Venice, 1310/1797

A lesson in historical geography yesterday: 700 years ago, the city that is my spiritual home was in ruins – bankrupt, ostracised from Christian Europe, its palazzi rotting and falling into stinking canals, conspirators plotting its overthrow. Already 800 years old, it was clearly on the way out.

Its greatest glory was still to come. The Renaissance was just around the corner.

This is not 1797 with Napoleon at the gates; this is 1310 with Baiamonte Tiepolo exiled.

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