172 of 173 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2007
These DVDs are a must for anyone plannng to visit Venice. They would form a basis of interest and direction for anyone's first visit. There is a historical thread from beginning to end starting with the birth of Venice and finishing with a dicussion on how Venice will fair in the future. The main historical figures are mentioned, the artists, architectects, sculptures, musicians etc and how they fitted into the fabric of Venice. This is not a stuffy historical guide, instead Da Mosto has laced the narrative with anecdotes and interesting stories, with gossip and scandal. His love for his home and birth place is infectious.
The DVDs are well shot and Da Mosto's story is well illustrated.
It is difficult to imagine how these 4 programmes could have been improved because although details are occasionally a little scant I am sure that it was never the intention to make this the definitive guide to Venice.
Francesco's Venice is a general interest guide full of facts spontaneity and humour and certainly gives anyone with the slightest interest in Venice a good idea of what the place is all about.
65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2007
If you are going to visit Venice, spending 4 hours watching this DVD will save you a lot of time (and money) since he puts the city in context and shows some of the highlights to head for. He is a master storyteller, and delights in telling you how Venetians have struggled from one disaster to another, making some magnificent buildings in the process.
The Venice on the DVD is without the hordes of tourists, overpriced tourist restaurants, and cheesy tourist shops which cram into Venice today - you will see that for yourself when you get there.
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
If you are planning to visit Venice I recommend you invest in to this DVD and watch it before you go. This is more a historical guide than a review of the most important land marks.
As it happens Francesco ( an arcitec himself ) was born in venice and knows every corner and every dark secret of the city.
The production values are excellent and Francesco interacts with the past in a very clever way. The actors who play the main characters help to bring the history alive.
The cultural heritage is fascinating but the creation and expansion of the republic even more.
Apart from the history of his own family most the DVD refers to the most important highlights of the city and all you will need is a map to find them. There is far more information in this format than you can get in a guide book.
The DVD is made by the BBC and targeted to the British public.
Can he do Rome or Florence next ?
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2008
The best reviews are always those whose author is well versed in the subject ~ seemingly an obvious point but something that is all too often ignored ~ and if the reviewer also loves his or her subject matter with a passion, so much the better.
It would be hard to find a more poetic, seductive reviewer than this super sexy man, who is clearly first a Venetian and second an Italian! Francesco draws the viewer in like an angler teasing a fish until you are well and truly hooked!
I had visited Venice briefly, many years ago but at the wrong time of year ~ high summer (definitely not recommended) without undertaking any pre-visit research (definitely another big mistake ~ it is preferable to research any country but essential in order to really 'get' Venice) and for far too short a time to really form an intelligent opinion on this unique city.
This year, I had the opportunity to return with a group of girlfriends to watch our daughters' choir perform over 4 days. Apart from the concerts/masses in which they were performing, our time was our own. Despite it being mid-May, the weather was atrocious ~ horizontal rain on one day, with only one hot sunny day which, fortunately, was the day we visited the Island of Murano.
Despite all this, having watched Francesco's Venice, I felt, so prepared, so well versed in the city's foundations, history and character, that the weather became (almost!) unimportant.
I would not hesitate to recommend, no insist, as I did with my accompanying girlfriends, that this DVD is a pre-requisite for any visitor to this amazing city. It would certainly be no penance for any woman to watch Francesco da Mosto for 4 hours but I would defy anyone, male or female, young or old, not to be drawn in by his amazing story-telling ability.
Here is Venice during its times of triumph and disaster, health and sickness, all enthralling and captivating to the viewer with Francesco as an attentive and informative guide. Because of his transparent love for his home city, the viewer too, gets drawn into this love affair that is still ongoing.
The mixture of fact and inserts of historical drama, add to the intrigue and, in the best way possible, we begin to understand Francesco's great love of his place of birth.
Only one word of warning, it is rated a 15 for a reason! Pre-vet before showing to any young children as it is pretty sexually explicit in parts!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2007
A stunning introduction to this marvelous city or an amazing wealth of knowledge for regular visitors, this four part series presented by a knowledgeable Venitian is wonderfully shot and scored. It perfectly gives a snapshot of the history of Venice and the Lagoon around it, some might balk at the final episode which points a finger at the tourists that have turned the city into a giant museum, but this is the quandary the city finds itself in as it tries to survive with no way of growth or any real industry. Well worth investing in.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2007
This was the perfect way to get ready for 3 nights in Venice. Well presented and with a good pace to it, the 4 hours flew by and we came out of this much the wiser about our short break destination. As a result, we got much, much more out of our holiday.
In these enlightened days of non-smoking the only thing that distracts is the presenter's penchant for holding a cigarette for much of the programme and even - horror of horrors - taking the occasional drag on it. When was the last time any of us saw a presenter with the chutzpah to smoke on screen?
160 of 174 people found the following review helpful
If you have visited or are thinking of visiting this beautifull city then you must watch this spellbinding series narrated by that soft talking Venitian Francesco Da Mosto.
