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Pietro Gradenigo's coat of arms

Pietro Gradenigo (1251-13 August 1311) was the 49th Doge of Venice, reigning from 1289 to his death.

When he was elected Doge, he served as a podestà of Koper / Capodistria in Slovenia. In 1291, Venice suffered a serious blow, where fell Acre, the last stronghold of the crusaders in the Holy Land. In 1294 war between Venice and Genoa started and Venice sustained some serious losses: she lost a naval battle, her properties in Crete was sacked and the Byzantine emperor, Andronicus II, arrested many Venetians in Constantinople. In response, Venetian fleet sacked Galata and threatened the imperial palace of Blachernae, but in 1298 they again lost at Curzola. Eventually, in 1299 the two republics signed a peace treaty.

Doge Gradenigo was responsible for so called Serrata del Maggior Consiglio, the Locking of the Great Council of Venice. In February 1297 was accepted a new law, which restricted membership of the future Councils only to the descendants of those nobles who were its members between 1293 and 1297. This move virtually created oligarchic system, disenfranchising a great majority of the citizens and provoking some unrest.

In 1308, under Gradenigo's reign, Venice involved itself in war with the Papal State over the control of Ferrara and on 27 March 1309 the Republic was excommunicated by Pope Clement V, barring all Christians from trading with Venice. The Doge's policy, seen by many as disastrous, led to a plot to bring down him and the Great Council, led by Bajamonte Tiepolo and other members of the aristocratic families. On 15 June 1310, the coup failed and its leaders were severely punished. The Tiepolo's plot led to creation the Council of Ten, initially as a temporary institution, which later evolved into the permament body which in reality governed the Republic.

On 13 August 1311, Gradenigo died, and, since Venice was interdicted and the religious ceremonies couldn't be hold, he was buried in an unmarked grave on Murano.[1]

Preceded by
Giovanni Dandolo
Doge of Venice
1289 – 1311
Succeeded by
Marino Zorzi


  1. ^ A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich, Penguin Books (page 200)


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