Fra’ Bertucci Contarini

Bertucci Contarini was born to Girolamo, noble patrician of Venice, and married a daughter of Francesco Corner with whom he had a son also named Girolamo.

Widowed, he became a professed friar of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and occupied considerable offices.

In the prioral archive we have a power of attorney of the Grand Master d’Aubusson on January 3, 1476 that delegates him to extinguish certain amount of money that the knight Fra’ Lodovico Marcello, Commander of Treviso, owed to the Common Treasure of the Religion. From this act it is noted that at that time Contarini was Grand Prior of Venice. Sixtus IV appointed him to collect subsidies for the siege of Rhodes. From a document of 1485 we know that at this time he was still alive.


Contarini coat of arms.


Legend traces the origin of the Contarini family to the Aurelii Cotta of Rome who, being prefects in the Reno region, were called Cotta Rheni or Counts of the Rhine, hence the surname Contarini. The first known member of the family is an Andrea Contarini who in 853 signed the will of the bishop of Castello Orso.

It represented one of the most flourishing Venetian families: in the year 1500 out of 1523 patrician families surveyed in the city, as many as 107 bore the surname Contarini. However, it should be noted that, especially in cases like these, the various branches did not feel part of a single lineage only on the basis of the common surname.

The familiy gave the Serenissima eight doges and several other important personalities such as ecclesiastics, politicians and soldiers. There are also many references still present in toponymy.

The tombstone of Fra’ Bertucci Contarini shows one of the oldest depictions of the “stola”  that is the long cord with the symbols of the passion that is proper to the choral dress of the professed knights ad nuns of th Order of St. John of Jerusalem.