(image from Franzoi 1979, 11)

                                      (image from Franzoi 1979, 6)



The Doge’s palace was the residence of the Doge as well as the centre of political and legal administration. As such it included the apartments and council chambers of the Doge, but also as a public building it included assembly halls, court rooms and offices of the government, even the state prison (Chambers 1970, 142-3; Hibbert 1988, 337).

 The first palace was a fortified castle dated in the beginning of the 9th c., which was restored in the late 10th c. after a fire. (Serra 1950, 3; Hibbert 1988, 337). The Gothic palace owes its appearance to major changes in the architectural layout which took place in the 14th c. These changes and additions included the construction of the Sala Del Maggior Consiglio, which took over almost the entire south wing, adorned with Eastern motives and fine gothic style (Hazlitt 1900, 372-3; Serra 1950, 4; Hibbert 1988, 337).

Changes and extensions continued in the first half of the 15th c. mainly around the 1430’s, although a decision had been made from 1422 to restore and build new wings. Stylistically, the new buildings are characterized by a conservative architectural style in order to match the 14th facades of the rest of the building complex (Romano, 63-4). The most important building activities of the period were the extension of the western arcades, the construction of the Porta della Carta and the Foscari porch.




(image from Emmons 2004, 7)


John stayed at the Marquis of Ferrara’s palace at San Giacomo dell’Orio, which was used for receiving high ranking visitors. This was originally the palace of the Pesaro family and late presented to the Este family by Venice and was named the Casa des Marchese. The palace was originally built for Angelo Pesaro in the 13th c. in Veneto- Byzantine style (Emmons 2004, 2). In 1381 Venice gave it to the Duke of Ferrara, Nicholas II, along with 10000 ducats of gold, as part of the alliance of the two cities against Genoa and Padua.


(image by Jonathan Shea)

This palace was closely associated with the polices of Venice regarding the terraferma, since in three different occasions it was taken away from Ferrara due to its rebellions of alliances with Venice’s enemies(Emmons 2004, 2). Being located on the Grand Canale, the palace was occupying a prominent position close to a series of public spaces. It enjoyed great views of the canal, especially since it has a double height portico, a wide arcaded façade and many windows but at the same time enjoys seclusion due to its position within Santa Croce. (Fortini Brown 1990, 139; Emmons 2004, 7; Romano 2007, 136). In the beginning of the 17th c. after the death of the last Duke of Ferrara, there was much dispute regarding ownership of the palace but it was finally sold to Antonio Priuli. He leased the palace to serve as the fondaco for merchants and their wares coming from the Ottoman Empire, hence the name Fondaco dei Turchi (Emmons 2004, 3,5).




TWO-STOREY HOUSE                            


Example of a two-storey house

(image from Sigalos 2004, 310)




The two-storey house is a frequent occurrence in the Late Byzantine architecture, as it was a common way to exploit the slope difference (since many such houses were built on steep hills surrounding a fortified citadel), and to extend the space of a house (Bouras 1983, 22; Sigalos 2004, 65, 80). However a two-storey house would also add to the prestige of the owner, providing a better view of the settlement but also allowing immediate view of the house by everyone. A house with a good view must have been very important since we know of laws which protected the view of houses by limiting the obstruction of view caused by new buildings (Sigalos 2004, 65).

Such houses were divided in the upper floor or floors and the ground floor, which were usually separately accessed from separate entrances and with no immediate communication between them (Sigalos 2004, 65, 80). The living quarters were located in the upper floor and usually had only one or two rooms while further separation of the space could be achieved with curtains and parapets (Sigalos 2004, 80).

 The ground floor could be used for storage and for stabling the animals as in the case of the pigs found in this house. This floor was usually smaller than the upper one or cutting into the bedrock, but the walls were thicker, and often a barrel vault would provide some stability and support of the upper floor (Sigalos 2004, 80). There was also an open yard in one side or surrounding the house (Sigalos 2004, 80).

Such houses have been recorded in Mouchli, Palaiochora of Kythera, Mystras, Geraki, Rentina, Didimoteicho and elsewhere (A.D. 1988, 444; Moutsopoulos 1985, 323-53; Moutsopoulos 1997, 84; Sigalos 2004, 82, 201,203, 208).











The Translation is © Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, IAA, University of Birmingham 2008


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Last updated 19 June 2008