A symbol of Venetian authorities

A symbol of Venetian authorities



Average reading time — 3 minutes


An unusual hat in the shape of a horn was one of the traditional clothing elements of the rulers of the Republic of Venice. Like the crown of monarchs, a fancy cap was considered a symbol of power. The product was made of luxurious brocade, decorated with gold and precious stones.


Gold trim

The Venetian hat is called “Zoia”, which means “precious stone” in Venetian dialect. The shape and patterns of the hat changed slightly over time, but the noble metal has always played a key role — the multilayer gold fabric was the pride of Venetian craftsmen, and it earned great popularity throughout the country.

Over the centuries-old history of Venice, many variations of the precious “horn” had been presented: crimson velvet with rings of the yellow metal; brocade flanking a massive gold cross. Embroidery with gold thread, diamonds and pearls not only increased the cost of the headdress, but also emphasized the royal position of the wearer.

In the photo: the officials of the Venetian Republic wearing precious hats.


Historical aspect

The earliest historical records of the headdress date back to 12th century, but the tradition of its use took shape even earlier. The ruler wore the “horn” trimmed with the metal of kings only during ceremonies, while on ordinary days the ruler wore a less expensive version made of red velvet and embroidered with gold thread.

It was believed that the finely crafted headdress gave its owner strength and courage, and also symbolized militancy, freedom of spirit and connection with God. The “golden” technique of the “horn” aptly emphasized aforementioned characteristics.

In the photo: a headdress of the Venetian rulers, made of golden fabric.


Modern days

Today the authentic golden “horn” is exhibited in the Museo Correr in Venice. In addition to the precious headdress, the exhibition features a portrait and a bust of the famous Venetian ruler Francesco Morosini wearing a hat made of golden fabric.

The famous headdress is not forgotten in present-day Venice either. Locals gladly wear a fake copy of the hat during the annual Venetian carnival. The festive costume of the ruler, the main element of which is a copy of the precious hat, is also massively popular.

Gold inspired court jewelers throughout centuries. Thanks to their daring experiments and the durability of the yellow metal, we have the opportunity to admire the historic pieces today.




Learn more about ancient masterpieces made from the precious metal.

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