Già valoroso e vittorioso capitano generale da mar della battaglia di Lepanto (7 ottobre 1571).

Già procuratore di S. Marco de ultra dal 15 maggio 1570, Venier aveva 81 anni (era nato nel 1496). La moglie Cecilia Contarini gli aveva dato una figlia, Elena, ma c’erano anche due figli naturali.

Durante la battaglia di Lepanto era rimasto ferito ad un piede. La sua partecipazione in quella battaglia ebbe risonanza non solo a Venezia: pur essendo Giovanni d’Austria il comandante della flotta che sconfisse i turchi, le strategie furono dirette dalla nave ammiraglia veneziana che lui comandava. Dopo la vittoria di Lepanto e in omaggio al suo valore fu scelto come nuovo doge.

Il suo dogado, però, fu assai breve. La cronaca vuole che sia morto di crepacuore per aver visto andare in fumo ancora una volta il Palazzo Ducale con moltissime opere d’arte (20 dicembre 1577).

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