Monument to Marcantonio Bragadin
Bragadin is the hero par excellence of the thousand year long glorious military history of Venice. He defended Famagusta, the last stronghold in the island of Cyprus. After eleven months of siege, since the hope for help did not arrive, he yielded, on condition of military honours. But the enemy did not keep its word.
Bragadin was subjected for several days to the most humiliating tortures. On 17 August 1571 he was skinned alive. He died when his butchers reached as far as his waist. His skin was tanned and stuffed and then, a macabre trophy, was carried to Constantinople. From thence, in 1580, it was secretly removed by a citizen of Verona, Gerolamo Polidoro. On 18 May 1596 it was conveyed to SS. John and Paul and placed in a leaden casket in a niche behind the urn.
On 24 November 1961 a group of scholars, opened the casket. The barbarous episodes was confirmed: inside were discovered several pieces of tanned human skin. They were solemnly replaced in the presence of the local authorities on 24 March 1962.
The classical style architecture of the monument is attributed to Vincenzo Scamozzi. The «chiaroscuro» fresco, representing The skinning of Bragadin, is attributed by some to Giuseppe Alabardi, by others to fra Cosimo Piazza, a capuchin friar; while the hero’s bust is by a follower of Alessandro Vittoria.