The Foscarini were a Venetian patrician family. As with other houses of the aristocracy of the Republic of Venice, on the origins of the Foscarini the chronicles have handed down legends not confirmed by historical sources. It is said that they were originally from Altino or Padua and that, having arrived in Laguna in 867, they had given the government of the ancient Duchy of the tribunes. Moreover, originally they would have been called Cobeschini, changing the surname at the closing of the Maggior Consiglio.
Certainly it is a very old family, in fact in 1090 a judge Foscarini is attested; nevertheless, it succeeded in establishing itself only between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, on the occasion of the Venetian expansion in the East (in particular in Heraklion and Corfu), and during the war of Chioggia.
Among the most illustrious members stand Ludovico (1409 - 1480), politician and scholar, Giacomo (1523 - 1603), diplomat and military, and Marco (1696 - 1763), doge from 1762 to his death.
They branched off from the Foscarini "of San Polo" in the first half of the fifteenth century: during this period lived the first known member, Bernardo, elected procurator in 1431. Initially staying in Santa Fosca, they then built a new residence in front of the Carmini church with Andrea (born in 1499) and the son of the same name (born in 1522).
It was the richest and most important branch, however it ended up being extinguished in 1745 with the death of the prosecutor Pietro. The conspicuous family assets passed, as per testament, to the Foscarini "San Stae", even though there is no close relationship between the two branches.
The branch resident in the palace of San Stae originated from the Foscarini "of San Polo" always in the fifteenth century, but it was distinguished by wealth and prestige only since the end of the seventeenth century. In 1595, in fact, the family had suffered a financial meltdown for the events linked to the war in Cyprus; subsequently the cases of Alvise di Girolamo (1628 - 1664) and of Nicolò di Alvise (1647 - 1671), the one who died in Mantua where he had been exiled for a passionate crime, the other murdered by the nobleman Giovanni Mocenigo for futile reasons.
Their fortunes rose again thanks to the brilliant careers of Sebastiano di Alvise (1649 - 1711) and Nicolò di Nicolò (1671 - 1752), favored by influential kinships (the second was the son of Ruzzina Ruzzini, sister of Doge Carlo) and the increased financial availability: in 1740, the prosecutor Pietro Foscarini, last of the "ai Carmini" branch, designated them his heirs (although there were no close relations between the two lines), with the clause moving to his Dorsoduro building assuming in turn the specification "ai Carmini".
This situation brought the family to the height of prestige - see the rise of Marco di Nicolò (1696 - 1763) to the ducal throne - but at the same time it undermined its economic solidity due to the increase in political and worldly commitments. The situation, aggravated due to their own prodigality (among all we cite the scandalous conduct of Giacomo di Sebastiano, confined by the Inquisitors of the castle in Brescia), led the Foscarini of San Stae to sell the majority of its assets.