Either truth or legend, the foundation of Venice is dated 25 March of a.d. 421. Therefore, 1600 years have passed, a glorious story that the Foundation Musei Civici celebrates and revisits in Palazzo Ducale with 250 artworks, ancient artifacts, documents, drawings, maps, and miniated manuscripts to track the memory of the work of the greatest artists, architects, and literary men who worked over a millennium.

On display, there is also a manuscript of The Travels of Marco Polo as well as drawings, prints, textures, sculptures, ceramics, glass, and daily-life objects. The exhibition “Venetia 1600, Births and rebirths”, set up in the Doge’s apartment, is extraordinary with its display of a visual narrative of the city history, including events, vicissitudes, and personalities which made it become the Venetian Republic between triumphs and failures and its look at the future.

With artists such as Carpaccio, Bellini, Titian, Veronese, Tiepolo, Guardi, Canaletto and Hayez, we arrive at the Twentieth century with Pollock, Vedova and Santomaso. Thanks to the restorations curated by Save Venice, the show includes a three-meters long canvas with Saint Mark’s Lion by Vittore Carpaccio, the family portrait by Cesario Vecellio, and the grandiose altarpiece by Jacopo Palma the Young “madonna with the Baby in glory,” Saint Magnus crowning Venice sided by Faith.

The curators are Robert Echols, Frederick Ilchman, Gabriele Matino, and Andrea Bellieni, with the scientific direction of Gabriella Belli. With its twelve sections, the exhibition shows the complexity and completeness of its historical reconstruction: Introduction, The elected city, Queen of the Sea, The merchants’ city, Renovatio Urbis/City renovation: Gritti and the architects, The fire of Palazzo Ducale, 1577, The Plague 1576 and 1631; the seventeen hundreds: glory and fall of the Serenissima, the Eighteen hundreds, Revolution and Unification; The capital of contemporary art, Acqua Granda 1966, 2019; Venice and the future.

The last room theme is of current relevance: the future of Venice confronted with depopulation, Mose, the flooding, the transports, the excessive cost of real estate, deep water consuming the foundations, pollution, big ships, and the danger of rising seas due to climatic change.

The message launched is optimistic, though. As it is stated in the catalogue: “With its delicateness, Venice managed to survive for so long because it was able to be reborn, from time to time, in more adaptable shapes. Looking at the past to plan the future is more possible in Venice than in any other city.”The exhibition will be open until 25 March 2022