A small part of the Venetian nobility, above all the big families such as the Bragadins or the Dandolos, was immediately attracted by the Doge Manin’s vision. However, most of the city’s nobility had ceased to dazzle many years ago. All that revelry, vice and slovenliness has left its mark. The infinite pleasures they have at their fingertips don’t seem to be enough. Nothing is amoral enough to stop their thirst for pleasure. Nothing can stop them, not even syphilis or the suffering of the inhabitants of Venice. When a group of drunken nobles murdered a couple of boys at a party, no one was surprised.
Thus began the Mascheratas. Night raids whose sole purpose is to find unsuspecting people to humiliate, assault, torture and often murder. The government is ruled by nobles who don’t wish to see their offspring in Plomos jail, so these nihilists enjoy full immunity. The most reckless amongst them actually bring along the city’s guard to protect themselves during their vile night-time outings. The Barnabotis, well-known impoverished aristocrats, do not hesitate to take part in these Mascheratas, eager to gain the attention of their wealthy cousins. Maybe luck will shine upon them one day, and they will rise again on the social scale.
Besides, the Venetian political arena does not bode well for the future. Most of the nobles with a vote in the councils, mainly Patricians, don’t wish to lose any of their power and staunchly defend the Old Regime. Some nobles, however, craving for political changes crucial to the Republic, wish to accept the bourgeois in the council. The struggle between both factions is becoming increasingly tense and bitter. Some people even say that some Mascheratas are organized with political aims. Be that as it may, this kind of activity has eventually led to a confrontation between the nobility and the masses, as well as their protectors.