Associazione Piazza San Marco

The Ride of the Doge 'in the little well'

On the day of the Doge’s coronation, after he had taken his vows in Saint Mark’s, he would climb into a long sedan chair, richly decorated in the centre with a chair in the form of a well (the little well - "il pozzetto"). He was then carried by sailors from the Arsenale all around the square in the middle of the crowd. On each side he had two vessels full of gold and siver coins, specially made from his own personal stores which he threw into the expectant people with open hands. The Constitution established the minimum (150 ducats) and the maximum (500 ducats) that the Doge could bestow - he needed to show that he was neither too thrifty nor too extravagant. The print is an engraving of Giacomo Franco (1550-1620).