Uniforms from the past: tales and legends from the Carabinieri Headquarters of San Zaccaria which opens to the public on the occasion of the 1600 years of Venice

1 October 2021

Venice, October 1st 2021- Just a few steps from Riva degli Schiavoni, next to the Church of San Zaccaria, from which it takes its name, there’s a building originally belonged to the Benedictine order that became, just after the annexation of the Veneto Region to the Italian Kingdom, in 1867, the headquarters of the Carabinieri provincial command of Venice. In the sestiere of Castello, a place of priceless historic and artistic value, of which we can read tangible evidence already in the will of Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio of 829, and which on Saturday, September 25, will be on view on the occasion of the 1600 years of Venice, to give the opportunity to citizens to visit a place of extraordinary relevance both for the history of Venice and for Carabinieri Corps. 

“We wanted to give all Venetians this opportunity- says Colonel Mosè De Luchi, Commander of the Carabinieri provincial command of Venice- and show them a place of unique charm that dates back even before the year one thousand, to ensure them the possibility to better understand not just the history of this place, the local police headquarters, but the importance of carrying out this profession in a special and unique city like Venice”.

Upon entering, you are immediately welcomed by a cloister that dates back to 1495, a place that still shows the signs of its past, made of tales and legends that the Police officers of San Zaccaria, have chosen to reveal to the public during the year of the 1600 anniversary from the foundation of the city. Exactly in this cloister some of the most iconic uniforms of the local police are exhibited, coming from the private collection of the Sartorel brothers from Zero Branco. We are talking about uniforms coming from different historical periods, from 1840 up until nowadays, and that recall the ancient history of this crucial job that deals with the protection of the city. Between them, two very special uniforms, the one worn in the movie with Franco Nero “Il giorno della civetta”, and a sport uniform used by the skier Pietro Gros during the 70s. 

“The local Command of San Zaccaria has a close bond with the history of Venice and with the Doge itself - goes on Colonel De Luchi- it is said that every Easter Sunday or Monday, the head of the government of the Serenissima Republic went here in procession to attend the Mass and, right in this place, it seems that he received a gift from the abbess of the convent: the “corno ducale” (ducal horn). We are talking about a bond that finds its roots in the granting by the abbess of the fields where today stands the St. Mark’s Basilica.

The old Benedictine convent of San Zaccaria was abolished after Napoleon’s arrival in 1810, as many other Venetians convents, becoming, during the Austro-Hungarian period, the seat of the Accounting Department of the Empire, and later the headquarters of the army and local police, up until the First World War. 

Beside its history and architectural beauty, the current Carabinieri provincial command of Venice hides many mysterious legends related to the story of the abbess’ ghost who is said to be still inside the cloister of the former Benedictine convent. The cuirassier Biasin, moreover, affirmed that precisely on this place a conflict between the German troops and the local police took place. At the time, after a strong fight, they managed to secure the command. 

Guided tours are free and organized by the local police force of Venice (Carabinieri) with the support of the Touring Club. 

For further information and reservations write to provveeventi@carabinieri.it or call 0412741513