"This is a savory, tantalizing, but not-so-serene history of La Serenissima -- a tale of invasion, plunder, and ultimate elevation to one of the leading merchant cities in Europe. ...Madden makes use of thousands of Venetians' personal documents from the Middle Ages to present an authoritative history."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Madden paints a vivid portrait of 'a city without land, an empire without borders.' His engaging work enters a sparse historiography... and separates itself by offering a readable overview backed by solid research. Readers will come away from Madden's Venice with a newfound respect for one of the great jewels of Western civilization.
-- Booklist (Starred Review)
"Plenty of books focus on Venice the romantic ruin. This one offers a welcome reminder of its historic role over a millennium in the development of a modern economic system and the maintenance of the global balance of power."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Madden presents a popular history as engaging as it is solid. In graceful, sometimes elegant prose, he details the long life of one of Europe's most intriguing cities... It is as enjoyable as it is astute."
-- Library Journal
"As Thomas F. Madden relates in his excellent new book, the city was once far more than just a romantic tourist destination. ... Madden's book is a lively and lucid survey of Venice's colorful history."
-- The Seattle Times
“Madden proves the perfect guide to the magical city of Venice. His history is not only authoritative and encyclopedic, encompassing everything from the plundering of Attila the Hun to Katharine Hepburn’s tribulations while filming Summertime, it is also unfailingly readable and amusing—a must-read for Europhiles, armchair travelers, and history buffs.” —Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Leonardo and the Last Supper
“Thomas Madden’s portrait of Venice glows like one of the city’s own rich and colorful artworks—a tapestry woven from a thousand tales, with unforgettable characters, daring exploits, and inspiring triumphs against overwhelming odds.” —John R. Hale, author of Lords of the Sea
“Madden is that rare talent—a serious scholar who tells a gripping story. He breathes life into Venetian history in all its subtle complexity, rescuing the Venetians from the common stereotype of one-dimensional merchants. This book is a fantastic read.” —Lars Brownworth, author of Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Rescued Western Civilization