11 - THE FAMILIES

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The captain and his family used to spend their free time in these particular spaces. The captains were representatives of the owners who lived in Venice and in fact very rarely visited their Istrian estate. However, the life on the estate was very much influenced by the owners whom we have most to thank for when it comes to the construction and development of the castle and the settlement itself. During the period of the most intensive development of the estate lasting from the late 15th century to the early 17th century, it was governed by high-ranking members of the then still very prosperous Venetian society, some of the most significant and notable people of that time.

During the late Middle Ages, a great turning point in the history of Svetvinčenat took place and after that the two main families had a decisive influence over the development of the settlement. During the late 15th century, more precisely in 1467, after the de Castropola family had left no heir, the estate passed into the hands of Paolo Morosini. As members of the Venetian high society, the Morosini family held numerous public and political offices, and are believed to be one of the oldest Venetian families. Members of that family included four doges, three dogaressas, two queens, two cardinals, and a multitude of captains, podestas, and bishops. The time of their governing was crucial for the settlement development and its prosperity. Paolo's son Marco instigated the Renaissance transformation of the village of San Vincenti into a semi-urban environment. He built a castle, residential houses, laid the foundations of the new parish church and he is rightly called the founder of Svetvinčenat as we know it today. Later generation family members also continued with the adaptation and construction of the settlement, i.e., they completed the construction and adaptation of the parish church, residential areas, and the lodge. The Statute of 1523, in place during the governing of Marco’s nephew Pietro Morosini, set the legal framework for the feud’s social arrangement. In 1524, the Morosini family received a definitive confirmation of ownership of the feud from Pope Clement VII that included the female lineage, which was very unusual for that time. This ensured their ownership until 1560. That year, the future dogaressa, the then fifteen-year-old Morosina Morosini and her sister Angela, married the brothers Marino and Almorò Grimani, and the San Vincenti feud passed into the hands of the Grimani di San Luca family as part of the dowry. The Grimani were also one of the oldest Venetian noble families that at the height of their power, i.e., during the 15th and 16th centuries, included three doges, cardinals, and patriarchs. Marino Grimani and Morosina Morisini were the most famous and prominent historical figures to own this Istrian feud. In 1595 Marino Grimani was elected doge of the Venetian Republic, and three years later the most magnificent coronation of a dogaressa in the history of Venice was held. Numerous paintings, graphics, publications, and chronicles of that time recorded the two-day celebration marked by feasts, dances, performances, and the symbolic procession of Morosina along the Grand Canal, from the Grimani Palace to the Doge’s Palace and the Church of St. Mark, where she received a golden rose sent by the Pope himself. Her death in 1614 ended the relationship between the lineage of the Morosini dalla Sbarra family and Svetvinčenat, and until mid-19th century, the feud had been governed by the heirs of the Marino Grimani’s lineage, of the branch of San Luca.

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