Venetië                                                                                                                      Venice






Though no suriving historical records deal directly with the founding of Venice tradition and the available evidence have led several historians to agree that the original population of Venice consisted of refugees—from nearby Roman cities such as Padua, Aquileia, Treviso, Altino, and Concordia (modern Portogruaro), as well as from the undefended countryside—who were fleeing successive waves of Germanic and Hun invasions.  This is further supported by the documentation on the so-called "apostolic families", the twelve founding families of Venice who elected the first doge, who in most cases trace their lineage back to Roman families. Some late Roman sources reveal the existence of fishermen, on the islands in the original marshy lagoons, who were referred to as incolae lacunae ("lagoon dwellers"). The traditional founding is identified with the dedication of the first church, that of San Giacomo on the islet of Rialton (Rivoalto, "High Shore")—said to have taken place at the stroke of noon on 25 March 421 (the Feast of the Annunciation).

Beginning as early as AD 166–168, the   Quadi and Marcomanni destroyed the main Roman town in the area, present-day Oderzo. This part of Roman Italy was again overrun in the early 5th century by the Visigoths and, some 50 years later, by the Huns led by Attila. The last and most enduring immigration into the north of the Italian peninsula, that of the Lombards in 568, left then Eastern Roman Empire only a small strip of coastline in the current Veneto, including Venice. The Roman/Byzantine territory was organized as the Exarchate of Ravenna, administered from that ancient port and overseen by a viceroy (the Exarch) appointed by the Emperor in Constantinople. Ravenna and Venice were connected only by sea routes, and with the Venetians' isolation came increasing autonomy. New ports were built, including those at Malamocco and Torcello in the Venetian lagoon. The tribuni maiores formed the earliest central standing governing committee of the islands in the lagoon, dating from c.568.

The traditional first doge of Venice, Paolo Lucio Anafesto (Anafestus Paulicius), was elected in 697, as written in the oldest chronicle by John, deacon of Venice c. 1008. Some modern historians claim Paolo Lucio Anafesto was actually the Exarch Paul, and Paul's successor, Marcello Tegalliano, was Paul's magister militum (or  general"), literally "master of soldiers". In 726 the soldiers and citizens of the exarchate rose in a rebellion over the iconoclastic controversy, at the urging of Pope Gregory II. The exarch, held responsible for the acts of his master, Byzantine Emperor Leo III, was murdered, and many officials were put to flight in the chaos. At about this time, the people of the lagoon elected their own independent leader for the first time, although the relationship of this to the uprisings is not clear. Ursus was the first of 117 doge (doge is the Venetian dialectal equivalent of the Latin dux ("leader");,. Whatever his original views, Ursus supported Emperor Leo III's successful military expedition to recover Ravenna, sending both men and ships. In recognition of this, Venice was "granted numerous privileges and concessions" and Ursus, who had personally taken the field, was confirmed by Leo as dux. and given the added title of hypatus (from the Greek for "consul").

In 751, the Lombard King Aistulf conquered most of the Exarchate of Ravenna, leaving Venice a lonely and increasingly autonomous Byzantine outpost. During this period, the seat of the local Byzantine governor (the "duke/dux", later "doge"), was at Malamocco. Settlement on the islands in the lagoon probably increased with the Lombard conquest of other Byzantine territories, as refugees sought asylum in the area. In 775/6, the episcopal seat of Olivolo (San Pietro di Castello, namely Helipolis was created. During the reign of duke Agnello Particiaco (811–827) the ducal seat moved from Malamocco to the more protected Rialto, within present-day Venice. The monastery of St. Zachary and the first ducal palace and basilica of St. Mark, as well as a walled defense (civitatis murus) between Olivolo and Rialto, were subsequently built here.

Charlemagne sought to subdue the city to his rule. He ordered the pope to expel the Venetians from the Pentapolis along the Adriatic coast;  Charlemagne's own son Pepin of Italy, king of the Lombards, under the authority of his father, embarked on a siege of Venice itself. This, however, proved a costly failure. The siege lasted six months, with Pepin's army ravaged by the diseases of the local swamps and eventually forced to withdraw in 810. A few months later, Pepin himself died, apparently as a result of a disease contracted there. In the aftermath, an agreement between Charlemagne and the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus in 814 recognized Venice as Byzantine territory, and granted the city trading rights along the Adriatic coast.

In 828 the new city's prestige increased with the acquisition, from Alexandria, of relics claimed to be of St Mark the Evangelist; these were placed in the new basilica. Winged lions—visible throughout Venice—are the emblem of St Mark. The patriarchal seat was also moved to Rialto. As the community continued to develop, and as Byzantine power waned, its own autonomy grew, leading to eventual independence.



