Only a few gestures of opposition hindered the Napoleonic troops as they overran the Veneto. In Verona the people staged a brave resistance, which became known as the Fasque Veronesi because it took place at Easter. Later, at the entrance to the Venetian lagoon, an invading French schooner, the Liberateur, was bombarded and captured by a Venetian ship. But by 30 April 1797 French guns on the mainland were audible in the Palazzo Ducale as the last doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin, conferred with his advisors. On the following day, 1,100 years after the appointment of the first doge, the Republic simply voted itself out of existence, when the Maggior Consiglio agreed to Napoleon’s request for a change in the constitution by the overwhelming majority of 598 votes to 74. ! Napoleon had shrewdly taken advantage of the nascent spirit of rev- olution in Italy, and this made the Venetian nobility all the more aware that their elitist government had no future. The aristocracy was declining in wealth and numbers. They had managed to remain in office so long thanks only to a policy of strict political censorship, aided by the innate conservatism of the Venetian people. Realizing that the charade had to end, they merely wished the termination to be as painless as possible.
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