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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Jacopo Tiepolo - Doge of Venice

Ruler laid down the law and granted land for beautiful churches


Jacopo Tiepolo was Doge of Venice for 20 years
Jacopo Tiepolo was Doge of Venice for 20 years
Jacopo Tiepolo, the Doge who granted the land for the building of Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo and Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, died on this day in 1249 in Venice.

His election as Doge in 1229 had sparked a feud between the Tiepolo and Dandolo families, which led to the rules being changed for future elections. He also produced five books of statutes setting out Venetian law which was to change life in Venice significantly, bringing a raft of civil and economic regulations to which Venetians were obliged to adhere.

Tiepolo, who was also known as Giacomo Tiepolo, had previously served as the first Venetian Duke of Crete and had two terms as podestà – chief administrator - in Constantinople.

He acted as the de facto ruler of the Latin Empire, negotiating treaties with the Egyptians and the Turks.

Tiepolo was elected Doge, a month after his predecessor, Pietro Ziani, abdicated. At the election a stalemate was reached between Tiepolo and his rival, Marino Dandolo, both of them having 20 votes each. The contest was decided by drawing lots, which led to Tiepolo’s victory.

A feud then broke out between the Dandolo, who were an old Venetian aristocratic family, and the Tiepolo, who were seen as ‘new money’.

The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was built on land granted by Doge Jacopo Tiepolo
The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was
built on land granted by Doge Jacopo Tiepolo
In an attempt to prevent a split vote in the future, the number of electors was increased from 40 to 41. Tiepolo also had to sign a promissione, a document limiting his powers.

Tiepolo was married twice and had three children with his first wife and, after her death, two more with his second wife.

Relations between the republic of Venice and the Holy Roman Empire deteriorated during Tiepolo’s reign. Venice joined the Lombard League in 1239 and fought against Ezzelino III da Romano, a feudal lord of the Veneto who was a powerful ally of the Emperor, Frederick II.

One of the Doge’s sons, Pietro Tiepolo, was captured at the Battle of Cortenuova and taken to Frederick II’s castle in Trani, where he was hanged, making relations between the two powers even worse.

Tiepolo abdicated in 1249 and retired to live at his private residence in San Polo in Venice. He died on 19 July and was buried in the Church of San Zanipolo, for which he had given the land during his time as ruler of Venice.

The Doge's Palace was traditionally the seat of the  Government of Venice under the Doge
The Doge's Palace was traditionally the seat of the
Government of Venice under the Doge
Travel tip:

The Doge’s Palace was the seat of the Government of Venice and the home of the Doge from the early days of the republic. For centuries this was the only building in Venice entitled to the name palazzo. The others were merely called Cà, short for Casa. The current palazzo was built in the 12th century in Venetian Gothic style, one side looking out over the lagoon, the other side looking out over the piazzetta, the small square linking the large Piazza San Marco with the waterfront. It opened as a museum in 1923 and is now run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.


The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where Jacopo Tiepolo was buried after he died soon after abdicating
The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where Jacopo
Tiepolo was buried after he died soon after abdicating
Travel tip:

The Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo, known in Venice as San Zanipolo, is in the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo in the Castello district. The land was donated to the Dominicans by Tiepolo after he dreamt of a flock of white doves flying over it. One of the largest churches in Venice, it has the status of a minor basilica and a total of 25 of Venice’s Doges are buried there.


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