Fom the 9th to the 12th century, Venice developed into a city state  (an Italian  thalassocracy or repubblica marinara; there were three others: Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi). Its own strategic position at the head of the Adriatic made Venetian naval and commercial power almost invulnerable. With the elimination of pirates along the Dalmatian coast, the city became a flourishing trade center between Western Europe and the rest of the world—especially with the Byzantine Empire and Asia), where its navy protected sea routes against piracy.


The Republic of Venice seized a number of places on the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200, mostly for commercial reasons, because pirates based there were a menace to trade. The doge already possessed the titles of Duke of Dalmatia and Duke of Istria. Later mainland possessions, which extended across Lake Garda as far west as the Adda River, were known as the Terraferma; they were acquired partly as a buffer against belligerent neighbours, partly to guarantee Alpine trade routes, and partly to ensure the supply of mainland wheat (on which the city depended). In building its maritime commercial empire, Venice dominated the trade in salt acquired control of most of the islands in the Aegean, including Crete, and Cyprus in the Mediterranean, and became a major power-broker in the Near East. By the standards of the time, Venice's stewardship of its mainland territories was relatively enlightened and the citizens of such towns as Bergamo, Brescia, and Verona rallied to the defence of Venetian sovereignty when it was threatened by invaders.

Venice remained closely associated with Constantinople, being twice granted trading privileges in the Eastern Roman Empire, through the so-called golden bulls or "chrysobulls", in return for aiding the Eastern Empire to resist Norman and Turkish incursions. In the first chrysobull, Venice acknowledged its homage to the empire; but not in the second, reflecting the decline of Byzantium and the rise of Venice's power.

Venice became an imperial power following the Fourth Crusade, which, having veered off course, culminated in 1204 by capturing and sacking Constantinople and establishing the Latin Empire. As a result of this conquest, considerable Byzantine plunder was brought back to Venice. This plunder included the gilt bronze horses from the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which were originally placed above the entrance to the cathedral of Venice, St Mark's Basilica (The originals have been replaced with replicas, and are now stored within the basilica.) After the fall of Constantinople, the former Eastern Roman Empire was partitioned among the Latin crusaders and the Venetians. Venice subsequently carved out a sphere of influence in the Mediterranean known as the Duchy of the Archipelago, and captured Crete.

The seizure of Constantinople proved as decisive a factor in ending the Byzantine Empire as the loss of the Anatolian themes, after Manzikert. Although the Byzantines recovered control of the ravaged city a half-century later, the Byzantine Empire was terminally weakened, and existed as a ghost of its old self, until Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror took the city in 1453.

Situated on the Adriatic Sea, Venice had always traded extensively with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world. By the late 13th century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce. Venice's leading families vied with each other to build the grandest palaces and to support the work of the greatest and most talented artists. The city was governed by the Great Council, which was made up of members of the noble families of Venice. The Great Council appointed all public officials, and elected a Senate of 200 to 300 individuals. Since this group was too large for efficient administration, a Council of Ten (also called the Ducal Council, or the Signoria), controlled much of the administration of the city. One member of the great council was elected "doge", or duke, to be the chief executive; he would usually hold the title until his death, although several Doges were forced, by pressure from their oligarchical peers, to resign and retire into monastic seclusion, when they were felt to have been discredited by political failure.


The Venetian governmental structure was similar in some ways to the republican system of ancient Rome, with an elected chief executive (the doge), a senator-like assembly of nobles, and the general citizenry with limited political power, who originally had the power to grant or withhold their approval of each newly elected doge. Church and various private property was tied to military service, although there was no knight tenure within the city itself. The Cavalieri di San Marco was the only order of chivalry ever instituted in Venice, and no citizen could accept or join a foreign order without the government's consent. Venice remained a republic throughout its independent period, and politics and the military were kept separate, except when on occasion the Doge personally headed the military. War was regarded as a continuation of commerce by other means. Therefore the city's early employment of large numbers of mercenaries for service elsewhere, and later its reliance on foreign mercenaries when the ruling class was preoccupied with commerce).

Although the people of Venice generally remained orthodox Roman Catholics, the state of Venice was notable for its freedom from religious fanaticism, and executed nobody for religious heresy during the Counter-Reformation. This apparent lack of zeal contributed to Venice's frequent conflicts with the papacy. In this context, the writings of the Anglican divine William Bedell are particularly illuminating. Venice was threatened with the interdict on a number of occasions and twice suffered its imposition. The second, most noted, occasion was in 1606, by order of Pope Paul V

The newly invented German printing press spread rapidly throughout Europe in the 15th century, and Venice was quick to adopt it. By 1482, Venice was the printing capital of the world; the leading printer was Aldus Manutius, who invented paperback books that could be carried in a saddlebag] His Aldine Editions included translations of nearly all the known Greek manuscripts of the era.



