The waves of history

The Morosini Naval School turns 60, paying homage to Captain da Mar
by Redazione VeNews

The sixty years of a city symbol that forms the heirs of a millenary tradition. A tribute to the figure of Francesco Morosini, Doge and war hero protagonist of the history of the Serenissima.

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella was in Venice last May 7 to celebrate, in Piazza San Marco, the sixty years of the Military Nava High School Morosini, an elite school run by Italy’s Ministry of Defence for pupils aged 15-18. The goal of the school is to nurture an interest in seafaring careers, whether military or civilian, in gifted youngsters. Over the years, the school has grown in terms of international reputation and on the occasion of the ceremony, welcomed the new class, who took their oath in the Piazza. These boys and girls coming from all over Italy are a common sight around Venice in their traditional, impeccable uniform that includes a blue cape in the winter, and is an all-whites in the summer. They are part of a millennia-old tradition, too, seeing as how elite schools like Morosini were the ones to educate the supreme military commander of the Republic of Venice, called Capitano da Mar, literally Captain of the Seas, or Admiral. Legendary figures were once Capitani, like Francesco Morosini, who won over the Ottoman Empire in the Candia War of the 1600s. His victory earned Venice the territory of Morea, or Peloponnese, in what is now Greece, and, above all, his election to Doge.

Morosini was born in 1619. For the 400 years since his birth, Venice produced a series of events which included an exhibition at Museo Correr, Francesco Morosini (1619-1694): ultimo eroe della Serenissima tra storia e mito, now essentially part of the museum’s permanent collection. The Correr is the custodian of Morosini’s heritage, which it acquired in 1895 from his last heir. Mementos, documents, and art show Morosini’s personality in the historical dimension of protagonist of Venice’s life. Personal items, books, pilot books, Greek archaeological findings show what his character and interests were like. Military documents, models of warships and fortresses, trophies, seized Ottoman weaponry show his ability as a military commander. Portraits, coinage, medals, letters of commendation evoke the myth of Doge-Admiral, one of the last Venetian heroes. Morosini died in battle, while serving as Doge, and his posthumous celebration has been a lengthy, monumental state affair.

From history to web series: the Morosini School is the protagonist of an eleven-episode series directed by Stefano Alleva: Oltre il cancello verde ( about real life at the Scuola. The project focuses on freshmen to popularize the academy to younger audiences.