Italian Venice: A History
R. J. B. Bosworth
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Bosworth interrogates not just Venice’s history but its meanings, and how the city’s past has been co-opted to suit present and sometimes ulterior aims. Venice, he shows, is a city where its histories as well as its waters ripple on the surface.
regular passage into the city of political, social and economic influences from across the globe. In the years after 1866, Venetians learned to live under the rule of nineteenth-century liberalism, with its worthy emphasis on the nation, ‘improvement’ and rationality (and anti-clericalism), even if quite a few still clung to a surviving piety, a staunch preference for Church over state, an unabated patriarchism, and other ideas and practices with an early modern cast. During these decades, a
well as the national and local ones. In quite a few ways, Venice was already set on a course that would lead it to be enshrined as ‘historic centre’ of the world. Certainly foreigners were not behindhand in expressing the view that they had as much right as those who lived in Venice to define what the city meant. The best farewell to Risorgimento Venice and its optimism can be found in the pages of a book published in 1898 by a local printer and entitled Venezia nel 1930 (Venice in 1930). Its
unapologetically backed Venetian participation in a national general strike on 18–19 September 1904 (according to The Times, it ‘completely paralysed life’ in the city; ‘even the gondoliers, who reap such a rich harvest from strangers at this season, refuse to work').88 In 1911–12 Musatti assumed a high profile in his party's opposition to what he called the ‘mad’ colonial invasion of Libya, being mocked in the patriotic press as ‘Elia Bey’ (a traitorous friend of Turks and Arabs).89 To prove
socialism. In 1913 he took a socialist ticket and, with encouragement from Serrati, engaged in propagandising the Marxist cause. In his memoirs, Li Causi remembered heated debates between socialist factions arrayed in two rival co-operatives, one favouring radical action, the other accommodation with the bosses. At the Camera del Lavoro, Sunday morning meetings were always crowded and discussion grew lively, even if Li Causi was sometimes put at a loss by the ‘incomprehensible’ Venetian dialect.
in 1935–6, Count Andrea Marcello (another who could claim dogal background and the son of a senator) in 1937–40,8 Ingegniere Giovanni Cicogna in 1941–6, and, with no hint of a break in continuity with the Fascist years, Count Giuliano Foscari (dogal again) in 1947–50.9 It is true that the Fascist regime placed considerable emphasis on modern sport, with the implication that it was spartan training for war. Mussolini liked being photographed swimming, skiing, fencing, playing tennis, horse riding