Venice's long decline started in the 15th century. Venice confronted the Ottoman Empire in the Siege of Thessalonica (1422–1430) and sent ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks in 1453. After the Fall of Constantinople Sultan Mehmed II declared the first of a series of Ottoman-Venetian wars that cost Venice much of its eastern Mediterranean possessions. Vasco da Gama's 1497–1499 voyage opened a sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope and destroyed Venice's monopoly. Venice's oared vessels were at a disadvantage when it came to traversing oceans, therefore Venice was left behind in the race for colonies.[ The Black Death had devastated Venice in 1348 and struck again between 1575 and 1577. In three years, the plague killed some 50,000 people. In 1630, the Italian plague of 1629–31 killed a third of Venice's 150,000 citizens.

Venice began to lose its position as a center of international trade during the later part of the Renaissance as Portugal became Europe's principal intermediary in the trade with the East, striking at the very foundation of Venice's great wealth. France and Spain fought for hegemony over Italy in the Italian Wars, marginalising its political influence. However, Venice remained a major exporter of agricultural products and until the mid-18th century, a significant manufacturing center]




THE ARMS OF VENICE ARE THE WINGED AND NIMBED LION OF ST. Mark, resting his right cllaw on an open book with the words: PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEVS.



The oldest patron saint of Venice is St. Theodore.



In 810, the Franks under Pepin, King of Italy, invaded Venice. The treaty concluded between the Franks and Byzantium, the Pax Nicephori (811), left Venice a great deal of sovereignty. The need arose for a patron saint who could express this sovereignty. The Greek saint St. Theodore was less suitable for this because he emphasized the ties with Byzantium. St. Mark was chosen because a legend associated him with Venice. The evangelist is said to have been caught in a storm on a voyage from Alexandria to Aquileia and washed ashore at present-day Rialto. Here an angel welcomed him with the words "Peace be upon you, Marcus the Evangelist, here your body will rest" or, in Latin: "Pax tibi Marce Evangelista meus, hic requiescat corpus tuum


Hypothesis on the appearance of the statue over the centuries

".Lion of St Mark on the Piazetta

A latin cross on te capital, symbol of christian faith


Phase II 4th 6th century A.D. The lion griffin is reduced to a lion











Phase III. (12th century) the lion is transformed into the symbol  of St Mark






Phase IV (1293) Reconstruction (Bertucius)













Phase V and VI’(1816 and 1892) Ferrari´s reconstruction and Boni´s restoration


In 1892, the bronze lion was once again restored by the architect Luigi Vendrasco.


In the year 828 the Venetians made a trip to Alexandria where Mark's bones had been buried, stole the relic and transferred it to Venice. The report of this tour can be found as a picture story in the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice. The bones were first housed in the old St. Mark, which was completed in 832 and located not far from the current cathedral. [1])

The seal of the Venetian magistrate, as used from the twelfth century to the end of the Republic, is believed to bear an image of the evangelist. Initially he would also have stood on the banners of the Republic. However, there is reason to doubt this. An overview of the seals of the Venetian Doges shows that they depict a scene of enfeofment in which the various suzereins hand out a banner to the Doge. [2])

On 9 May of the year 1000, the Bishop of Olivolo awarded a sacred standard to Doge Pietro Orseolo II (991-1009). The next day the Doge visited the Patriarch of Aquileia Vitale Candiano who presented him with the relics of St. Hermagoras. This St. Hermagoras had been a friend of Mark, who had made him the first patriarch of Aquileia. In fact, one might think that the banner was awarded by St Mark, albeit with the intervention of the Patriarch of Aquileia, and this is the prevailing opinion.


Development of te banner of St Mark


The Banner at the theft of the corpse, 828

arrival of the corpse of St Mark on a pala d’oro 10th-14th cemtury

San Marko, Venice, great altar




On the seals of the Doges  on one side unmistakably is the Doge, recognizable by his headdress, a duke's hat. [3]) On the other side, however, is not an image of St Mark but, judging by the clothing and paraphernalia, of the suzerain. On the oldest seals (1130-1178) this figure is probably the Byzantine Emperor. Then the Emperor of the Holy Empire (1178-1205) appears. On the seals after 1205 the emperor was replaced by a clergyman, probably the Pope. Finally, from 1261 onwards there is a clergyman in bishop's robe next to the Doge and this undoubtedly refers to the Patriarch of Venice

The seals from 1130 to 1178 have the oldest standard but it is indistinguishable what is on them


First type 1178-1205 Five besants

Second type 1205-1261 Four besants


Giovanni Graenigo, doge  1355-1356

IV Type 1261-1423 winged on

Type V, 1423-1476 winged lion


It is unclear as to when the Republic officially adopted the flag. One chronicler, John the Deacon, described how in 998 Doge Pietro Orseolo II (961-1009) was presented with a "triumphale vexillum" (triumphal banner) before leading a naval expedition against the Narentines, pirates who moored off the eastern coast of the Adriatic and harassed Venetian seamen. However, this chronicle does not explicitly mention the use of the Lion of St. Mark within the flag or mention the colours used upon the banner.


