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The privileges of Candia



In September 1561 the Venetian Senate  received a request divided into thirteen demands set forth by the feudal noblemen of the island. These regarded a number of different matters that greatly concerned the feudal powers of the island, and ranged from the cultivation and production of wheat and oil, to the control of water and the management of salt-works , to the preservation of privileges and the 'infinitissime gravezze' ('infinite taxes') from which they wanted to claim exemption. The most urgent request, however, concerned the restoration of the fortress. Agreeing to the petition and adopting the cause as their own, the Senate maintained that the work had to be carried out 'in the way and the form that law and experts and practitioners of such a profession'1 judged most fitting. The sum of 3,000 ducats  was allocated for the job, which was assigned to Giulio Savorgnan. Once he had finished his work at Cyprus, he headed for Candia  to complete the fortress, where he was instructed to follow the plans that had already been laid out, or if he felt it necessary, start all over again from scratch. To help him on the difficult assignment, Savorgnan requested the assistance of his lieutenant Andrea Nigrisuoli, as well as Giovanni Magagnato (a native of Castelfranco, and therefore an example of the involvement of subjects from mainland territories in Venetian defensive restructuring). Magagnato was given the title of 'inzegner' ('engineer'), and completed his practical apprenticeship in the fortress at Rethymno . In Savorgnan's request, he is described as expert and 'clever' ('intelligente') in drafting models and designs.

1 'nel modo e nella forma che per giudizio e dei periti e dei pratici di tal professione'

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