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The Grand Canal.pdf

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Read online or download a free book: The Grand Canal

Pages: 319

Language: English

Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications: Reprint edition (Aug. 1997)

By: Umberto Franzoi (Author)

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The very name Grand Canal seems to conjure images of urban culture lived at the height of exotic luxury and ease, along a broad waterway gracefully meandering through the heart of ancient Venice, its glittering course lined on either side with balconied palaces and afloat with gondolas bearing romantic couples in thrall to the serenade of barcaroling tenors. And however overdrawn this image may be, Venice could indeed afford to make much of its principal thoroughfare, for the great channel always served primarily as a safe haven where trade and commerce could flourish unhindered by the disturbances that racked southern Europe from the late years of the Roman Empire right into our time. Fleeing barbarian invasion, the first Venetians proved clever from the start, not only settlign on clustered islets at the center of a limpidly beautiful lagoon, but also redirecting the flow of a a major river so that its bed leading through the complex of water and land could become the Grand Canal, a scene fully committed to the making and spending of money on a scale as lavish as any known on earth, for almost a thousand years until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. Both activities tended to be practiced in the same edifices, huge warehouse/factory/palaces proudly proclaiming their owners' love of wealth, status, power, and the means of acquiring them, mainly by exploiting the position of La Serenissima as Europe's gateway to the riches of the near and Far East. Thanks to their forthright way of dealing with both nature and human nature, Venetians achieved one of the most stable societies, a fact witnessed by the antiquity of many places still splendidly in palce along the Grand Canal,some of them dating from the Byzantine era, while the most opulent of all rose in the early 18th-century. This was when a slowly decaying Venice glowed with overripe, carnival brilliance, a twilight era fed by the eternal genius of Vivaldi, Goldoni, and Tieplo, Canaletto, Guardi, and Longhi, Massari and Casanova......

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