Each episode cronicles the development of the city from its earliest days to the city we see today.Everything is explained in intricate detail and highlited by movie like extracts to bring everthing to life.I just cannot remember seeing a series as comprehensive and well researched as this one.
If you pick up a travellers guide to Venice it will obviously miss out something of importance this series misses nothing,what you need to know about the cities history is given,it is so comprehensive you could write your own book from it.It is so good that a copy is on its way to friends in Italy who live only thirty minutes away by train from Venice.
Remember how you marvelled at David Attenboroughs incredible Life on Earth when it was first televised,your reaction will be just as great to watching this four part chronicle on Venice.
You obviously watched his very entertaining series shown recently titled Italy Top to Toe.If you think that was good his Venice is on another level alltogether.
What makes this series is that every part of Venice dates from a period in history when history was being made.The account of when Marco Polo returned home after over twenty years travelling the globe,his relatives didnot recognise him or believe his amazing stories,yet the very building he lived in still stands and has not changed in over five hundred years.
People visiting this gorgeous city willnot see museums full of Renaissance art,somthing you expect in Italys magnificent tourist hotspots.The reason behind this is that in the early part of the 19century Napoleon took the city under siege and committed an unprecedented act of vandalism vertually stripping the entire city of its magnificent art treasures,so much so that a large majority of Paris magnificent museum The Louvre is composed of Venitian art stolen by Napoleon.Attemps have been made to have many of the treasures returned to Venice but to no avail.
Many of the great museums are very reluctant to release works of art known to have been plundered centuries ago.The Elgin Marbles are a prime example of Britains British Museums refusal to return priceless artifacts illegally removed by imperialists in our distant past.
Another most impressive aspect of De Mostos tour of his home city is the regular clean up of the magnificent palaces and lesser buildings.Remarkably the canals are dammed up on a regular basis to allow the foundations of priceless buildings to be exposed thus allowing workmen to carry out vital repairs.The silting of the waterways is becoming a huge problem resulting in erosion at a much higher rate than during any period in the cities extensive history.
The love of his hometown has remarkably seen the closure of the massive industrial works on the outskirts of Venice.The industrial complex is barely thirty years old but because of its detrimental effect on the buildings a little way down the waterway it has been shut down completely.
This is the modern age trying to live alongside the medieval age.Usually progress dominates but Venice is unique and the Venitians want to keep it that way.
If Venice is renouned for its Renaissance splendor then the musicians associated with its past are equally well known.
The Accademy for girls where Antonio Vivaldi taught has little changed since his day.It was here that he drew inspiration for his timeless "Gloria" and no doubt put quill to paper in composing "Le Quattro Staggione" his stupendous Four Seasons.
Whilst Vivaldi taught at the Accademy another famous Venitian for totally differing reasons was having an affair with a sister from the Convent on one of the neighbouring islands.Decosomo Casanova every womans dream eventually died of sythullus like many Venitians of his time.The city was renouned for its immoral ways in the 18century.
On my visit to Venice in 2005 i stood on the very steps that he stood on but he was being incacerated in the Doge Palace which also saw service as a prison.Remarkably Cassanova escaped from his cell and continued his life of lust until his painfull death.
De Mostos analysis of Venice from its birth to the present must rank as one of the most impressive historical docummentries to have been aired on the BBC for some time.
Here is a man whose family can be traced back to over six centuries of Venitian history.His family is at present the oldest still residing in Venice,if he doesnot know the cities history then nobody does.
If you have an interest in Renaissance art or Italy in general look nowhere else THIS IS THE REFERENCE GUIDE TO A BEAUTIFULL CITY BUILT ON WATER- A GUIDE LIKE NO OTHER AND WRITTEN AND NARRATED BY FRANCESCO DA MOSTO A TRUE VENITIAN.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2008
This series is far more than a tourist trap - particularly as guide Francesco da Mosto would rather there were less visitors to his city (to buy less fake glass/carnival masks/plastic gondolas/jester hats)! Francesco is charming, witty and wonderfully insouciant as he presents an informative yet dramatic history of Venice, La Serenissima. He acknowledges its past arrogance and mistakes, whilst laughing at some of the more bizarre traditions (even he isn't sure about the election of the doges), but all the while maintains an awed respect for the stunning architecture and art, engineering and endurance of his home; Francesco is proud to be Venetian, and I only wish I could share the honour.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2008
This dvd is absolutely fantastic,I have been to Venice on several occasions and love the place,this dvd is very accurate and explains history of Venice very well,anyone wanting to go to Venice would be better purchasing this dvd as it will give information what Venice is all about.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2011
What a charming way to see Venice, with Francesco Da Mosto (thank you BBC), who understandably is proud of and loves his country. I preferred the first two of the four discs because they tell of pre-18th century Republic of Venice and its Doges. As discs three and four bring us up to date I lost interest a little, but never with Francesco and not with the visual beauty of Venice itself. Throughout we are reminded of famous Venetians such as Canaletto, Vivaldi and Canova, and the infamous Casanova. Although not as polished and succinct as some series, this is an interesting and watchable series made more so by its unique Venetian presenter.