Venice, January 11, 2022- The fist Italian lira in history had engraved on one side Doge Niccolò Tron, and on the other the iconic symbol of the Serenissima Republic’s power, the St. Mark Lion. It's a long and beautiful story that starts from Venice, the one of Lira, which was the official currency of Italy since its unification, in 1861, and up to the arrival of the Euro on January 1st 2002. A story that finds its roots back in 1472, exactly in the economic hearth of Venice, the city mint, when the goldsmith and engraver Antonello Di Pietro created the first Italian lira, following the decision of Niccolò Tron, the 68th Doge on Venice, from 1471 to 1473. That same lira is going to be minted again, 550 years later, on February 28, 2022, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 1600 years of Venice, within the official celebrations dedicated to the lira and euro conceived and coordinated by the journalist and expert Sandro Sassoli, to honor the 20th anniversary from the conversion of lira into euro.
Silver made, with a diameter of 28 millimeters and a value equivalent to 240 Coinage of the Republic of Venice, the lira Tron was a great Venetian innovation, which marked the path toward the unification of Italy monetary system, which was still divided into many States and political dominions, each with its own currency. The “denaro” and then the “grosso” were the commercial currencies most used before the lira Tron, and the first “grossi” were issued exactly in Venice during the rule of Doge Enrico Dandolo (1192-1205), soon becoming the most popular silver coins around Europe and the East.
Anyway, since it was often counterfeited with a low quality silver alloy, causing a bad impact and threatening trades, the Council of Ten decided, in 1472, to mint a new silver coin with the image of the Doge in charge to reduce the risk of imitations. It was here that the lira Tron came into being as a sort of anticipation of the euro, with a wide circulation, reaching even the Eastern trading ports.
The lira was then for 150 years the official currency of unified Italy until 2002, when it retired to leave the space for the euro. To remember a coin that has been with Italians for so long Sassoli- that had already organized in 2002 the historical transition to euro with Alberto Sordi and Valeria Marina throwing the last lira into the Trevi Fountain- decided that in 2022 the history of lira will be brought around Venice and the whole Italy.
“A long and beautiful story that deserves to be told and lived through the several historical, cultural, social and artistic comparisons it raises- explains Sassoli- and for this reason we are also involving school children who had the opportunity to know the lira just through their parents and grandparents memories. Plenty of memories and smiles linked to this coin but hopes and faith in euro as well, in a world that is lo longer the one we used to know”.
An ancient coin printing press will be brought in Venice and will mint again the lira Tron, 550 years later, while a gondola will be fully covered with old but shiny 200 lire coins, bringing to life the first “Gondolira” in Venetian history.