Zecca of Venice

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Palazzo della Zecca next to the Biblioteca Marciana and facing the Bacino San Marco

The Palazzo della Zecca is a 16th-century building in Venice which once housed the official government mint, or offices responsible for coining money. This building, rustic and robust in its external surface, stands in stark contrast to the ornately decorated Biblioteca Marciana next door. Both buildings were designed by Jacopo Sansovino. Today, the Zecca now serves as the host of the contents of the library of the Biblioteca Marciana.

The prior zecca had stood in the Rialto district since 1277[1] and moved here closer to the offices of the Republic located around the Piazza San Marco. This Zecca building was erected from 1536-1545, and built from solid blocks of Istrian marble. Since the mint formerly had ovens with high temperature and posed a risk of fire, little wood was used in construction. The entry archway with two Telamons was designed by Sansovino’s pupil, Vincenzo Scamozzi. The statues were carved by Girolamo Campagna and Tiziano Aspetti.[2] The courtyard has a statue of Apollo by Danese Cattaneo.

Venetian coinage[edit]

The minting of ducats and coins ceased in 1870, when Venice joined the Kingdom of Italy. During the era of the Republic of Venice various coins were minted here, including:

Name Value Minting Name
Ducato d'argento (Silver Ducat) 1 grosso 1202 (doge Enrico Dandolo) also called Matapan
Silver Soldo 1328-1339 (doge Francesco Dandolo)
Silver Lira 20 soldi 6.52 g of silver con title of 948‰ 1472 (doge Nicolò Tron) also called Lira Tron, was the first lira of Italy: its name derives from Latin word libra
Silver Sequin 12th century)
Golden Ducat or Golden Sequin 1 fiorino 1284 (doge Giovanni Dandolo) From the reign of Francesco Venier (1554–1559) it began to be called zecchino (sequin). Minted in near pure gold (997‰).

Sources[edit]

  • Translated from Italian Wikipedia entry.
  1. ^ The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages’’ By Alan M. Stahl, (2000), Johns Hopkins University Press
  2. ^ Venice, (1891) by Augustus John Cuthbert Hare; page 20

Coordinates: 45°25′59″N 12°20′21″E / 45.43306°N 12.33917°E / 45.43306; 12.33917