In the Campiello Marinoni, a stone's throw from the Teatro La Fenice, stands a curious building, its walls decorated with cannons and cannonballs.
It was built in 1869 as a memorial to the dramatic events that had taken place in the city two decades earlier. On March 22nd, 1848, the so-called year of revolutions, Venice threw off the yoke of Austrian rule and declared itself, once more, an independent republic. The leader of the rebellion was Daniele Manin (1804-57), a Venetian lawyer and patriot. The Austrians, needless to say, did not take kindly to the insurrection and retaliated with force.
The second Venetian Republic survived for seventeen months, but was finally suppressed by the Austrian army in August, 1849. Manin was sent into exile, ending up Paris, where he eked out a living teaching Italian (two of his pupils were the daughters of Charles Dickens). Daniele Manin never returned (alive) to Venice, but died in Paris on September 22nd, 1857.
In 1866 Austrian rule in Venice and the Veneto came to an end and the city and the region became part of the Kingdom of Italy, which had been formed in 1861. Two years later, on March 22nd, 1868, the twentieth anniversary of the start of the uprising, Manin's ashes were returned to Venice, where he was given a state funeral.
Manin's supporters wanted his remains to be interred in the Basilica di San Marco, but this was met with stiff opposition by the clergy and some members of the nobility. In 1875 his sarcophagus was placed in the Piazzetta dei Leoncini, against the north side of the church. The porphyry sarcophagus, which was designed by Luigi Borro (1826-86), rests on four bronze lions.
In the same year, a statue to Manin (also the work of Luigi Borro) was erected in the campo opposite his erstwhile residence. In order to create the space for the monument, the ancient church of San Paternian (and its equally ancient and unique five-sided bell tower) were demolished. Campo San Paternian was duly renamed Campo Manin.