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A fatal trap: 1379-80

In 1379 Genoa brings the long-standing hostility between the two cities to Venice's own doorstep. The Genoese arrive in the northern Adriatic with a fleet of fifty war galleys - a greater force than the Venetians can muster at the time. In an early success they capture the Venetian town of Chioggia, at the southern tip of the lagoon. But then they fall victim to the skill of the Venetians in the use of their own narrow waterways.

The Venetians blockade the exit from Chioggia by sinking ships full of stones. The trapped Genoese expel the inhabitants of Chioggia to conserve food. But in June 1380 some 4000 starving men accept Venice's terms of unconditional surrender.


The disaster of Chioggia, and the loss of the entire fleet of Genoese galleys, brings to an end Genoa's rivalry with Venice in the eastern Mediterranean - a situation acknowledged in the terms of the resulting Peace of Turin, signed in 1381.

Genoa subsequently has periods of great prosperity, in alliance with Milan and later Spain. But, unlike Venice, the city is never again a great independent power.


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