The first definitive recording of the usage of the Lion of Saint Mark on a red field dates back to the late thirteenth century Genoese archivist Jacopo da Varazze explicitly makes reference to the Lion of St. Mark as the official symbol for Venice. He also mentions how the phrase "PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS" was found on the flag

The winged lion was chosen as a symbol of Venice due to its connotations with Saint Mark. Venetian tradition states how Saint Mark was travelling from Aquileia to Rome when an Angel appeared whilst he was in the lagoon of Venice and stated Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum' (Peace be with thee, O Mark, my evangelist. Here thy body will rest).The legend was used in 828 by Venetian merchants Rustico da Torcello and Bon da Malamocco to justify their journey to Alexandria to return the corpse of Saint Mark to Venice and inter it within the city. From that moment Saint Mark became the patron saint of Venice and thus began the association between the city and the winged lion.

For 337 years 12 Gonfaloniera, mercenaries from Perast (modern day Montenegro), were appointed by the Venetian senate to guard the flag of the Republic at all times on the pain of death. 8 were executed in 1571 after the Battle of Lepanto for failing to protect it.


Following the fall of the Republic of Venice in 15 May 1797 by France and Austria, and on 1 June a Public Salvation Comitee decreed that the lion be supressed throughout Venice.

 and replaced by a bkue and yellow flag. It seems that these colours were adopted because they were favorits of Napoleon 

Usage of the Lion of Saint Mark in the flag of Venice would not return until 1848, when it appeared in the canton of the flag of the Republic of San Marco.


In 1167 Venice belonged to the Lombard League, which brought it into conflict with Frederick Barbarossa. In the same year, the Republic was also attacked by Emperor Manuel of Byzantium, who conquered the Dalmatian coast, which was important to Venice. In 1172, the city found itself in a very difficult political situation as it was at war with two emperors at the same time, with an empty treasury and a demoralized population. The banner on the seals from 1178 to 1205 has three slips and the canvas has five tokens. It dates from immediately after the Peace of Venice between the Lombard League and the Pope on the one hand and Frederick Barbarossa on the other (23.07.1177). [4]). According to legend, it was precisely at this time that the two columns on the Piazetta were placed on which possibly, a bronze lion was placed. It is not out of the question, although the sources are silent, that the lion had already been brought to Venice beforehand. [5])

In the last half of the 12th century, the lion was already a quite common symbol of the secular monarchs in the west. In any case, he already occurs in connection with Henry the Lion of Saxony who had a lion placed in the courtyard of his castle in Brunswick in 1166 and also in connection with the Kings of England and Sicily. In view of the political situation in Venice during the placement, it is unlikely that the lion on the Piazetta had wings from the beginning. This is confirmed by the coat of arms of Marino Morosini (1246-'53), which was hung in the Basilica of St. Mark at his death. Unfortunately the shield has been lost, but it is said to have had an ordinary heraldic lion on it. [6])

The style of the seal was changed again after the 4th Crusade. After 1205 the ducal seals have a banner with four besants. Baudouin of Flanders had received the Latin Empire from the Pope as a fief and in fact after that time the Pope was the ultimate suzerain of Venice, also because an imperial crisis had arisen in the West. In addition, Venice, as a result of the 4th Crusade in the Aegean Sea, had come into possession of an entire empire that was nominally a fief to the Latin Empire.

After the collapse of the Latin Empire in 1261, the problem of suzerainty in Venice probably arose again. In the West there was no longer an emperor after the collapse of the imperial power of the Hohenstaufen. The Eastern Emperor was not sympathetic to the Venetian power and the Pope as liege lord proved to have been unsuccessful either. In this context, total sovereignty was chosen. The source of this sovereignty became St. Mark and the Patriarch of Aquileia / Grado who was entirely within the reach of Venice. In 1261, in the same year of the fall of the Latin Empire, the style on the seals was changed again. The suzerain who hands out the banner is now a clergyman in bishop's garb, the banner is a (white) banner with a winged lion, the symbol of Mark. At the same time or perhaps earlier, the mosaic was placed in the San Marco, depicting the transfer of the corpse of St Mark to Venice.

