Treasure of Saint Mark

The stolen treasure of Saint Mark

What the chronicles of the late 1400s report is perhaps one of the most sensational attempts at theft in the history of Venice.

Before the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte in Venice, the Treasures of Saint Mark held priceless valuables from all over the known world, and in 1494 a man thought that he could steal them.

This is the story of Stamati Crassiotti who devised a plan to steal the Treasure of Saint Mark.

Of the many petty thefts that occurred daily in Venice, Stamati probably thought that the risk he ran for his plan to work was pretty small compared to the prospect of a life lived in unbridled luxury that so many riches would have granted him.

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Calletta Varisco: the narrowest calle in Venice

Calletta Varisco in Venice is one of the narrowest streets in the city, and owes its name to the Varisco family who moved to Venice from Bergamo in the fifteenth century.

As well as being known in the city as silk workers in a Rialto shop, the chronicles of those times speak of Varisco family as the protagonists in two violent episodes that saw them imprisoned for a spell.
In 1488 Giovanni Varisco, who was considered a “man with a quarrelsome and bad temper”, wounded Luigi Dragan with a knife near the Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo. The motivation for Giovanni’s attack are not known. A few years later, in 1491, Pietro Varisco (the eldest of the family), who being accused of fraud by a young servant named Marco, orders his son Luigi to slap the boy.

The consequences of this argument follow quickly, and on March 8, 1491, the court of the Serenissima condemns both father and son to a year of imprisonment together with the payment of a large sum of money. The administrative efficiency of the courts and the severity of the prisons of the Serenissima Repubblica, served only partly to stem crime in Venice so much so that the Varisco tale is not an isolated one, and certainly not the most serious of the court reports of those times.

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Something to know before visiting Venice Arsenale

The crown jewel of Serenissima Republic: Venice Arsenale

Venice Arsenale is a big area of Castello’s Sestiere where, super skilled workers produced the ships that made Venice navy and trade power that great.

Within the year 1100, marine craft were produced by small shipyards scattered between the islands of Venice lagoon and called “Squero”. They could produce those boats needed to cross the lagoon and no more.

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Ghetto di Venezia – Venice Ghetto

Inside Cannaregio – Venice Ghetto

The Venice Senate established the first Ghetto of Europe in the first half of the 1500’s, in order to confine the Jewish community in an area of the Cannaregio Sestiere.

The physical separation, and specific laws governed the interaction between Jews and the rest of Venetian population (Catholic).

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