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 revolt was Daniele Manin (1804-57), a Venetian lawyer and patriot. The Austrians did not take kindly to the insurrection and retaliated with force.
Venice held out for over a year until on August 24th, 1849, the city surrendered.
Manin went into exile and spent the last years of his life teaching Italian in Paris (two of his pupils were the daughters of Charles Dickens). He died there in 1857, at the age of fifty-three.
However, in 1868, two years after the Austrians had finally relinquished control of Venice, his ashes were brought back to his native city. Manin is one of the few Venetians to be honoured in the city of his birth with a statue.
The building now forms part of the Hotel San Fantin.