Francesco's Venice: The Dramatic History of the World's Most Beautiful City
Venice's rich history is explored by a resident historian, and descendent from a patrician Venetian family in this beautifully illustrated study. Readers are guided from 5th-century Venice to present day, uncovering historical facts and legends and catching glimpses into the lives of its people, many of which are the author's own colorful ancestors.
An Insider's Venice
By Grady Harp - January 15, 2006
BBC continues to produce superb documentaries and gratefully shares the content with the reading public by publishing the series in book format. Anyone who was fortunate enough to catch the program 'Francesco's Venice' will surely want to add this informative, beautifully illustrated, intensely interesting volume of conversations with Francesco da Mosto who, with the invaluable aid of photographer John Parker, visits not only the famous landmarks of this great floating world, but also shares tidbits of information that have not been available to readers before with the insight of a native son who still dwells there.
da Mosto intertwines Venice's history with anecdotes and 'secrets' that illuminate the mysteries that surround this most beautiful of all cities. His ability to relate not only the socioeconomic, military, religious, and patrician history, but to make each of his myriad topics rich in elegant language and a quiet humor results in a history book that reads like... read more
The Most Serene....
By JAD - December 16, 2006
I did not get a chance to see the BBC TV series for which this book is the companion piece, but I wish I had, since it is a coffee table book filled with lovely and often breathtaking photographs and a text that is compelling for two reasons that make it a standout.
The first is that it is a fascinating history of the city of Venice from the point of view of a native-not simply a native but one whose family has been part of Venice for much of its existence. This personal engagement with the ancient stones of Venice and its people means that de Mosto can flesh out the big picture with intimate anecdotes that make the dates and people of Venice's past come to life. We can readily identify with a photo of a palazzo on it own merits, but how much more so when we learn that it is where our travel guide himself lives. The same is true of the familiar monuments of the city, when we hear of a da Mosto past connection with them. As the author says in the introduction, "One of my... read more
The best introduction to the history of Venice
By Nicholas Casley - January 13, 2008
This is the accompanying book to the TV series, but so much more too!
Firstly, the book is replete with stunning photography by John Parker. These in themselves are enough to merit applause, but Francesco's text is a good read and full of personal insight. He clearly is no lightweight historian, but has delved deeply into his own and his city's past.
The book is in five chapters (one more than the TV series) with titles that explain much of the subject they contain: 1. "Water - From the Waters to the City"; 2. "Earth - The Boundaries of Land Enlarge"; 3. "Air - La Serenissima Evaporates"; 4. "Fire - Venice Burns Its Past"; and 5. "Ether - Life under Uncertainty".
There is a healthy dose of scepticism of traditions in relation to the early history of the city adopted by the author, and his own tentative assertions ring true. He is good on this period, whereas other histories skip over it lightly. He focuses on the physical origins of the city and its... read more