Italian Venice: A History, by RJB Bosworth
Italian Venice: A History
Yale University Press
More than a century ago, Henry James said there was “nothing left to discover or describe” about Venice, but fortunately Bosworth did not let this discourage him. Because of the pervasive influence of Ruskin and others, he argues, many accounts of Venice stop at 1866 (when it joined the new Italian state) or 1797 (the end of the Venetian Republic) and dismiss what came after, a neglect he determines to make good. He uses Venice’s more modern (past 150 years) “memory sites” to launch each chapter, thus skilfully engaging the reader’s interest because the city’s physical spaces reveal much about its history. From unification to the first World War, improvements in drainage, public transport and industrialisation occurred, and the Belle Époque saw the beginnings of large-scale tourism.