Venetian Fortresses in the Mediterannean

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Map of the city of Canea (Chania) on Crete. 16th century, ink and watercolor drawing on parchment.

This small exhibition curated by the director of the Doge’s Palace, Camillo Tonini and by Diana Cristante, offers the extraordinary privilege to see original drawings on parchment and on paper made between the 16th and the 18th century of Venetian fortresses in the Mediterranean area.

As many people know, Venice, beside being an extraordinary wealthy and glamorous city, was also a political and military power. The preservation of important outposts in the Mediterranean sea secured the routes of commercial convoys heading toward Alexandria in Egypt, to Constantinople, Cyprus, Haifa and many others destinations.

Gradually Venice enlarged its possessions in the Eagean and Ionian sea; still today the time of the Venetian ruling is called in Greek Venetokratia.

The officers sent by the Republic to administrate these territories, the provveditori, were also in charge of their military defense. If in the 14th century Venice fought above all against Genoa, from the 15th century onward immense monetary and human resources were sacrified in the wars against the Ottomans.

Because of this constant state of war and the development of new weapons, Venice steadily modernised and improved its fortresses in the Mediterranean. The provveditori would send exact drawings and maps of their territories to Venice where all decisions about the necessary interventions were taken.

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