Venice, 1697-1797: A City, a Republic, an Empire

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Steeped in a history of great loves, political intrigues, and fervent religiosity, Venice is one of the most romantic and magnetic cities of the world. This splendidly and profusely illustrated volume tells the story of Venice through its art-during its period of grandeur as an independent city- state from the eighth to the eighteenth centuries.

Alvise Zorzi reveals the growth of Venice from a small fishing village to a bustling metropolis whose cultural, political, and economic dominance extended over the entire Mediterranean world.

In selecting the more than 340 full-color illustrations, Zorzi has brought together a sumptuous collection of paintings and drawings, photographs and engravings. In addition, specially created diagrams explain the distinctive techniques and styles of Venetian architecture, shipbuilding, and glass-blowing. A series of maps show the expansion of the city and its empire over the course of a thousand years, while charts describe the growth of Venetian commerce and manufacturing. These meticulous reproductions of the city's art bear witness to its cultural greatness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Alvise Zorzi tells the story of îthe Queen of the Adriatic" through its art" — ForeWord Reviews
ForeWord Reviews
“Alvise Zorzi tells the story of the Queen of the Adriatic through its art”
Library Journal
Italian author and journalist Zorzi, a native of Venice, has published a number of books on the city (e.g., Venetian Palaces; Venice: A Journey of Dreams). As the title of his most recent work suggests, it traces the history of Venice from its earliest settlements to 1797, revealing the city's transformation from a small fishing village to a cultural and political metropolis. Using some 340 full-color illustrations, which include present-day photographs of the city and paintings from different eras, Zorzi generally follows a chronological development of the city but also groups his discussions by subject (e.g., architecture, shipbuilding, commerce and industry, wars, cooking). Zorzi also tackles some of the city's current problems of pollution, loss of manufacturing, and absentee landlords. Maps and charts scattered throughout are especially useful in tracing the city's thousand-year expansion. Although interesting, this book offers a somewhat superficial overview of Venice's history as more emphasis is placed on its coffee-table appeal (i.e., its illustrations) than the solidity of the text. Nevertheless, the book is so stunning that it can be recommended for all libraries. George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The introduction recounts the reputation of the canaled cosmopolis through history: Venice as city of lovers and libertines (the fluid city gave birth to Cassanova), the best city in which to hide, a city of high culture, and a 16th-century haven for heretics and free thinkers. Specific history/legend begins with early settlement of the area as a result of the invasion of Attila, forcing Romans to find refuge among small fishing islands and narrow canals (Zorzi believes it wasn't just Attila, but a series of sieges and resulting settlements). The book is heavy with paintings and photos, and appendices include a very useful chronology, a list of Venice doges, and a glossary of names. Written to appeal to an educated but popular readership. Zorzi is chairman of the Committee for the Publication of Source Material on the History of Venice. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585671328
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.56 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alvise Zorzi was born in Venice of an old noble family. He is the chairman of the Committee for the Publication of Source Material on the History of Venice. A well-known author, journalist and television personality, he divides his time between Venice and Rome. He has published many books on his native city, on subjects ranging from Marco Polo to San Marco to the Grand Canal.
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Table of Contents

Venice: Myths and Counter Myths 7
"Venetiae Caput Mundi" 10
From the Early Settlements to the "Serenissima" 14
Venice: Incomparable, Unconquerable 21
The Keys to Power 24
Asserting Her Absolute Supremacy: Venice's Marriage Ceremony with the Sea 28
The Most Serene Republic 32
"Mainland Senate" and "Maritime Senate" 35
L'Arsenale: The Heart of the Maritime Republic 38
Il Palazzo Ducale: The Center of Power 46
"The Council of Forty" and "The Council of Ten" 48
The Patricians: Born to Rule 52
Protecting the Lagoon: A Millennium of Preventive Measures 58
"El paron de la Republica" 61
"Cacciati i papalisti" 66
Confraternities and Guilds 68
Villas of the Veneto: A Tour of Terra Firma 72
Feasts and Festivals 76
The Art of Venetian Cooking 80
A System of Checks and Balances 82
A City Unlike Any Other 84
The Construction Trade and the Venetian Lagoon 90
The Venetian Palace: Mixing Business with Pleasure 94
"The Grand Tour" 98
Venetian Civilization 100
The Venetian Empire 102
Venice and Byzantium 106
The Benefits of a Good Bargain 108
Dividing the Spoils 113
Maritime and Mainland Territories 117
The Love of Her Subjects 130
The Colonies 133
A Brief Tour of the Eastern Territories 134
A Centralized System 141
"Equal Justice for One and All" 147
The Territories of St. Mark 152
Crete and Cyprus 156
The Ionian Islands 163
Dalmatia 167
From the Quieto to the Adda 175
St. Mark on the Mainland 180
Commerce and Industry 188
The Trade Routes 192
The Power of Money 196
Gold and Spices 200
Piracy and Decadence 204
700 Years of Glass-making on Murano 206
The Textile Industry: Wool and Silk 212
Wars, Armies, Victories and Defeats 218
Venice and the Turks 223
The Venetian Armada 226
Mastering the Sea: The Longships 230
The Broad Ships 234
Fortresses and Generals 236
Neutrality and the End 237
Fortifications on Terra Firma 238
Eleven Centuries of Independence 244
Major Exhibitions 248
Protecting the Natural Environment 254
Preserving the City and the Lagoon 258
Chronology, Doges, Patrician Families, "Regiments" and Place Names 261
Chronology 262
The Doges of Venice 276
The Venetian Patriciate as of the Year 1999 278
Venetian "Regiments" at the Fall of the Republic (1797) 282
A Short Glossary of Place Names 284
Bibliography 293
Index 294
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