venetian politics, based on an assembly system whose epicenter was the nearby Great Council Chamber. After the construction of Biblioteca Marciana though, this room was used solely for elections. The present decorations date from between 1578 and 1615, after the 1577 fire. Episodes of military history in the various compartments glorify the exploits of the Venetians, with particular emphasis on the conquest of the maritime empire; the only exception being the last oval, recording the taking of Padua in 1405.
  • The Quarantia Criminale Chamber and the Cuoi Room were used for the administration of justice. The Quarantia Criminal was set up in the 15th century and dealt with cases of criminal law. It was a very important body as its members also had legislative powers.
  • The Magistrato alle Leggi Chamber housed the Magistratura dei Conservatori ed esecutori delle leggi e ordini degli uffici di San Marco e di Rialto. Created in 1553, this authority was headed by three of the city’s patricians and was responsible for making sure the regulations concerning the practice of law were observed.
  • The State Censors were set up in 1517 by Marco Giovanni di Giovanni, a cousin of Doge Andrea Gritti (1523–1538) and nephew of the great Francesco Foscari. The title and duties of the Censors resulted from the cultural and political upheavals that are associated with Humanism. In fact, the Censors were not judges as such, but more like moral consultants, their main task being the suppression of electoral fraud and protection of the State’s public institutions. On the walls of the Censors' Chamber hang a number of Domenico Tintoretto’s portraits of these magistrates, and below the armorial bearings of some of those who held the position.
  • The State Advocacies' Chamber is decorated with paintings representing some of the Avogadori venerating the Virgin, the Christ and various saints. The three members, the Avogadori, were the figures who safeguarded the very principle of legality, making sure that the laws were applied correctly. They were also responsible for preserving the integrity of the city’s patrician class, verifying the legitimacy of marriages and births inscribed in the Golden Book.
  • The "Scrigno" Room: the Venetian nobility as a caste came into existence because of the “closure” of admissions to the Great Council in 1297; however, it was only in the 16th century that formal measures were taken to introduce restrictions that protected the status of that aristocracy: marriages between nobles and commoners were forbidden and greater controls were set up to check the validity of aristocratic titles. There was also a Silver Book, which registered all those families that not only had the requisites of “civilization” and “honor”, but could also show that they were of ancient Venetian origin; such families furnished the manpower for the State bureaucracy - and particularly, the chancellery within the Doge’s Palace itself. Both books were kept in a chest in this room, inside a cupboard that also contained all the documents proving the legitimacy of claims to be inscribed therein.
  • Chamber of the Navy Captains: made up of 20 members from the Senate and the Great Council, the Milizia da Mar, first set up in the mid-16th century, was responsible for recruiting crews necessary for Venice’s war galleys. Another similar body, entitled the Provveditori all’Armar, was responsible for the actual fitting and supplying of the fleet. The furnishings are from the 16th century, while the wall torches date from the 18th century.

Old Prison or Piombi

Prior to the 12th century there were holding cells within the Doge's Palace but during the 13th and fourteenth centuries more prison spaces were created to occupy the entire ground floor of the southern wing. Again these layouts changed in c.1540 when a compound of the ground floor of the eastern wing was built. Due to the dark, damp and isolated qualities of they came to be known as the Pozzi. In 1591 yet more cells were built in the upper eastern wing. Due to the position of their position, directly under the lead roof, they were known as Piombi. Among the famous inmates of the prison were Silvio Pellico and Giacomo Casanova. The latter in his biography describes escaping through the roof, re-entering the palace, and exiting through the Porta della Carta.

The Bridge of Sighs and the New Prisons

A corridor leads over the Bridge of Sighs, built in 1614 to link the Doge’s Palace to the structure intended to house the New Prisons. Enclosed and covered on all sides, the bridge contains two separate corridors that run next to each other. That which visitors use today linked the Prisons to the chambers of the Magistrato alle Leggi and the Quarantia Criminal; the other linked the prisons to the State Advocacy rooms and the Parlatorio. Both corridors are linked to the service staircase that leads from the ground floor cells of the Pozzi to the roof cells of the Piombi.

The famous name of the bridge dates from the Romantic period and was supposed to refer to the sighs of prisoners who, passing from the courtroom to the cell in which they would serve their sentence, took a last look at freedom as they glimpsed the lagoon and San Giorgio through the small windows. In the mid-16th century it was decided to build a new structure on the other side of the canal to the side of the palace which would house prisons and the chambers of the magistrates known as the Notte al Criminal. Ultimately linked to the palace by the Bridge of Sighs, the building was intended to improve the conditions for prisoners with larger and more light-filled and airy cells. However, certain sections of the new prisons fall short of this aim, particularly those laid out with passageways on all sides and those cells which give onto the inner courtyard of the building. In keeping with previous traditions, each cell was lined with overlapping planks of larch that were nailed in place.

The only art theft from the Doge's Palace was executed on 9 October 1991 by Vincenzo Pipino, who hid in one of the cells in the New Prisons after lagging behind a tour group, then crossed the Bridge of Sighs in the middle of the night to the Sala di Censori. In that room was the Madonna col bambino, a work symbolic of "the power of the Venetian state" painted in the early 1500s by a member of the Vivarini school. By the next morning, it was in the possession of the Mala del Brenta organized crime group. The painting was recovered by the police on 7 November 1991.

Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy

TEATRO LA FENICE, VENICE

Teatro La Fenice (, "The Phoenix") is an opera house in Venice, Italy. It is one of "the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre" as well as those in Europe. Especially in the 19th century, La Fenice became the site of many famous operatic premieres at which the works of several of the four major bel canto era composers— Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi were performed. Its name reflects its role in permitting an opera company to "rise from the ashes" despite losing the use of three theatres to fire, the first in 1774 after the city's leading house was destroyed and rebuilt but not opened until 1792; the second fire came in 1836, but rebuilding was completed within a year. However, the third fire was the result of arson. It destroyed the house in 1996 leaving only the exterior walls, but it was rebuilt and re-opened in November 2004.

History

The First theatre. In 1774, the San Benedetto Theatre, which had been Venice's leading opera house for more than forty years, burned to the ground. By 1789, with interest from a number of wealthy opera lovers who wanted a spectacular new house, "a carefully defined competition" was organised to find a suitable architect. It was won by Gianantonio Selva who proposed a neoclassical style building with 170 identical boxes in tiers in a traditional horseshoe shaped auditorium, which had been the favoured style since it was introduced as early as 1642 in Venice. The house would face on one side a campo, or small plaza, and on the other a canal, with an entrance which gave direct access backstage and into the theatre. However, the process was not without controversy especially in regard to the aesthetics of the building. Some thirty responses were received and, as Romanelli accounts, Selva's was designated as the design to be constructed, the actual award for best design went to his chief rival, Pietro Bianchi. However, Selva's design and finished opera house appears to have been of high quality and the one best suited to the limitations of the physical space it was obliged to inhabit. Construction in began in June 1790, and by May 1792 the theatre was completed. It was named "La Fenice", in reference to the company's survival, first of the fire, then of the loss of its former quarters.

La Fenice was inaugurated on 16 May 1792, with an opera by Giovanni Paisiello entitled I giuochi d'Agrigento set to a libretto by Alessandro Pepoli. But no sooner had the opera house been rebuilt than a legal dispute broke out between the company managing it and the owners, the Venier family. The issue was decided in favor of the Veniers. From the beginning of the 19th century, La Fenice acquired a European reputation. Rossini mounted two major productions there: Tancredi in 1813 and Semiramide in 1823. Two of Bellini's operas were given their premieres there: I Capuleti e i Montecchi in March 1830 and Beatrice di Tenda in March 1833. Donizetti, fresh from his triumphs at La Scala in Milan and at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, returned to Venice in 1836 with his Belisario, after an absence of seventeen years.

Second theatre

In December 1836, disaster struck again when the theatre was destroyed by fire. However, it was quickly rebuilt with a design provided by the architect-engineer team of the brothers, Tommaso and . La, teatrolafenice.it The interior displays a late-Empire luxury of gilt decorations, plushy extravagance and stucco. La Fenice once again rose from its ashes to open its doors on the evening of 26 December 1837. Giuseppe Verdi's association with La Fenice began in 1844, with the premiere performance of Ernani during the carnival season. Over the next thirteen years, the premieres of Attila, Rigoletto, La traviata and Simon Boccanegra took place there. During the First World War, La Fenice was closed, but reopened to become the scene of much activity, attracting many of the world's greatest singers and conductors. In 1930, the Venice Biennale initiated the First International Festival of Contemporary Music, which brought such composers as Stravinsky and Britten, and more recently Berio, Nono and Bussotti, to write for La Fenice.

On 29 January 1996, it was completely destroyed by fire. Only its acoustics was preserved, since Lamberto Tronchin, an Italian acoustician, measured the acoustics 2 months earlier. Acoustics, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Volume 45 Issue 12 pp. 1051-1062; December 1997. Arson was immediately suspected. In March 2001, a court in Venice found two electricians, Enrico Carella and his cousin Massimiliano Marchetti, guilty of setting the fire. They appeared to have set the building ablaze because their company was facing heavy fines over delays in repair work in which they were engaged. Carella, the company's owner, disappeared after a final appeal was turned down. He had been sentenced to seven years in prison. Marchetti surrendered and served a six-year sentence. Ultimately, Carella was arrested in February 2007 at the Mexico-Belize border, was extradited to Italy, and released on day parole after serving 16 months.

After various delays, reconstruction began in in 2001. In 650 days, a team of two hundred plasterers, artists, woodworkers, and other craftsman succeeded in recreating the ambiance of the old theatre at a cost of some €90 million. As Gillian Price notes, "This time round, thanks to an enlightened project by late Italian architect Aldo Rossi and the motto "how it was, where it was", it has been fitted out with extra rehearsal areas and state-of-the-art stage equipment, while the seating capacity has been increased from 840 to 1000. 

La Fenice was rebuilt in 19th-century style on the basis of a design by architect Aldo Rossi who, in order to obtain details of its design, used still photographs from the opening scenes of Luchino Visconti's 1954 film Senso which had been filmed in the house. It reopened on 14 December 2003 with an inaugural concert of Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky. The first staged opera was a production of La traviata in November 2004. Critical response to the rebuilt La Fenice was mixed. The music critic of the paper Il Tempo, Enrico Cavalotti, was satisfied. He found the colours a bit bright but the sound good and compact. However, for his colleague Dino Villatico of the La Repubblica, the acoustics of the new hall lacked resonance and the colours were painfully bright. He found it " kitsch, a fake imitation of the past". He said that "the city should have had the nerve to build a completely new theater; Venice betrayed its innovative past by ignoring it".

 

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