The propaganda of architecture, such as self-glorification, or the portrayal
of the virtues of an enlightened ruling class, which had met with such fortune
in the capital and mainland dominions, reached the Levant territories only in a
very limited degree. A Senate ecree of 1550 had declared
that public money was to serve 'purely for the use for which it was ordered,
which is the fortress and the
security f those cities and our places, and not
pomp and impertinent ornamentation.'1 Concina feels that the 'Porta Reale'
('Royal Gate') destroyed in the late nineteenth century represented a 'limited
and linguistically contained exception' (which was described so
enthusiastically by Marmora in 1672: ...'Behind the ravelin that faces
onto the village of San Rocco there rose a gate which has the name and
magnificence of royal, able to compete as an equal with the most illustrious
constructions of the Greeks and the Romans').2 The Venetians' only
architectural undertaking which acquired symbolic meaning was the 'piazza'
('square') constructed c. 1588. Marmora described it 'with two cisterns in the
middle with copious water and richly adorned with carvings and figures that
render it the more beautiful'.3 Here the ability of Venetian institutions to
provide the city with water seems to make up for nature's shortages, and
symbolise the domination of a recalcitrant nature.
1 'schiettamente a quel fine al quale l'è ordinato, ch'è la
fortezza a la sicurtà di esse città et luoghi nostri et non a
pompa et ornamenti impertinenti'
2 'Dietro il Rivellino che fronteggia il borgo di S. Rocco si solleva una porta
che di Reale ha il nome e la magnificenza, potendo concorrere di pari con le
fabbriche più illustre o de' Romani o de' Greci'
3 'con due cisterne nel mezzo copiose d'acqua e ricche per gl'intagli e le
figure che le rendono più belle'