Hidden treasures

The Public Gardens of Venice and the Inquisition

Historical Curiosities

The Public Gardens of Venice and the Inquisition

The Public Gardens of Venice, where you will also find the famous pavilions of the Biennale, is a perfect place for those who want a relaxing walk among the tree-lined streets, away from the bustle of St Mark's Square.

But where the entrance to the Gardens is, there was once a place that was definitely not relaxing: the church of San Domenico, complete with a large Dominican convent that was the seat of the Inquisition in Venice in 1560.

Many trials at the Inquisition in Venice took place of bizarre characters, alchemists, magicians, astrologers but also heretics, Jews and Jews officially converted to Catholicism but who secretly continued to profess their ancient religion – these were always uncomfortable and ‘suspicious ‘ groups periodically subjected to intolerance acts.

In front of the church was the San Domenico bridge (demolished when it was buried to create Via Garibaldi) and every year, on April 29, the day of St. Catherina from Siena – a Dominican nun - the burning of prohibited books took place on this bridge. The index of forbidden books was a list of texts whose content was considered by ecclesiastical inappropriate from a strictly theological, if not immoral point of view.

By decree of Napoleon's government in 1797, the Inquisition in Venice was abolished in 1806 and the convent of San Domenico was entirely demolished, along with other churches, to build new public gardens, designed by architect Giannantonio Selva.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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