Marin Sanudo’s journey

One of the itineraries to be covered on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or with historic cars that the Veneto Region is trying to recover is the same that the young Venetian, Marin Sanudo, traveled between 1483 and 1484 accompanying Venetian officials, including one was his cousin Marco who in 1483 was appointed inquisitor Mayor of Terraferma, a collegial judiciary in charge of traversing the Venetian domino to carry out a complex administrative-fiscal investigation. Marco Sanudo invited the seventeen year old cousin Marino to join the expedition for an inspection trip to the mainland (from Lombradia to Istria) to welcome the requests of the subjects and listen to the podestàs of the various cities. The story expresses Sanudo’s pride and confidence in the moral and even material superiority of Venice in its relationship with the institutions and society of the mainland domain: evident superiority in the strength of its military defense systems; in the paternal ability to directly practice a good government action and to indirectly stimulate it in the virtuous connection between the profile of the state and the role played by the families of the individual members of the Venetian patriciate. What our Marin describes is a sort of first Tuirist guide to the lands of the Republic of Venice

The journey starts from the city of Padua where it describes exactly Prato della Valle, the University and the library, then goes to Monselice and Este where it finds beautiful streets and a large square. It passes through Montagnana crosses the Polesine up to Rovigo and then Ferrara, where political military affairs affect the Venetian state, in 1482 there was the war between Venice and Ferrara as in Comacchio the Este city began to collect the precious salt. The war was won by the Venetians with the support of the Pope, and Rovigo, Ferrara and the Polesine passed under Venetian rule. From here they headed west, in the Verona area on Lake Garda and then to Mantua which immediately defines a very old city. They continue in the direction of Brescia, an ancient city, Bergamo, the only example in the Venetian territories of a city divided between high and low and Crema with its beautiful castle; then they returned to Lake Garda in Salò, passing from Riva del Garda to Arco, Rovereto and Trento. With a raft, covered by a canopy, Sanudo and the group embarked towards Verona on the Adige river but in this adventurous crossing he was very afraid because the strength of the Adige was so great and he could not wait to get to Verona city that the he impressed with culture and artistic monuments, such as the Arena, Castelvecchio and San Zeno. They then continue east, passing through Soave up to the faithful Vicenza, describing the Basilica as Gothic as that of Palladio was still to be built. It continues to Bassano where the bridge marks the border between Marostica on one side and Bassano on the other. It continues for Cittadella and here it dwells on the urban layout of the fortified city calling it “Beautiful Castle”, the delegation arrives in Noale, then Mestre and finally in our Treviso. It is defined as “big earth” land and not city even if it is an episcopal seat but this definition derives from the fact that it did not have many inhabitants, many Treviso aristocrats preferred to move to the countryside such as the Collaltos. Sanudo describes the Palazzo dei Trecento which houses the commission of aristocrats who flank the Venetian rector to the detriment of the municipal council that was ousted during Venetian rule. The journey continues to Asolo, with its castle located on a mountain, then Feltre and Belluno defined as “good land”, descends towards Conegliano and Oderzo, Motta di Livenza and Portobuffolè up to Friuli. From here, passing through Udine and Cividale, then Gorizia, Aquileia where he dwells on the archelogical character they concluded their journey in Istria, touching Koper, Porec, Pola and Albona.

Upon returning from the trip, his cousin Marco Sanudo was appointed Senator of the Republic.

We just have to wait for the Veneto Region to define exactly the route as the town planning from 1483 to today has definitely changed!