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A Truly Remarkable Landmark Series,
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This review is from: Francesco's Venice : Complete BBC Series [DVD] (DVD)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.