Before my husband was my husband, he worked in Italy for a year. Following the European tradition, I took a three week vacation and we traveled throughout the country. Our stop in Venice was both comical and enchanting. After the water taxi dropped us off, we spent a good hour rolling our luggage around trying to find our hotel in the confusing streets. (The next day, we saw another couple doing the same thing.) But I grew to love the canals, bridges and decaying buildings. Venice has an ancient charm that I hadn’t experienced anywhere else, and I decided it was one of the most romantic spots on earth.
When I write a story, I start with the setting, research the history of the place, and then build the plots and characters from there. My current work in progress is set in Venice in 1753 during the Carnival season. At this time, the Venetian republic was small enough that everyone knew everyone else’s business, and there was a strict pecking order in the social classes. From October to Lent, everyone wore masks all of the time (not just at balls), which led to some wild behavior. With identities hidden, everyone was equal and could act better or worse than usual. The government and the Catholic Church frowned upon Carnival, but the people loved it. Also at this time, the Venetian republic’s power was dying and tourism was becoming an important part of the economy. Venice was a popular spot on the Grand Tour where men traveled Europe having illicit fun before they settled down to married life. (They were supposed to be studying art, but spent more time in the gambling houses.)
In the coming weeks before the release of my latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, I will share more historical facts on Venice. I hope you enjoy it!