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Source of all those sequins


Next to the Biblioteca Marciana, the Zecca or mint stands out as one of the very few buildings in Venice made of solid stone. Another of Sansovino’s creations, this rusticated Doric building, finished in 1547, replaced the 12th-century mint where the first golden ducat had been produced in 1284.

Ducats (after the 16th century, the gold coin was called the zecchino, hence our word for sequin, while the name ducat was used for a silver coin) were a major currency in Europe’s exchanges, like the dollar today; unlike the dollar, they were worth their weight in 24-carat gold – between 1284 and 1797 the amount of gold in the coin never varied. Over a million gold and silver coins were minted each year – three times the wealth of the entire kingdom of France.

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vaporetto San Marco

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: VeniceWiki,