From a phase reconstruction of the lion on the Piazetta, it remains unclear when the wings are (re) turned on. [7]). However, a report from the end of the century clearly shows that back then the lion already had wings. The text of the Decree of the Grand Council of 14 May 1293 leaves open the possibility that the lion was then “modified” and not “restored” (which would be the case if the lion had always been regarded as a symbol of St Mark). The passage in question reads:


'Item, quod Leo, qui est supra columpnam, debeat aptari de denarijs qui accipientur de gratia Vini et lignaminis'.

The word “aptari Repubblica San Marco vessili can be translated in one or the other sense. [8])


With the adaptation of the lion to the Piazetta, the development towards formal sovereignty of the Republic was completed. The relationship with the Holy See had not been one that left open the possibility of restoring the Pope's suzerainty. After the Sicilian Vespers, the Republic had refused to participate in a crusade against Peter of Aragon proclaimed by Pope Martin IV in 1284 in favor of Charles of Anjou. As punishment for this, Martin IV had excommunicated the city for the first time in its history in the same year. However, the abolition of the excommunication in the following year by Martin IV's successor, Honorius IV (1285-'87) restored relations. [9])

The changes to the lion in 1293, however, prove that there was no longer any question of a subordination of the Republic to the Holy See.


The lion of St. Mark obviously had a completely different symbolism than the common lion. A lion was alternately seen by Augustine as the symbol of Matthew, John and Christ.[10] In the fifth century, however, Celio Sedulio thought: “Marcus ut alta fremit vox per deserta leonis” and from this time the lion is the symbol of St Mark. Presumably after the Council of Nicaea in 787, it became customary to represent the symbols of the Evangelists, a lion, an eagle, a man and an ox, winged. The wingless lion became the symbol of worldly power, especially that of Christ.

St Mark's winged lion has no direct connections to the winged lions of Persia and China. [11])


Subsequent Developments.

Once transformed into the symbol of St. Mark, the lion was depicted in images to serve as the coat of arms of the Republic, supported by an open book bearing the words "Pax Tibi Marce Evangelista Mevs". Presumably he is already so on the banner of the Republic that it was adopted around 1261. Mario Sanudo's map from 1321 shows this banner, the winged lion with nimbus and book on a white canvas. Not long after that, the background on the banner must have turned red. It is thus depicted in the painting by Spinello Aretino (late 14th century) in Siena that depicts the battle of the Venetians against Frederick Barbarossa. Also on the shields of the Venetians there is the lion of St. Mark on a red field.[12] )

More images of the lion of St. Mark as a symbol of the Republic are known from the fourteenth century. On a coin it appears for the first time on a silver soldo by Francesco Dandolo (1329-'39). On a seal he stands for the first time on that of Francesco Loredana, elected ruler of Serravallo, and thus a vassal of the Republic, on a document dated. 8 October 1351.[13])

The civic and pre-heraldic origin of the Venice symbol is mainly betrayed in the freedom with which it was presented. It is often unclear whether it is the symbol of the Republic or the symbol of the Evangelist. In general, it is depicted as free standing. Sometimes he lies down, but he can also sit or stand. Sometimes he is turned to the right, sometimes to the left. Early on he is depicted from the front (at Sanudo and Aretino). In the fifteenth century, the lion is placed in front of a blue background. This can be seen in the lion on the “Torre dell 'Orologio” which dates from the end of the 15th century.

From the sixteenth century, the lion is depicted standing on the coast with its front legs on land and its hind legs in the sea. When the lion was put on a shield in sixteenth century engravings, the field turned blue, the lion gold. The shield is later covered by a duke's crown or a doge's cap. [14])


Lion of St MarcTorre dell Orologio 1493 ca


Meanwhile, the lion on the banner was always placed on a red background.


1550 ca



1700 ca


In addition to the single coat of arms, a more complex coat of arms came into use in the 18th century that closely follows developments in government heraldry in the rest of Europe. It is divided into sixteen spaces with a heart shield and four co-shields so that all areas controlled by the Republic could be represented by their coat of arms. Around the shield is a gold-embroidered purple cloak emerging from one with the doge’s cap crowned dome falls. [15] Characteristically, by the time this achievement appeared, the power of the Republic had diminished to an eventual fatal low point.



The Fall of the Republic. The French Era.

On his Italian campaign in 1797, arriving at Venice, Napoleon Bonaparte issued a number of ultimata to the Venetian government in early May, which in effect constituted the liquidation of the old order. On 12 May the Serenissima gave in and in the following days a revolutionary regime was established under French protection.

