An unpublished collection of 47th vintage postcards of Cortina and surroundings, from the 20's to the 50's .
The castle de Zanna in 1870
Taken from "A Midsummer Ramble in the Dolomites" by Amelia B.Edwards, London, 1873
Chapter 13 - Freedom and the French Venice dies, the Lombardo Veneto is born
From the Statutes we learn that in the Cadore (Ampezzo) society there existed no inequalities either by birth or, to a certain extent, by gender. All the Cadorini (Ampezzani) were equal and women enjoyed the same rights as men, even within those peculiar institutions called Regole. In a world based on feudal system and social classes (in Venice an aristocratic oligarchy) Cadore stood out for its acclaimed equality. Nobility was tolerated, but not in public deeds. The Major Council had often deliberated upon this matter; the last decision dates back to 1672 (Adam's case) "nobody can be registered with his title of nobility, particularly in the public assembly nor in any document under the seal of a public officer". Since there were neither nobles nor serfs, the ill-famed "jus primae noctis" did not exist. After its separation from Cadore, Ampezzo kept these proud privileges, rejecting the feudal system in force everywhere else from Pustorthal to the remote Badia valley. In 1670 a Zanmaria Zanna left as mercenary to join the Vienna army against the Turks. He did so well that he earned gold sequins and a patent of nobility. Back in his hometown, he wanted to build a mansion up to his title, but the community stopped the works halfway through "for the prejudice it can bring to the Hometown". It was the 19th August , 1696. The unfinished castle is still there, among other houses. Not even the clergy did enjoy particular privileges, save for the respect due to the holiness of the ministry. Cadore (and Ampezzo) had borrowed this civil position too from secular Venice. The Statutes, for instance, expressively forbade priests from collecting wills, under penalty of nullity, to avoid that somehow they might morally subjugate the parties, thanks to their prestige and culture.
Soon after the French arrived, it was immediately clear they would bring requisitions and wars rather than the acclaimed principles of freedom, fraternity and equality that already existed up here. Between the autumn, when the first combat with the French occurred near Belluno, and the summer of 1809, it was an endless succession of skirmishing, marching of more or less organized troops, bivouacs, requisitions, thefts, and looting in the region. Meanwhile, Venice was cowardly surrendering, while in Tyrol Andrea Hofer was organizing the popular resistance against the Franco-Bavarians. On the 31st August a Franco-Italian column attacked Cortina. It had marched up from Belluno to fight off the vandal incursions of Tyrolean volunteers. To drive out a Giuseppe Hirschtein, one of their commanders later captured and imprisoned in Mantua, the cannons placed near Cojana fired at the town. The medieval church of St Catherine (on the site of today's Hotel Posta) was destroyed. The church had been shut down by George II and turned into a Customs office; the hamlet of Chiave went up in flames with its church consecrated to St Anthony. Before retreating to Cadore, they took to pillaging and killed a dozen poor people.
On the 28th February of the following year, 1810, Ampezzo and Dobbiaco were annexed to Cadore, promoted "district of the Piave" and, in its turn, divided into the two cantons of Pieve and Campitello. The two parishes, separated from the diocese of Bressanone, were assigned to Udine. In the month of May, Ampezzo and the whole empire would celebrate the wedding of Napoleon with Maria Louisa of Austria. In March 1811, more rejoicing and fireworks for the birth of the king of Rome.
Other events were to follow. Namely: the disastrous expedition to Russia (1812), the defeat of Leipzig (1813), the end of Napoleon and his ephemeral Italic reign (1814); and the return of Ampezzo and Dobbiaco within their Tyrol (as diocese too). Nearby Cadore and the former territories of Venice, granted to Austria by the Congress of Vienna, became the vice-royalty Lombardo Veneto.