If you are thinking about visiting Venice, or just curious, I highly recommend watching the BBC’s four-part documentary Francesco’s Venice. The series, presented by Venetian-born Francesco da Mosto, provides a fascinating, historical overview of Venice. The da Mosto family ties to Venice go back to the 5th century, when they were wine-makers. Francesco da Mosto, an architect, historian, author, sailor and film-maker, is passionate about his home city. He paints an enthralling portrait of it as only an insider can.
The segments, titled “Blood,” “Beauty,” “Sex,” and “Death,” chronologically cover the key events, players, architecture and artworks that shaped Venice. In “Blood” we learn of Venice’s beginnings. In “Death” we are told about the effects of today’s tourism industry on the city.
Da Mosto also brings in personal references. At one point, he takes us inside Cà’ da Mosto, a palazzo dating from the 13th century. It was in his family for several hundred years and the birthplace of Alvise Cadamosto, a merchant explorer. In 1456, Cadamosto was one of the first Europeans to land on what are known today as the Cape Verde Islands.
Originally broadcast by the BBC in 2004, the series is currently available on DVD. Riveted by the documentary’s imagery and dialogue, I watched the first three segments back-to-back late one evening, finishing up with the 4th the next morning.
Should you be thinking of setting down roots in Venice, perhaps a home such as Palazzo Cà’ da Mosto could be yours. While it’s in need of extensive restoration, consider it the price for the beautiful views you could wake up to each day.