One of the ultimata had already been that the dignity marks of the former government should be burned at the foot of the Freedom Tree. [16])

The revolutionary government of Venice, following the example of the French Republic, forbade the use of all heraldic symbols, including the lion of St. Mark. A decree dated 29 May 1797 stipulated that "1o All lions that can be regarded as coats of arms or reminders of the former government must be removed from their place". [17]



“PRIMO. – Che tutti què leoni che considerati sono como stemmi, o indicazioni del passato Governo, sieno levati da  tutti i luoghi ove esistono”

“SECONDO - Che il presente Decreto  sia demandato al comitato di Salute Pubblica per la sua esecuzione“

Data li 29 Maggio 1797, V.S. Anno primo della Libertà Italiana

ROTA Vice Presidente




The lion that stood on the column on the Piazetta also fell victim to this. He was taken from the column and was severely mutilated. The remainder, consisting of the head with the mane and a front leg with part of the belly, was transported to Paris where it was given a place in the Hôtel des Invalides.


Emblem of Venice 19-05-1797 – 17-10-1797


The symbol used by the revolutionary government of the city was, following the symbol of France, a standing Liberty with fasces and stake with a phrygian cap. Legend: Municipalitá di Venezia. Motto: LIBERTA EGUAGLIANZA (Freedom and Equality). [18])

The symbol was used until Venice after the peace of Campo Formio of 17 October 1797 when a duchy was annexed to the Austrian Monarchy. For the duchy, a coat of arms is mentioned in the decree on the great imperial coat of arms of 5 November 1804. The passage in question reads:


(...) einem Mittelschilde, der mit der Herzoglich = Venetianischen Mütze bedeckt ist, und im blauen Felde, den aufgerichteten, güldenen, geflügelten Löwen des saint Markus darstellet, im dessen haupt ein güldener Schein geht, und der in de rrechte Pranke ein blosses Schwert hält, roads of the Hertogthums Venedig. " [19])


a central shield, which is covered with the ducal = Venetian cap, and in the blue field depicts the upright, golden, winged lion of Saint Mark, in whose head a golden glow goes, and who holds a bare sword in his right paw, roads of the Hertogthums Venice.


Instead of the old bronze lion, a much smaller gilded lion was now made, again with the open book but also armed with a sword.

In 1805, the entire area of ​​the former Margraviate of Verona and Aquileia, along with Venice, became part of Napoleon's Italian Kingdom.

In the royal coat of arms, Venice in the fourth quarter is represented by the lion standing with the sword, now without open book and crowned with a royal crown, on a blue field. This also became the city's coat of arms. It was surrounded by the same showpieces as the royal coat of arms: the star and collar of the Legion of Honor, the French eagle and the green royal robe studded with silver roses.[20])

The arms were changed by patent of 9 January 1813. On a blue field now stood a winged, glaring, golden lion's head. Above it is a green shield head with the letter "N" and three six-petal roses of gold which the city deserved as "Good City" in the Napoleonic rank. A golden garland around the shield and a wall crown with a protruding French eagle on top. [21]



Decreto del 9 gennaio 1813, «Napoleone I, con lettere patenti 9 gennaio 1813, concesse alla“ Buona Città di Venezia ”il seguente stemma:“ d'azzurro con la testa di leone alata d'oro, posto in maestà: terminato dal capo di verde colla lettera N d'oro posta nel cuore ed accostata da tre rose di sei foglie, del medesimo”»


Decree of 9 January 1813, "Napoleon I, with patent letters 9 January 1813, granted the "Good City of Venice" the following coat of arms: "blue with the head of a winged golden lion, placed in majesty: terminated by a green chief with the letter N of gold placed in the heart and next to three roses of six leaves, of the same


Restoration and Kingdom.

At the 1815 Restoration, the Kingdom of Italy came under the Austrian crown from 1805 as the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom. The lion of St. Mark was restored to its old form in the coat of arms. Nimbus and Book returned, the lion depicted lying down. The showpieces were adapted while maintaining the order of the Empire. The garland became a wreath of oak branches, the crown a burial crown (!) And the eagle the double Austrian.


In 1815, what remained of the Venetian lion of the Piazetta was returned and restored and supplemented by the sculptor Bartolomeo Ferrari. The lion was given Empire-style wings.

The independent rebellious republic of 1848 restored the traditional standing St. Mark's lion as e.g. can be seen on coins of the "Governo Provisorio di Venezia" and of the "Repubblica Veneta" that were minted that year. The lion was not placed on a shield on this.

Following this, the coat of arms was recognized by Emperor Franz Joseph on 7 November 1854 as blue with a Marcus lion turned to the right with the book open. [22] )

In 1866 Venice became part of the Kingdom of Italy.


Arms of Venice, 1902


On 1 May 1942, the Venice coat of arms was redone by King Victor Emmanuel III. The lion, still on a blue field, was now depicted directly from the front, with the rear body hidden behind the wings and the front legs holding the book. [23] )

A chief of the italian fasces added

bij royal decree of 14-10-1933, n. 1440


Ritornando the coat of arms of the Province of Venice, remember that from 1934 will appear loaded with the head of the Littorio.

