The origin of the four horses is not well known,
but it is believed that they came from Costantinople.
Their heads were separated from the bodies to make the
transportation easier. After arriving in Venice, the cuts
between neck and head were hidden by collars. They were
cast in almost pure copper, harder to melt but easier to gild.
In 1797 after Napoleon Bonaparte declared the official end of the Venetian Republic he sold the Venetian territories to Vienna but before leaving the city the French looted all that they could carry including the four horses. They were returned by the French Government only after 1815.