Free Walk in Venice tours are glad to present you: Saint Mark Horses
The horses you can see on the pic are the copy created in 1982, the original are inside the beautiful Sain Mark museum.
The original four horses at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, can only be described with one word: beauty. They are called the bronze horses, but they are actually pure copper. If you have the opportunity to stare at them long enough, they almost seem real. The two horses pictured above are looking at each other like they are sharing a secret, and we are left in the dark. It’s a miracle of history, time, and circumstance that these horses exist today. We are able to stand and admire their craftsmanship because of a long history of looting, theft, and historic preservation. Do you want when have they been created?
It seems they may have been created by a very famous sculptor, Lyssippos, in the fourth century BCE. However, we must tell you that recent studies suggest that the horses have a Roman and not greek origin. If the antiquity of the horses is not enough to produce a feeling of awe, then the story of how they made their way from Constantinople to Venice will surely amaze. From at least the ninth century CE, and possibly much earlier, the horses stood on top of the Hippodrome in Constantinople. In 1204 CE, Constantinople was totally sacked by Crusaders, and many of the treasures, including the four horses, were shipped to western Europe. This is part of the history.
From 1204 CE, these four beautiful horses grace the terrace at St. Mark’s Basilica. In 1797 CE, Napoleon and the French troop decided that he wanted horses and carried them off to Paris (and not only them). They were returned to Venice a short time later in 1815 CE. There they stood on the terrace until the 1980s, when they were moved inside to save them from pollution. Today on the terrace you can view the replicas, but the real treasure is located inside. The horses stand guard just inside the entrance and look like they are in motion, prancing towards the visitors to greet them. There they will stand for future generations to admire their beauty and realism. Photography is not allowed and the cost of the ticket is 5 euro, totally worth it!
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La Serenissiam è stata definita la miglior forma di Repubblica esistente, + anche vero che la giustizia qui a Venezia era molto severa, anche se dava,(specialmente dopo l’episodio del famoso fornaretto) garanzie precise per quanto poteva riguardare la difesa degli accusati di crimini.
Ma crimini efferati ve ne furono, e proprio nella natura stessa della Repubblica questi dovevano essere immediatamente puniti con precisa e mirata violenza, per dare al popolo la sicurezza e il monito che chiunque si macchiasse di cruenti crimini veniva puntualmente punito, dando soddisfazione alle vittime o ai loro parenti, ma , in egual modo, far presente che la lunga mano della quarantia criminal sarebbe stata presente, e la punizione inesorabile e terribile.
L’esecuzione dei condannati a morte avveniva sempre tra le colonne di Marco e Todaro a S. Marco, ma prima, perchè l’impatto “educativo” fosse ancor più efficace, il colpevole doveva subire determinati, terribili torture.
Una delle tappe più drammatiche avveniva, dopo il trasporto in una gondola sul canal grande dalle prigioni venivano portati a S. Croce, presso una colonna unica rimasta di un Monastero che aveva sede alla Giudecca e che venne smantellato, e che venne quindi incastrata tra la Fondamenta della Croce e la Fondamenta del Monastero.
Qui venivano loro mozzate le mani che venivano poi legate al collo, quindi il condannato veniva portato presso il luogo dell’esecuzione, e qui, finalmente veniva posta fine alla sua vita, con lo sguardo rivolto all’orologio della torre, giusto per far capire loro che quella era l’ora della loro morte. Si ricorda difatti il detto "Te fasso veder mi, che ora che xe"!
Sicuramente fortemente cruento e drammatico, ma questo era ritenuto un modo per rendere la giustizia più giusta (all’epoca) e allo stesso tempo dare un insegnamento ai veneziani del peso della legge! Da non dimenticare!
Free Walk in Venice tour ! Venice is a small, pedestrian-friendly city (remember, we don't have cars and it's forbidden ride a bike - for adults). If you're willing to walk or if you decide to buy a 12-24 or 48 hours vaporetto pass, you can easily get around on your own.
Join our guided tour :) it can be worthwhile if you're pressed for time or if you want to discover something different from a local point of view and for sure if you want to learn more about Venice than you could learn from a guidebook! :)
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The Grand Canal, Venice's magnificent water street is also called the “Canalazzo“. This is one of the real canals of Venice and it is the most important water way of Venice. Its lenght is about 3800 meters and it splits the city in two sides, "de citra" and "de utra".
You know, Venice looks like a fish, not bad for a city on the lagoon! The Grand Canal it's like a thick dark line that creates a kind of "big S" inside the fish.
By each sideof the Grand Canal you can see many different and magnificent palazzi (from a period dated between XII and XVII century) that testify the richness and beauty of the art during the “Serenissima“ Republic.
The Grand Canal was the centre of the trades of the Republic since the Middle Age. Here ships (some were over 400 tons) used to sail by: in fact, it is right on the Grand Canal that the “Fondaci” were born. They were a sort of big warehouses and inns for merchants coming from every part of the world. One if this fondaci is: Fondaco dei Tedeschi, now houses luxury shops but..also a magnificent terrace where you can enjoy one of the best view of Venice!
There are 4 bridges crossing the Grand Canal, each built in different eras. The most recent one is the “Ponte della Costituzione” (the Constitution Bridge), known also as the “Calatrava Bridge” (from the name of the Spanish Architect who presented the project) and inaugurated on September 11th 2008. It links the Santa LuciaTrain Station with Piazzale Roma (bus station). Right after it, there is the “Ponte degli Scalzi ("Barefoot Bridge") . Proceeding towards Saint Mark's Square we find the Rialto Bridge, certainly the most famous one, once made of wood "Ponte delle monete". It used to be a drawbridge that allowed the crossing of the canal to sailing ships, when Rialto was the ancient port of the city. The last bridge we meet is the Accademia Bridge, still a temporary structure made out of wood. It is a very important link between Dorsoduro area (and the Accademia museum) and Saint Mark's district.
These four bridges are not the only way to cross the Canal Grande: a quite cheap gondola our public ferry - traghetto) service takes people, tourists and locals, from one side to the other.
The Grand Canal ends in Saint Mark's where the spectacular view of the basin opens wide in front of us. On the right side the Salute church and the “Punta della Dogana” (Custom Point),on the left the extraordinary view of Saint Marks’ Square, the Doge's Palace, the Basilica, and the dominating belltower, our so called “El paron de Casa”.
The Grand Canal was, and still is, the most ambitious place to live. All palaces on this water way (no pedestrian access from the Canal) were built and embellished by the most important nobles families of the City. The best way (the only one !!) to see all the palaces is by water bus: sit back, relax and enjoy the splendour passing by!
If you want more tips related to the Grand Canal your our free tour, for a local point of view! :)
During our Free Walk in Venice tours we always repeat that Venice, because of its uniqueness, is a fragile city.
The increasing number of travellers who walk every day along its calli makes it necessary to remember some rules to be respected by all visitors. This way, discovering the city will be easier, respecting Venice itself and its citizens!
Thank you !