The head of the Littorio, in fact, as already mentioned, made his appearance with the Royal Decree of 24 October 1933, n. 1440, where it was foreseen, in the shields of municipalities and provinces and other moral entities, such a piece that is "of red (purple) to the golden fasces, surrounded by two branches of oak and laurel, knotted by a ribbon in national colors ".

The head of the Littorio in the shields obviously served to symbolize the indissoluble union of the local authorities with the fascist regime.

And Neubecker rightly notes: "The medieval Italian use of expressing belonging to a political party by means of the head of the shield was continued during Fascism in many coats of arms of Italian cities".23)

The head, heraldically, is an honorable piece, with a wide band, which occupies the third upper part of the shield.

In heraldry, the head is very common; famous the head of the Empire, the head of Savoy, the head of Malta, the head of Anjou.


This heraldic patch will be abolished with the Lieutenancy Legislative Decree 26 October 1944 n. 313. But many Bodies, ignoring the existence of this Lieutenancy Legislative Decree, removed, at the fall of Fascism, only the golden bundle, surrounded by two branches of oak and laurel, tied with a ribbon of national colors, maintaining, instead, the garment in red, believing, wrongly, that this piece belonged, instead, to the body of the body and not to the heraldic emblem of fascism.

Thus, for the city of Venice, before the DPR 6 November 1996, granting the new coat of arms, the coat of arms of Venice decreed on 1 May 1942, with the head in red, was used, even in precious publications of Venetian history. the gold fasces. 24)

The same considerations apply to the coats of arms of the province of Venice and of the municipalities of Venice, Portogruaro, Jesolo and Caorle loaded in the banner of the provincial banner, made after World War II, where they all have a red head. 25)

The chief abolished by

Lieutenancy Legislative Decree 26 October 1944 n. 313


Descrizione Araldica dello Stemma D'azzurro, al leone d'oro, alato e nimbato dello stesso, con la testa posta di fronte, accovacciato, tenente con le zampe anteriori avanti al petto il libro d'argento, scritto delle parole in lettere maiuscole romane di nero, PAX TIBI MARCE nella prima facciata, in quattro righe, ed EVANGELISTA MEUS nella seconda facciata, similmente in quattro righe. Ornamenti esteriori da Provincia

Gonfalone Drappo di bianco, riccamente ornato di ricami d'oro e caricato dallo stemma provinciale con la iscrizione centrata in oro, recante la denominazione della Provincia. Le parti di metallo ed i cordoni saranno dorati. L'asta verticale sarà ricoperta di velluto bianco, con bullette dorate poste a spirale. Nella freccia sarà rappresentato lo stemma della Provincia e sul gambo inciso il nome. Cravatta con nastri ricolorati dai colori nazionali frangiati d'oro

Bandiera Drappo di bianco, con altezza pari alla metà della lunghezza, in essa lunghezza comprese sei strisce orizzontali rettangolari, con lunghezza pari a circa un terzo della lunghezza complessiva, il drappo caricato nella parte priva di strisce dalla stemma concesso con D.P.R.15 aprile 1996. Riccamente ornato di ricami d'oro e caricato dallo stemma con la iscrizione centrata in oro, recante la denominazione della Provincia. L'asta verticale sarà ricoperta di velluto bianco, con bullette dorate poste a spirale. Nella freccia sarà rappresentato lo stemma della Provincia e sul gambo inciso il nome. Cravatta con nastri tricolorati dai colori nazionali frangiati d'oro

Cronologia Stemma e gonfalone concessi con Decreto Presidente della Repubblica del 15 aprile 1996. bandiera concessa con decreto del Presidente della Repubblica in data 11 gennaio 2002


City of Venice





Polizia Locale Veneto


The local police in Veneto is governed by the regional law 9 August 1988, n. 40, [1] and includes the municipal police and the provincial police . The service can be carried out in an associated form, delegating the mountain communities .



Breast patch



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 © Hubert de Vries





[1]) Een vroege vermelding van het vaandel door Villehardouin: "The Doge of Venice, although an old man and completely blind, stood at the bow of his galley, with the banner of Saint Mark unfurled before him. He cried out to his men to put him on shore, or else he himself would deal with them as they deserved. They obeyed him promptly, for the galley touched ground and the men in it leapt ashore, bearing the banner of Saint Mark to land before the Doge. Joinville and Villehardouin. Chronicles of the Crusades. Penguin Classics, London, 1963, p. 71. (Enrico Dandolo, 1192-1205, was de belangrijkste initiatiefnemer van de vierde kruistocht die naar Constantinopel werd afgeleid. De passage is onderdeel van de beschrijving van het eerste beleg van C.) 

