The Most Serene Republic of Venice was the most extraordinary and the longest surviving of the European city states. Having emerged in the early Middle Ages on the margins of an Adriatic lagoon, her glory represents man's collective genius for building triumphant order out of what was once a marshy, reed-choked wilderness. Fortuitously positioned, she stood at the crossroads of the trade routes to the East; her ascendancy inextricably linked to her supremacy as a maritime power. The centre of an extensive maritime and Terraferma empire, she imported Oriental and then classical artistic influences. These combined with the city's difficult topography, changing light, reflective waters and peculiar government to create a metropolis that was unique in both its architecture and urban form.
This book charts the metamorphosis of Venice from its meagre origins, as a number of small scattered settlements or hamlets, into one of the wealthiest capitals in the world. By focusing on particular nuclei of the City, all its contrasts are brought into focus: from the political and religions heart of San Marco to the bustling mercantile centre of the Rialto and the jewish Ghetto, with its social limitations and distinct cultural life. Descriptions of individual buildings are equally far-reaching, including fishermen's cottages and exuberant palazzi, shimmering on the Grand Canal. Churches range from simple early Christian basilicas to Andrea Palladio's masterpieces and the white marble Baroque triumph of Baldassare Longhena's Santa Maria della Salute.
The visual wealth of Venice is reflected in the extensive illustrations of this book, in which colour photographs are combined with plans and paintings. Contemporary plans provide a unique insight into the city's historical evolution, while paintings by the Venetian masters provide lyricism and vital detail.
As the first truly comprehensive history of Venetian architecture, Uenice: The City and its Architecture advances on all previous accounts of the subject in its depth and scope. By abandoning the chronological approach of earlier histories, it encompasses the diverse and manifold influences that have affected the city's development.