The Beginning of the Venetian Age

The Venetian conquest of the ‘Patria del Friuli’ opened a new age that was closed with the end of the Republic ratified by the Treaty of Campoformido in 1797.

According to a period division that is nowadays consolidated by Friulian historiographers, with the Venetian conquest of the ‘Patria del Friuli’ there began a new age that was to last until the end of the Republic ratified by the Treaty of Campoformido in 1797. Upon the arrival of the Venetian government the old administrative machinery was replaced by a completely new organization that was structured with different criteria and employed personnel of Venetian choice. On the other hand, some institutions, such as the Parliament, albeit devoid of their most significant competences, remained unchanged; other ones were on the contrary either suppressed, if useless, or adapted to the new needs. The nobility, who could count on the preservation of the feudal legislation, kept on being divided into philo-Venetian, who were headed by the Savorgnan, and philo-imperial (later philo-Habsburg) who where headed by the family della Torre; in the meanwhile the mass of peasants took the part of the Dominant (that is to say Venice) thanks to a shrewdly chosen fiscal policy, as it is evidenced by the held behaviour upon the Venetian defeat of Agnadello in 1509 and during the ‘peasants’ revolt’ of 1511. The city of Udine, which owed its fortune to its location at the crossroads of the region main trade routes, had confirmed its role, which it had played since the last patriarchal period, of administrative and bureaucratic centre, see of the Parliament as well as of the ‘Luogotenente’ (the General Governor), residence of the patriarchal curia and, therefore, centre also of the ecclesiastical, beside the political, administration.

The fifteenth century appears rather turbulent as a whole in Friuli that in the last decades of it had to see a series of Turkish incursions devastating its territory, to the terror and death of its population. From a political, military, economical and religious viewpoint the first twenty-five years of the Venetian dominium were shaken by the repeated attempts of patriarch Louis of Teck [Ludovico di Teck] to re-conquer Friuli with the Hungarian and Austrian support. Therefore the territory had been crossed and depredated by the two parties’ armies; the trade routes got even more unsafe and difficult to run for merchants who wanted to cross the Alpine passes; the Friulian clergy were abandoned to themselves due to the patriarch who was kept far away from his see. Only the death of the old patriarch at Basel in 1439 could put an end to this situation, with the subsequent appointment of his successor, Ludovico Trevisan (1439-1465). Then, after a few year, on 10 June 1445, an agreement was at last subscribed which settled the disputes between the patriarch and the Republic. In connection with these events there stood one of the most relevant cultural episodes of the fifteenth century in Friuli: the creation of the humanistic library of Guarnerio d’Artegna, vicar of the patriarch Ludovico Trevisan.

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