Venipedia

The Procurators of San Marco were an authoritative judiciary of the Serenissima Republic, second only to the figure of the Doge and of which he has the election for life.

The year of establishment of the office is to be attributed to the year 812 and on the number of the first elected Prosecutors there are today two historical trends: those who want only one elected, who instead figures three as first elected.

However, from the Codice dei Frati a proposito dei Procuratori di San Marco kept in the State Archives of Venice and from other sources kept in the Marciana National Library (Catalogo di tutti li Procuratori di San Marco che sono stati dal principio sino al presente, printed in the nineteenth century by Simon Cordella) and the Correr Museum Library, it appears that the number of the first elected is three.

These first three Prosecutors - Pietro Tradonico (elected with 340 yes / 79 no), Lunardo Alimpato (elected with 330 yes / 82 no) and Nicolò Ardizzon (elected with 340 yes / 79 no) - were called  Primarj per soprintender ad ampliare il Terreno, a bonificar le Lagune ed a riunire le Verme, suggesting that their initial role was to keep under control the archipelago of islets around Rialto after the transfer from Malamocco. Of the three Procurators, one was commissioned under the Doge of Doge Giovanni Partecipazio to erect the Basilica of San Marco to guard the remains of the evangelist from Alexandria.

With the expansion of the activities carried out, the number of Procurators increased progressively, from 3 to 6, then from 6 to 9. Starting from 1269, the elected prosecutors had to take care - besides the garrison and the care of the temple of March - also the protection of orphans and minors whose parents had been deprived of their power (pupils), of idiots and of supervising the execution of testaments and the custody of the hereditary assets administered by them. They became Suppliers, that is, executors of the wills of those who commissioned them with a specific bequest, in particular for charitable works.

In the 1400s the procurators were divided into three branches: de Supra, with the aim of taking care of the custody and administration of the Basilica di San Marco; de Ultra, for the management of protections and wills concerning the part of the city beyond the Grand Canal and therefore representing the Dorsoduro, San Polo and Santa Croce sestieri; de Citra, for the management of protections and wills concerning the part of the city on this side of the aforementioned canal and therefore representing the San Marco, Castello and Cannaregio sestieri. Each Procurator of San Marco was provided with a home in Piazza San Marco, at the Procuratie Vecchie and Procuratie Nuove, where the personalities had the obligation to reside.

According to the Code kept in the State Archive, the Procurators were continuously and regularly elected to replace the disappeared, with the exception of the periods of economic crisis where they were also elected for cash, that is, the position was sold so as to replenish the state coffers.

The Procurators de Supra institute survived until the end until the fall of the Serenissima Republic and still exists today - under the name of Procuratoria di San Marco - under the patriarchate of Venice. The name of the Procuratoria of San Marco was transformed at the Fabbriceria della basilica cathedral of San Marco with the Royal Decree of 9 July 1931. The organization is responsible for the protection, maintenance and restoration of the basilica, the bell tower and their appurtenances.

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