Established on its many islands by Roman refugees, the heart of a maritime empire, a republic for a thousand years, Venice has always been distinct from the rest of Italy - and from anywhere else. Its unique light and hundreds of canals, palaces and churches from mosaic encrusted Byzantine to harmonious Palladian - have attracted visitors, painters and writers as diverse as Turner, Proust and Pound. Historically celebrated for its wealth and independence of mind, the city has also become a byword for beauty and decadence. martin Garrett explores the extraordinary history and architecture of Venice and the islands of the lagoon. Looking at the legacy of the city's Jewish, Greek, Slav and Armenian minorities, he recalls the exploits of such legendary figures as Casanova and Byron. He also examines Venice's rich traditions in opera, drama and painting, reflecting the city's historical role as a great cultural magnet.
City of Pomp and Ritual: the Grand Canal, palazzi, royal receptions; life on the water, gondolas and bridges; pageantry and pleasure The City of Drama: commedia dell'arte, opera, carnival; from Monteverdi to Dario Fo; Death in Venice and the dream of decadence The City of Literature and Art: the inspiration for Henry James, Thomas mann and John Ruskin; the imaginary home of Shylock and Volpone; futiurism, fascism and Marinetti
Martin Garrett is the author of literary companions to Italy and Greece, and has written or edited a number of works on Renaissance and nineteenth-century writers, including Sidney, Byron and the Brownings.