At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Antonio Priuli - Doge of Venice

Doge clamped down on Spanish ‘spies’


Antonio Priuli rounded up hundreds of suspected Spanish plotters
Antonio Priuli rounded up hundreds of
suspected Spanish plotters
Antonio Priuli, who was the 94th Doge of Venice, was born on this day in 1548 in Venice.

He took office in 1618 in the midst of allegations that the Spanish were conspiring to invade Venice. He immediately began a brutal process of ferreting out individuals suspected of plotting against La Serenissima, the Most Serene Republic of Venice.

The so-called ‘spy war’ did not end until 1622 and resulted in the imprisonment and deaths of many innocent people.

Priuli was the son of Girolamo Priuli and Elisabetta Cappello. He grew up to enjoy a successful career as a sailor and a soldier and married Elena Barbarigo, with whom he had 14 children.

In 1618 Priuli was appointed provveditore, a type of governor, of Veglia, an island in the Adriatic, which now belongs to Croatia.

That same year, following the death of Doge Nicolo Donato, Priuli was recalled from Veglia to become the next Doge.

At the time it was believed that the Spanish, led by the Spanish Ambassador to Venice, Alfonso de la Cueva, 1st Marquis of Bedmar, had landed mercenaries on Venetian territory. It was thought Bedmar had successfully infiltrated the Venetian military and that a Spanish fleet was poised to take Venice.

On Priuli’s orders, hundreds were arrested, many of them foreign soldiers and sailors. Among the innocent victims was Antonio Foscarini, a Venetian nobleman who was arrested after attending an event at the English embassy and executed in April 1622.

The Venetian government issued an apology for Foscarini’s execution the following year and then scaled down the search for plotters. Priuli died just a few months later on August 12, 1623 in Venice.

The Palazzo Priuli in Castello is now an hotel
The Palazzo Priuli in Castello is now an hotel
Travel tip:

Palazzo Priuli, Antonio Priuli’s family home, is now the four-star Hotel Palazzo Priuli in Castello overlooking Fondamento Osmarin. This fine Venetian Gothic palace was built in the 14th century and still has the original, elegant windows. You can choose to stay in the Doge Antonio Priuli suite, which is furnished with a Murano glass chandelier and oriental rugs to create the atmosphere of a noble Venetian’s home.

The Doge's Palace was the home of the Doge and the seat of the government of the Venetian Republic
The Doge's Palace was the home of the Doge and the
seat of the government of the Venetian Republic
Travel tip:

The Doge’s Palace, where Antonio Priuli lived during his five-year reign, 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 that links St Mark’s Square with the waterfront. It opened as a museum in 1923 and is now run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

Also on this day: 

1922: The birth of Neapolitian journalist Antonio Ghirelli

1949: The birth of Miuccia Prada, driving force behind the Prada fashion label

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