Author’s note: Welcome, and thank you for your interest in my web site. Here you can find many things related to my trilogy, ‘Venice, East and West.’ My trilogy comprises the books ‘Venetian Born,’ “Venetian Crucible,’ and ‘Land of Tribute.’
‘Venetian Born’ begins in 1572 on the Venetian Lido and ends in the city of Venice in 1623. Essentially, it is a story about friendship, and particularly the friendship of Piero Casaer Alberti and Giulio Caesar Alberti; two boys from different Alberti families, each with very different backgrounds. Having been raised on an idyllic cove off the land where he and his father raise market vegetables sold on the Venetian Rialto, Piero is not too happy about his parents recent move to into town. Living at the blustery tavern-like osteria of his grandfather does not seem like much of a bargain to either a country boy or to his dog.
But the Lido port town of Malamocco seems even stranger to Giulio, who has been taken there from his parents’ summer villa for his health–and only knows that and his palace-centered life in Venezia. But after a summer there he returns to the city not only cured but inspired by a friendship which is destined to prevail and thrive over the course of this first book and my next one, too. In both books the action swings back and forth from the boisterous Malamocco full of sea captains, mercenaries and duels to the city full of palace intrigue and colorful culture.
‘Venetian Crucible’ follows our two friends’ Bildungsroman from the day in 1629 that Giulio discovers his best friend has become a boxer during a lull in their frienship. It is through Piero and a mutual friend both had made in Malamocco, Father Leo, that Giulio is exposed to the mafia-like underbelly of his city beyond his wildest imagination. When war with Hapsburg Spain and Austria comes, both Piero and Giulio answer the call; Giulio journeying west to the republic’s frontier near Mantova as an adjunct cryptologist, Piero sailing east as a supercargo to a mutual friend of theirs, Ji, who is returning home to Constantinople.
Both young men arriving back at about the same time a plague sweeps over Venice and its environs, the two friends and Father Leo each take up their own crucibles: Piero is jailed for an insubordination on the ship and ends up fleeing the law. Giulio serves his family doctor and friend and so is thrown into the city’s effort to stem the plague–all the while wondering what has happened to his betrothed Evangelina, who has disappeared. While Father Leo battles the apostasy of the gypsies and ‘reverendissimo’ while serving his destitute parish, Piero’s father, Fiamo, is declared missing after delivering supplies up the Po to the besieged Mantova. It is the winter of 1631 when the two friends part to fulfill their destinies; Piero sailing away to Holland and America, Giulio sailing east to ultimately join the Venetian embassy in Constantinople.
In ‘Land of Tribute,’ Piero (now called Piet or Pieter, by the Dutch) endures an eleven-month odyssey to reach America, where he builds his first house on Manhattan with the timber he has felled and cut up the Hudson. Despairing for the five-year prolongation of his love, Judy Jans Manje’s promised arrival, he is swept off his feet by a beautiful Metoac squaw, Machequa. A bead maker and princess of her Long-Island people, she opens up her world to him–her brother, Nyantich, becoming an arbitrator and mentor to the Mohawks. it is just before they consummate their relationship, however, that Judy Jans and her family arrive from Amsterdam. It is a cruel fate that war breaks out in the middle of everything, much of New Nederland falling prey to the wildenfolk seeking revenge for two night-time massacres perpetrated by the director of the colony.
This story begins in 1634 and ends in 1687, when the youngest of Judy Jan and Pieter’s three sons, William, returns to Venice in time to visit his father’s friend, Giulio. On his deathbed, Giulio bequeaths certain things to William, one which includes a certain osteria once owned by Piero’s grandfather–now an empty house Giulio has bought with his vast accumulation of unspent wealth–to run an olive oil business out of for the making of soap in the New World. it is the least thing Giulio tells William he could do for the many entertaining stories of Giulio’s old friend, Piero, who never did go back to Venice.
So, what happened to Giulio in Constantinople?–you might well ask? Well, stay tuned, for it a work-in-progress, and will be called, appropriately enough, ‘Venetian Embassy.’
In summary, then, my good reader, it is my hope that you will find my blog to be a source of much anecdotal information. Contact me about anything of interest to you about this period of time spanning roughly one hundred years in what is called the New Modern Era. In each blog I have inserted a link to some factoid, and in some blogs an extensive bibliography and glossary of both Venetian and Dutch terminology and customs.