BBC History of Venice

“Francesco’s Venice” was a 4-part BBC history of Venice TV-series, originally broadcast in 2004, that has also been released on DVD (in 2006).

The four part series, first broadcast on British BBC2 in 2004, follows Journalist Francesco da Mosto on his journey to Venice’s past, starting with the city’s founding (5th century AD), and concluding in the modern era.

Each of the episodes explores a certain aspect of Venetian history, with (historian and architect) da Mosto adding stories from his own Venetian family history.

The four parts of the series were…

  1. Blood“: da Mosta family history, Doge of Venice, origins of Venice St. Mark, St. Mark’s Square
  2. Beauty“: Andrea Palladio, Marco Polo, Rialto Bridge, The Venetian Empire
  3. Sex“: Antonio Vivaldi, Black Death, Giacomo Casanova, Napoleon’s Invasion
  4. Death“: Byron, Venetian Conservationist Movement, tourism, Venice’s future

The series recreates historical events and highlights from Venice’s past using CGI (computer generated images), providing insights into…

  • the sacking of Constantinople (in which Venice had a hand) and
  • the Venice of Casanova,
  • Napoleon’s invasion, and
  • Lord Byron’s Venice.

Within the series, you’ll get an overview of many of the city’s main historical figures, from artists to architects to musicians, and how they made the Venice it is today.

The stories added by Da Mosto are recounts from his Venetian family history, with over a thousand years of history in the city.

All in all, the series is 235 minutes in length, or just under four hours. Based on the BBC series, Da Mosto also published a book (with the same title) in 2004.