[2]) Rosada, Maurizio: “Sigillum Sancti Marci”. Bolle e sigilli di Venezia. In:  Ricci, Stefania ed.: Il Sigillo nella storia e nella cultura. Roma, 1985. pp. 110-148.

[3] [3])

in 726 was een zekere Orso door opstandelingen tegen het bewind van de Exarch van Ravenna als Dux aan het hoofd van de provin­cie aangesteld. In het venetiaanse dialect werd deze term later verbasterd tot "Doge" zonder dat echter ook in de omringende landen de notie verdween dat de republiek eigenlijk werd geleid door een hertog ook al werd deze steeds gekozen en werd het ambt niet erfelijk in een bepaalde familie zoals vooral in de elfde en twaalfde eeuw op vele plaatsten elders in Europa.

[4] Norwich  op.cit. p. 113-114

[5] Scarfi, Bianca Maria: The Bronze Lion of St. Mark. In: Dezelfde, ed.: The Lion of Venice. Venice, 1990. 

[6] [6]) Giandomenico Romanelli: Tamquam Leo Rugiens. In: Scarfi, op.cit. pp. 220 -221. De Doges voerden later hun eigen wapen. Zo staat er in Camden Roll 1280 (20): Duc de Venise, l'escu de gules od un chastel d'argent. (Jacopo Contarini, 1275-1280).

[7] Scarfi, op.cit. 1990, p. 111-113

[8] Scarfi, op.cit. 1990, p. 33.

[9] Norwich, John Julius: A History of Venice. 1982. p. 174-175

[10] Augustinus: De Consensu evangelistarum lib. I. cap. 6.

[11] Scarfi op.cit 1990 Stylistic Analysis pp. 79-99. In China komen gevleugelde leeuwen zeker voor vanaf het tijdperk van de Westelijk Zhou (1100-771 vC)

[12] Romanelli, op. cit. p. 219.

[13] Musatti, E. op.cit. p. 9-10

[14] Romanelli, op.cit. p. 222-226. Blaauw, J. Dominio Veneto nell' Italia. 1635.(Kaart).

[15] Der durchlauchtigen Welt volständiges Wappenbuch. T. I. Nürnberg, 1772.

[16] Norwich, J.J. op.cit. 1982, p. 629.

[17] Santalena, A.: Leoni di S. Marco. Venezia, 1906, p. 9.

[18] In het Museo dell'Risorgimento van het Museo Correr in Venetië is het vignet van de Municipa­litá  te zien in de vitrines van de eerste zaal.

[19] In  Gall, F.: Oesterreichische Wappenkunde. Wien, 1977, p. 72.

[20] Museo dell'Risorgimento, Venetië. De wapencompositie staat op een messing plaquette met het omschrift: C: MUNICIPALE DE SAVI DI VENEZIA.

[21] Een messing plaquette met het omschrift "IL PODESTA DI VENEZIA" toont drie achtpuntige sterren. (Museo dell'Risorgimento, Venezia).

[22] Hiervan luidt de blazoenering, gegeven door Der Deutsche Herold: Venedig: Im blauen Schilde der rechts gekehrte goldene Markuslöwe, in den Vorderpranken ein aufgeschlagenes Buch, auf dessen rechten Seite die Worte: Pax tibi Marce, auf dessen linken Seite: Evangelista Meus in schwarzer Lapidarschrift zu lesen, vor sich haltend. (7.XI.1854) 

[23] Albo Nazionale. Ass. Hist. Fides, 1974, p. 155. "D'azzurro al leone d'oro, posto in maesta (in "moleca", ossia a guisa di granchio), alato e nimbato d'oro, tenete fra gli artigli il libro aperto dell'Evangelo su cui sta scritto, a lettere nere, il motto: "Pax tibi Marce Evangelista meus". Descrizione del sigillo: "Il Leone di S. Marco dello stemma, con la legenda "Citta di Venezia"". Descrizione del gonfalone: "Drappo di colore rosso, seminato di stelle d'oro, al leone di S. Marco passante d'oro, con le zampe anteriori, di cui la destra con il libro dell'Evangelo, poggianti sulla terra, da cui si erge una fortezza e con le posteriori nell'acqua. Intorno al drappo una bordura con fregi d'oro e immagini sacre rappresentanti i quattro evangelisti, l'Annunciazione e la Sacra Colomba. Il drappo terminera con sei code ornate di simboli di guerra". Descrizione della bandiera: "Drappo interzato in palo, di verde, di bianco e di rosso col campo verde caricato di un quadrato rosso al leone di S S. Marco d'oro passante". Decreto in data 1o maggio 1942.