Hidden treasures

The Doge Enrico Dandolo and the conquest of Constantinople

Big Names
cavalli-smarco

The Doge Enrico Dandolo and the conquest of Constantinople

The history of the Venetian Republic was inextricably linked to the Doge's charismatic personality, but also adventurers and traitors, who, in eleven centuries have shaped the history of Venice.

One of the Doges who left more memories is definitely Enrico Dandolo: according to tradition, he was elected to the total charge of the Venetian Republic in 1192, when he had already reached the venerable age of 85.

He had the merit (or shame?) to have convinced the Crusaders, who had gathered in Venice to liberate the Holy Land from the infidels, to divert their efforts on another target: Constantinople.

The conquest of Constantinople marked the culmination of Venetian power; ships brought back to Venice an incredible booty, including the Bronze Horses, now preserved in San Mark's Basilica.

But what happened to Enrico Dandolo? At 92 years old, blind, he personally commanded the Venetian fleet to the conquest of Constantinople... He died in 1205 due to necrosis and was buried in the women's gallery in the gallery of the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the places reserved for the imperial family. He was the first and last man to be buried in the great basilica.

According to tradition, after the conquest of the city by the Turks in 1453, his tomb was opened and his bones were thrown to the dogs. The plaque bearing the inscription 'Henricus Dandolo' still stands in the Sophia Museum. Recent studies identified it as a fake tombstone in the 1800s, positioned there by the Italian architect Gaspare Forlati.

Among the best known pieces of the booty brought to Venice from Constantinople there are precisely the bronze horses kept in St Mark's Basilica. The horses outside the Basilica, to the loggia, are just copies. The original bronze horses are kept in St Mark's Museum, that can be visited buying the ticket directly in the basilica or with our charming tour St Mark's Museum and Cathedral from above.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Verona: Villa Mosconi Bertani in Valpolicella

villa-mosconi-bertani
Historical Curiosities

If you are passionate about wine and history, you cannot miss out on a visit to Villa Mosconi Bertani in Valpolicella (province of Vero...

View

Venice: The Sacristy of the Church of St. Stephen's

sacrestia-santo-stefano
Unknown places & works

In one of the most beautiful and sunniest squares in Venice there stands the imposing Church of St. Stephen, erected at the behest of t...

View

Vicenza: The Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa

Ponte-degli-Alpini-Bassano
Historical Curiosities

If you are passionate about bridges, you cannot miss out on a visit to the Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa, in the Province ...

View

Venice: The boats of Venice’s Lagoon

barche-veneziane
Local Traditions

Those arriving in Venice for the first time often think that the famous gondolas are the only boats plying the city’s canals... In re...

View

Top posts

Verona: The Sigurtà Park in Valeggio sul Mincio

sigurtà
Unknown places & works

Sigurtà Garden Park is a 60 hectare-large natural park located in Valeggio sul Mincio, in the province of Verona, about 8 km from Pesc...

View

Venice: The graffiti of the ancient merchants on Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice

Fondaco_dei_Tedeschi
Historical Curiosities

Each building located along the Grand Canal has an amusing story or a mystery to tell... After having been the Post Office building for...

View

Padua: Padua, the Iliad, the Aeneid and Dante's Inferno

padova-antenore
Mysteries & Legends

What do the Italian city of Padua and Dante's Inferno have in common? Apparently nothing, but if you dig in the medieval legends you wi...

View

Venice: The Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice as the film set of 'Casanova'

Sala_Capitolo
Film Locations

In 2005 the film ‘Casanova' was shot in Venice, directed by Lasse Hallström and which starred the late Heath Ledger. Among the many ...

View