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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Walking into the history of Venice

The history of Venice is even more fascinating if you let the city itself tell it to you.

Beyond the majestic palaces facing the canals, the splendour of Venice is visible in the many small details that have survived to the present day and tell us the history of Venice as one of the most unique cities in the world.

Some of these details are very obvious such as the nizioleti, the street signs, that remind us of the people who worked in that street or which Venetian family lived there; eg: In the Sestiere of Cannaregio the underpass of the ‘Iron Den’ was the workplace of those specialising in the finishing of metal objects, especially those used to make gondolas.

In Castello, in the calle of the cutters there were stonecutters who worked the rough stone that would be used in the construction of palaces and churches.

San Marco, where the merchant’s boats landed, was the right place to look for hospitality for the night, more precisely in Calle de la Vida or the Locande.

These are just 3 of the four thousand nizioleti you can find in Venice, each of them with a story to tell, too numerous to describe here! 

The most attentive visitors, often remain fascinated by some of the carved symbols you can see when walking around the city, less obvious in their meaning than the nizioleti, and more profound to interpret.

If the history of Venice was a film, among the main protagonists you would certainly see the Venetian workers who, divided into different categories – the schools – supported the development of the city; the traces of their contribution are still visible if you can recognise their symbols:

In Saint Mark: the school of the spade makers, the School of Merchants, the school of masons; In Cannaregio: The school of painters, the sewing school; In Dorsoduro wool weaving school

The importance of work in the history of Venice was such that it has earned itself a prominent space in the heart of the city; an example of this are the sculptures at the base of the two large columns at the gates of Piazza San Marco that represent: the wine merchants, the fishmongers, the blacksmiths and the salinieri, together with the base of one of the columns in the ground floor porch of the Palazzo Ducale which is dedicated to the arts and to trades.

This article certainly only tells a small part of the history of Venice.

If you’re interested in this topic, take part in one of our Adventure Theater shows for a real journey through time in the company of professional actors who will show you the city and its history in an unusual experience away from the crowds!

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