From Publishers Weekly
Shakespeare may not have known it, but Othello, the "Moor of Venice," may have been a dark-skinned Sicilian named Francesco da Sessa nicknamed "il capitano Moro" (the Moorish captain). This is just one of the old tales and legends that da Mosto, a historian and lifelong resident of Venice, intertwines with historical facts in this beautifully illustrated volume. Historical details abound: here are listed, for example, the exact measurements of a Venice gondola, still built to dynastically determined precision. Da Mosto, who hosted the BBC program on which the book is based and is descended from a patrician Venetian family, is the reader's tour guide, highlighting Venice's rich aesthetic, from its origins as a fishing and farming community to its present-day incarnation as a cultural center and tourist mecca. Glorious photos, including those of St. Mark's Cathedral and the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, complement the engaging writing that includes diary entries and letters from da Mosto's family. But it's the fascinating stories of famous courtesans and Renaissance painters who rebelled against the Church that help da Mosto draw the complete picture of the extraordinary city he calls home.
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"An enchanting, immensely readable, superbly illustrated introduction to the history and legends of Venice by a consummate insider." -- John Berendt, author of The City of Falling Angels "Francesco's Venice is a total delight... it's overflowing with fine photos, but it's also a lively, opinionated and thorough history of La Serenissima." Independent on Sunday "A natural presenter: unselfconscious, restlessly interested, vibrant, good-looking and steeped in the city." Observer "Francesco da Mosto is the BBC's latest engaging, enthusiastic TV historian...He has charm to burn and is an absorbing guide." The Daily Telegraph "sumptuous series" The Sunday Times
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