Showing posts with label Santa Maria Glorioso dei Frari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Santa Maria Glorioso dei Frari. Show all posts

1 February 2018

Francesco Maria Veracini – violinist

Virtuoso performer was prolific composer


Francesco Maria Veracini was one of the 18th century's leading violinists
Francesco Maria Veracini was one of the
18th century's leading violinists
One of the great violinists of the 18th century, Francesco Maria Veracini, was born on this day in 1690 in Florence.

He was to become famous throughout Europe for his performances and for a while he was Handel’s biggest rival as a composer.

Veracini was born into a musical family, although his father was a pharmacist and undertaker. His grandfather, Francesco, had been one of the first violinists in Florence and had a music school business, which he eventually passed on to his son, Antonio, who was Francesco’s teacher. Veracini grew up in Florence but by 1711 he had established himself in Venice where he played in church orchestras.

In 1712 on February 1, his 22nd birthday, he performed a violin concerto of his own composition in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in honour of the visit to Venice of the Austrian ambassador. This is the first recorded public performance by Veracini playing one of his own compositions. At about that time, one of his performances so impressed the violinist, Giuseppe Tartini, that he decided to take time off to study better use of the bow in Ancona.

The violinist Pietro Locatelli is thought to have studied with Veracini at this time.

Veracini performed in London in 1714 and then went to Germany, where he obtained a court position in Dresden at an impressive salary.

Via Palazzuolo in Florence, where Veracini was born
Via Palazzuolo in Florence, where Veracini was born
There was much friction between the court musicians and in 1722 Veracini fell to the ground from a third-floor window, suffering a number of injuries. It was never established whether this was a suicide attempt following a quarrel with another musician or whether, as Veracini claimed later, someone had tried to murder him and he jumped from the window to escape.

He survived the incident but rumours of his madness were circulated subsequently. He seemingly lived something of a charmed life, some years later escaping a shipwreck in which his two treasured Stainer violins - which he called St Peter and St Paul - were lost.

Veracini returned to London in 1733 and performed in many different theatres. His operas were produced at the Opera of the Nobility, who hired the great castrato opera singer, Farinelli, and were the main rivals to Handel’s theatre.

He went back to Italy for good in 1750 and continued to compose, conduct and play the violin until he was well into his 70s.  He was appointed maestro di cappella for the churches of San Pancrazio and San Gaetano in Florence. Although he composed music for operas, he is perhaps best known for his violin sonatas. Veracini died in Florence in 1768.

A plaque marks the house in Via Palazzuolo where the violinist was born in 1690
A plaque marks the house in Via Palazzuolo where the
violinist was born in 1690
Travel tip:

There is a plaque commemorating Veracini at the house where he was born at number 30 Via Palazzuolo in Florence in the parish of San Salvatore, a few minutes from the city centre. Nearby is the church of San Salvatore di Ognissanti, known simply as Chiesa di Ognissanti, which is located in a piazza of the same name.




The Frari church in Venice, where Veracini gave his first public performance of one of his own compositions
The Frari church in Venice, where Veracini gave his first
public performance of one of his own compositions
Travel tip:


The church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, where Veracini first played one of his own compositions, is a huge, plain Gothic church in Campo dei Frari in San Polo and is known simply to Venetians as the Frari. The church houses the tombs of Monteverdi, Rossini, and Titian and has works of art by Titian, Bellini, Sansovino and Donatello. The church is open daily from 9.00am to 5.30pm and on Sundays from 1.00 to 5.30pm.


More reading:

Farinelli, the castrato who became music's first superstar

How Pietro Locatelli's playing left listeners astonished

The brilliance of Andrea Zani, 18th century violinist and composer

Also on this day:

1891: The birth of Corradino d'Ascanio, designer of the Vespa scooter

1922: The birth of opera singer Renata Tebaldi

(Picture credits: Via Palazzuolo and plaque by Sailko)


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 podestĂ  – 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 CĂ , 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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