The Doge and the Danieli

Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice

On the Riva degli Schiavoni, in the very heart of Venice, stands a modern building, whose only merit is that it doesn't draw much attention to itself! 

The building in question, with its bland modernist façade, is the Danieli Excelsior, which is often referred to as Il Danielino

The hotel stands on the site of an infamous crime, an act of dogicide (Is there such a word?), which happened more than 800 years ago. On May 28th, 1172, Doge Vitale Michiel II (and his entourage) was rushing from the Palazzo Ducale to the nearby convent of San Zaccaria, where he hoped to find refuge.

The doge was in a spot of bother, having presided over the near total destruction of the Venetian fleet, and an angry mob was at his heels. As he turned from the Riva degli Schiavoni into a narrow alley, known as the Calle delle Rasse, the Doge was fatally stabbed. His assassin, who happened to live in the calle, was caught, tried and hanged. The state then went one step further and ordered that the killer's house be razed to the ground. It was further decreed that no stone building should ever be built on that spot.

This injunction was respected until the 1940s when the Danieli Excelsior, the work of the architect Virgilio Vallot, was erected. 

Prigioni, Daniele Excelsior and the Hotel Danieli

19th century photograph of the Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice