Hidden treasures

The Fra Paolo Sarpi monument in Santa Fosca Square in Venice

Unknown places & works
PaoloSarpi

The Fra Paolo Sarpi monument in Santa Fosca Square in Venice

The Campo Santa Fosca Square is situated along the busy Strada Nuova in Venice and in the centre there is a monument of Fra Paolo Sarpi, by the sculptor Emilio Marsili (1892), to mark the place where he survived an assassination attempt.

Paolo Sarpi (1552- 1623) was an important theologian and scholar of his time; he wrote the history of the Council of Trento and in doing so attracted the ire of the Vatican, and when Pope Paul V gave an interdict against Venice (a kind of excommunication addressed to the entire territory of the Republic), Paolo Sarpi decided to side with Venice.

So on October 5, 1607, while he was returning to his convent, on the bridge of Santa Fosca, he was attacked by five pontifical hit men who struck him three times. Convinced that they had completed the mission, they found refuge in the house of the papal nuncio and in the evening embarked on a trip to Ravenna, and from there to Ancona and then to Rome. The dagger, however, had not affected the vital organs and Sarpi survived.

The Senate of Venice, claimed the monk to be a "person of handsome doctrine, of great value and virtue", and gave him a house in St Mark's Square and a grant so that he could buy a boat and provide for his own safety. Sarpi refused the house but accepted the boat so that he could avoid the dangerous journeys on foot through the streets of Venice.

If you want to know more compelling anecdotes, curiosities and mysterious secrets of Venice, Francesca, our brilliant tour guide and author of our section, will be happy to accompany you to discover Venice, designing an itinerary tailored to you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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