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A Brief History of Venice Paperback – July 28, 2009
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A Brief History of Venice focuses on the city from an observers point of view. The reader is taken through the significant events that shaped the city throughout its 1,500 years. From this perspective, brevity does not result in a lack of thoroughness. Horodowich knows the history of Venice and presents it in a well organized and thoughtful manner.
As for the omissions that brevity demands, I would characterize them as being of two types. First, the personal perspectives of the inhabitants during the various historical periods are missing. The lives of the common, wealthy, and noble Venetians remain mostly in the imagination of the reader. Second, the details of the significant events are missing. For instance, there were numerous battles that took place over the course of Venetian history but the details of these events, the suffering, strategies, and near-failures, are mostly left out of the discussion.
But again, if travel is the reason for reading this book, there is an archaeological perspective that I particularly enjoyed. Horodowich frequently closes her chapters by identifying elements of the present-day city that give testimony to the historical events she describes. Be they an obscure bas-relief of a winged lion that that has been carved into the header of a doorway and then seemingly removed by a chisel; or more common items visible throughout the city, Horodowich makes sure that a future walk through the city of Venice will be a historical experience.
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Wish all country biographies were written as well. It's a 10 star book