Sack of Venice
Principia Moderni III
Part of War of the Grand Coalition
Depiction of the sack of Venice
Date 5 May 1737 - 20 May 1737
Location Venice
Result Croatian victory, massive casualties inflicted to Venezia, capture of the Venetian fleet
PM3HRBanFlag Croatian Bajandom
  • Carantanian Podbandom
  • Silesian Bandom
Commanders and leaders
PM3HRBanFlag Ivaniš II. Nelipić
30,000 soldiers 1000 soldiers
140,000 inhabitants
Casualties and losses
250 killed
1900 wounded
700 killed (soldiers)
30,000 killed (inhabitants)
5,000 wounded (soldiers)
60,000-90,000 wounded (inhabitants)

The Sack of Venice was one of the first, and one of the bloodiest, battles of the Invasion of Italy, and thus the War of the Grand Coalition. Led by the Croat Field Marshall Ivaniš II. Nelipić, the Croat forces were able to sack Venice and cripple it in a matter of 16 days.


Croatia had recently declared war on Hispania and began the invasion of Italy. Incredibly successful due to their experienced military, the Croats quickly reached Venice. Field Marshall Ivaniš Nelipić, in order to seek vengeance for the Siege of Zadar, issues the order to 30,000 soldiers to march on Venice.

Assault and sacking

The siege would not last for long, as the Venetian defenders expected the Croats to attack from sea, however the 30,000 Croat forces were unstoppable coming from the north. Attacking during the night, the Croat forces broke into the city surprisingly silently, which allowed them to spread out, preparing for the massacre.

By sunrise, the Croat forces had already massacred thousands of Venetians, and already held the Piazza San Marco, from which they went towards St Mark's Basilica in an effort to kill those who were hiding in the cathedral. Because of their respect towards St Mark, the Croat forces dragged out the Venetians, taking them to the Grand Canal, where they were thrown into after being beheaded. Sources state that the canal water was coloured in a deep red during the 13 days the Croats were there.

Once most of the bloodbath was over, during the second half of the siege, the Croat forces took over control of most of the Venetian fleet, using gondolas and disguising as survivors to trick the Venetians into letting them on the ships.

During the last 3 days, the army began burning down and destroying many houses, docks and bridges as they slowly progressed to the outskirts of the city.


The Sack of Venice has been declared the bloodiest battle of the Invasion of Italy. Because of the damage done to the population and the buildings in Venice, it caused a massive loss to the importance of Venice and also, due to the gaining of the Venetian fleet, an advantage in the naval warfare during the invasion.

It also gave the Croat forces a feared reputation, as the news about their actions traveled with rapid speed, giving the Croats a vital advantage in further conquests in Italy, especially when facing smaller towns.

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