Art@Site Ettore Ferrari Victor Emmanuel II

Ettore Ferrari


Victor Emmanuel II

Riva degli Schiavoni
Unlike many cities with rich histories, Venice has surprisingly few monuments. This is a result of the unique statutes that governed the Venetian Republic for hundreds of years, prohibiting the elevation of one individual above others in the city, along with the city's unique pattern of development. Early Venetian citizens were concerned with their safety and survival on the barren and soggy islands of the Venetian lagoon. After the city had grown and began to take its present shape, a shortage of land became the more pressing issue. By the time Venice developed into a major European capital and citizens began erecting monuments, virtually all public land had been already spoken for, by churches, campi (public squares), and the like. Laws went further, preventing the construction of free-standing statues in an effort to reduce fighting between wealthy and powerful families who might perceive one individual being declared more important than any other.
As a result, the vast majority of monuments in Venice today postdate the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. The densest area for monuments in the city is, by far, the Giardini of Castello, one of Napoleon's"improvements" to Venice. Thirty seven – more than half – of the 67 monuments in Venice are located in these gardens, and the rest are scattered throughout the city. One statue of note is Andrea del Verrocchio's monument to Bartolomeo Colleonio. Colleonio, a Venetian mercenary, left his fortune to the city in the fifteenth century with the condition that a monument would be constructed in his honor"in front of San Marco." Because Venetians would be vehemently opposed to the construction of a monument in the Piazza San Marco where Colleonio had intended, the nonetheless impressive statue was instead placed in front of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, in the Campo di SS. Giovanni e Paolo.
Unlike most other public art in Venice, monuments are usually constructed from bronze or tenera stone. Their bases are typically made of Istrian marble7. While a number of monuments are fenced in, the majority are vulnerable to damage from people sitting on them, kicking soccer balls against them, and other detrimental human forces. Notable monuments include the above-mentioned one to Colleonio, the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II on the Riva degli Schiavoni, and the large collection in the Giardini.