"Piazza di San Marco III" Piazza San Marco Tip by vallarta

Piazza San Marco, Venice: 310 reviews and 516 photos

Over the centuries it has been embellished with trophies brought back from abroad to demonstrate Venetian power and thus the spiritual might of St. Mark. The bronze doors of the central gate came from Byzantium in the eleventh century, the bronze horses on the roof, in the thirteenth century. The origin of the four horses is not well known, but it is believed that they came from Costantinople. Their heads were separated from the bodies to make the transportation easier. After arriving in Venice, the cuts between neck and head were hidden by collars. They were cast in almost pure copper; harder to melt but easier to gild. The phrase "To capture the horses of St. Mark" means "to conquer Venice". Napoleon Bonaparte, taking this literally, had the horses (and much else from the city they were looting) carried to Paris. The horses were returned by the French Government after 1815.

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  • Written Oct 3, 2003
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