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San Zaccaria Square in Venice and prohibition of noise

Historical Curiosities

San Zaccaria Square in Venice and prohibition of noise

Behind St Mark's Basilica in Venice, there is a splendid late-Gothic church: the church of San Zaccaria, one of the most beautiful in the city.

At one time a convent of Benedictine nuns (today it is the seat of the provincial command of the police) was attached to the church, where the daughters of the richest and most important Venetian nobles became nuns, and it was one of the most important of the city. Considering the prestige of this convent the Doge visited it every year for the Easter mass which created many rumours about the customs of the nuns, especially for the so-called parlatorio, a real party place and meeting room where shows with puppets took place and where there were suspicions on the nuns of ‘dangerous liaisons' with confessors or young people who lived nearby.

Despite the ‘joy' that reigned in the monastery, the place around it was considered sacred and in fact there were strict regulations in place which are evidenced by the epigraph visible at number 4697. In San Zaccaria Square games, littering the ground, swearing, and shouting were in fact banned, and any other unseemly act for which very severe penalties were given. Every evening the two entrances to the square were closed with two doors and reopened only in the morning.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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