Hidden treasures

The black cloth in the Great Council Chamber in the Doges Palace in Venice.

Historical Curiosities
Drappo_Nero

The black cloth in the Great Council Chamber in the Doges Palace in Venice.

The Great Council Chamber in the Doge's palace is one of the most visited sites in Venice. Inside it we can get to know the history of the city and admire its former grandeur.

This Institutional Chamber opens visitors up to the darkest side in the history of the ancient Republic. Indeed, if we observe the portraits of the doges lined up underneath the ceiling all around the perimeter of the room, we will notice that one of the faces is covered by a black cloth. Underneath it is the portrait of Doge Marino Falier, disguised in such a manner because he soiled his hands with a foul deed: he attempted to establish a dictatorship under his power.

Marino Falier became a doge in 1354 and soon after set up a conspiracy with other noblemen from the city to establish a hereditary seignory and overthrow the Republican powers. The plot was unearthed and the conspirators, including the doge himself, were arrested, questioned, sentenced to death for high treason and beheaded outside the Doge's Palace on 15 April 1355.

With the aim of perpetuating the remembrance of this event, the Venice aristocracy decreed that each year a celebration should be held on the day of St Isidoro (16 April), the day Marino Falier had been sentenced to death. Additionally, it was decreed that the portrait of Falier in the Great Council Chamber should be removed from the line-up of doges portraits, and in its place this inscription was positioned: ‘Hic fuit locus ser Marini Faletri, decapitati pro crimine proditionis', which means ‘This was the place of Marin Falier, beheaded for treason'.

Legend has it that the ghost of the treacherous doge still wanders without rest in Campo Santi Giovanni and Paolo - where the burial church of many doges is located - as he was not granted this honour.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Venice: What to see in the island of Burano

burano
Unknown places & works

The island of Burano is really a sight to behold and a great emotion for your heart: every year thousands of tourists venture into our ...

View

Venice: Discovering the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, what to see and how to reach it

isola_di_san_giorgio_maggiore
Unknown places & works

One of you may have had the chance to photograph, while travelling in Venice, the marvelous panorama in front of the historic St Mark...

View

Top posts

Padua: Why do people say ‘Rimanere in braghe di tela?’

pietra-del-vituperio
Historical Curiosities

Have you ever wondered where the popular expression ‘Rimanere in mutande’ o ‘Rimanere in braghe di tela’ comes from? It is a wa...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View

Venice: The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

ultima-cena-veronese
Historical Curiosities

The twelve rooms of the Gallerie dell'Accademia host many works of art from the Veneto Region and the city of Venice made by renowned a...

View

Belluno: The mystery of the Pietrificatore from Sospirolo

pietrificatore
Mysteries & Legends

Nestled inside the Dolomiti National Park, in the province of Belluno lies the small village of Sospirolo. A peculiar man was born here...

View