The Venetians wryly referred to them as 'Viennese oranges' and yesterday morning I came across a cluster of three, neatly arranged above a doorway in a secluded corte.
The three cannonballs are just some of the many missiles that were fired into the city by the Austrian army during the reign of the short-lived Republic of San Marco (March, 1848 - August, 1849). Under the leadership of Daniele Manin the Venetians had rebelled against their Austrian overlords, who had ruled the city since 1815.
The Austrians tried to make the cannonballs more effective by making them red hot before firing, with the intention of setting fire to sections of the city. They were nicknamed 'Viennese oranges', because of the way they illuminated the night sky over Venice.
Some of the 'oranges' can still be seen, embedded into the walls of buildings, both secular and religious.
Blogging about Venice:
its art, history & culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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