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Republic of Venice with the Dogado , the Terraferma and parts of the Stato da Mar , 1560.

Terra ferma (ital. Mainland ) or officially Domini di Terraferma is the designation of the areas in the eastern northern Italy , by the Republic of Venice since the 15th century servants had been made.

Together with the Dogado (area of ​​the city of Venice and the coastal strip from Loreo and Grado to Chioggia ) and the Stato da Mar (Mediterranean possessions of the Republic), the Terraferma (also called Stato da Terra ) formed the entirety of the State of Venice.

The Venetian terraferma policy is usually associated with the conquest of Mestre in 1337 and of Treviso and Bassano del Grappa in 1339, but specifically with the reign of Doge Michele Steno from around 1400 and his successors. It served the long-distance trade interests and to ensure food security, but was especially under the Doge Tommaso Mocenigo and Francesco Foscari controversial, but which they both continued very forced. “Both were right, Foscari and Mocenigo: the Serenissima would have died if its trade in the Mediterranean had been beaten and devalued by better-armed competitors, but it could not allow the hinterland to attract great adventurers like the Scaligers , the Carraresi and the Visconti , the Dukes of Milan . "

In 1433 Venice was able to fix Terraferma and Dalmatia as its property in a treaty with Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg . In 1437 the conquest of Terraferma by the emperor was recognized: On August 16, 1437 Marco Dandolo received the Terraferma as an imperial fief for Venice in Prague . It was expressly pointed out that this imperial fief does not concern the Dogado, because this did not belong to the empire of the western emperor . On July 29, 1523, the later Emperor Charles V expressly renounced all rights of a feudal lord over the Terraferma. At the time of its greatest expansion, the Terraferma comprised the Veneto , Friuli and parts of Lombardy from the Po to the Adige , the southern edge of the Alps and the Julian Alps .

The maximum extent of the Venetian territories of Terraferma, at the beginning of the 16th century (on the eve of the Battle of Agnadello )

It was mostly the local princes who the Venetians did not want to accept as masters, in contrast to their subjects. Venice, however, left the existing structures in the Terraferma, usually only sent a few superintendents, judges and auditors and, of course, demanded taxes. The native nobility in the Terrferma was monitored by Provveditori sopra feudi (overseer of the feudal lords or feudal lords).

Reports that the energetic expansion of the Terraferma by Doge Francesco Foscari came at the expense of the strength and clout of the fleet and that the gradual decline of Venetian supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean began, are controversial. Since the Renaissance , Venetian nobili have increasingly invested in the agriculture of the Terraferma, had magnificent country estates built there and spent the summertime there. This is commonly seen as an expression of the decadence and economic decline of Venice.

The fertile terraferma repeatedly aroused the desires of France and the Habsburgs . Especially on the part of the Habsburg Monarchy there were repeated plans to appropriate the Terraferma or to divide it up between itself and France. Finally, Napoleon Bonaparte assured in the top secret additional article to the preliminary peace of Leoben on April 18, 1797 that France would cede Venetian territories to Austria “legally correct” . For this “country donation” Austria finally received Venice itself in 1798.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Alvise Zorzi : Canal Grande. Biography of a waterway , Hildesheim 1993, p. 365.
  2. Kretschmayr, Vol. 3 p. 510, s. a. 514, 522, 527-529, 634.
  3. Kretschmayr, Vol. 3, p. 534.


  • Ingrid Baumgärtner : Legal norm and application of the law in the Venetian terraferma of the 15th century: In: Dies. (Ed.): Consilia in the late Middle Ages: on the historical informative value of a source type. Sigmaringen 1995
  • Daniele Beltrami: La penetrazione economica dei veneziani in Terraferma: Forze di lavoro e proprietà fondiaria nelle campagne venete dei secoli XVII e XVIII . Venezia 1961
  • Heinrich Kretschmayr : History of Venice . 3 vols. Gotha 1905, 1920, 1934. Darmstadt 1964, 2nd reprint of the Gotha 1920 edition, Aalen 1986, reprint of the 1st and 2nd volumes, undated, undated (2010)
  • Marin Sanudo il Giovane: Iternario per la terraferma veneta (1483); Ders .: Commentari della guerra di Ferrara (1484); Ders .: De origine, situ et magistratus urbis Venetae, ovvero La Città di Venetia (1493–1530, critical edition by Angela Caracciolo Aricò . Milano 1980); Vers .: Vite dei Dogi (1494; new ed. By Angela Caracciolo Aricò. Padova 1989, Padova / Roma 2003); Ders .: Storia veneziana (1521) and its diaries, printed from 1879 in 59 volumes: Marino Sanudo: Diarii ed. v. R. Fulin, F. Stafani, N. Barozzi, G. Berchet, M. Allegri. Venezia 1879-1911
  • Gerhard Schober: Republic of Venice - The Terraferma and its administration . Seminar paper 2007
  • Gian Maria Varanini: The statutes of the cities of the Venetian Terraferma in the 15th century , in: Giorgio Chittolini, Dietmar Willoweit (Ed.): Statutes, cities and territories between the Middle Ages and modern times in Italy and Germany, Berlin 1992; Ders .: Proprietà fondaria e agricultura . In: Storia di Venezia dalle origini alla cadut della Serenissima . Vol. 5: Alberto Tenenti , Ugo Tucci (eds.): Il Rinascimento. Società ed economia . Rome 1996.