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Dalla stalla alle stelle, solo chi cade può risorgere. Questa la storia di Antonio, comandante della flotta veneziana sconfitta dai turchi nella battaglia navale dello Zonchio (1499) e condannato a morte.

Forse per intercessione del figlio Domenico, cardinale a Roma, la condanna capitale venne commutata con l’esilio a vita nell’Isola di Cherso.

Da qui Antonio riuscì a fuggire dopo soli due anni e riparò a Roma presso il figlio; più tardi, quando la Repubblica fu minacciata dalla Lega di Cambrai, Antonio si adoperò con ogni mezzo per distogliere il pontefice Giulio II della Rovere  dal proposito di prendere parte alla guerra.

II buon esito dei suoi uffici diplomatici gli permise di ritornare nel 1509 a Venezia, ove ripercorse la carriera pubblica e nel 1521, all’età di 87 anni (era nato il 28 dicembre 1434), fu eletto doge. Il più vecchio della storia. La cerimonia della sua incoronazione avvenne sulla Scala dei Giganti, iniziando così una consuetudine che durò sino alla fine della Repubblica.

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