Your palazzo or mine?

Black_lace_barbie2From Loretta:      

In response to readers who encouraged me to discuss the settings and other background material of Your Scandalous Ways, today we're taking a house tour.

“Ah, Venice,” James said as he took in the view–such as it was–in front of and behind him.  The buildings and gondolas were merely darker shapes in the grey haze.  “A fine place, indeed, but for the damp.”

      Baedekers_1913_venice I don’t know about the rest of you but I didn’t, really, know all that much about Venice before I embarked on Your Scandalous WaysCasino Royale inspired my British agent hero.  "Hmm,” I said to myself.  “What would 007 be like in the early 19th century?”  The film inspired my setting, too.  Those climactic scenes in Venice awakened my curiousity.
      I did not realize, for one thing, that Venice was built on a bunch of islands in a marshy lagoon.
      Canaletto_veduta_del_palazzo_ducale Originally, it was where people from the mainland fled when the barbarians attacked in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D.  It was a safe haven because the lagoon was very dangerous and tricky to navigate.  After a while, they quit going back to the mainland and started building.  How they built is the miracle of Venice.

       “All this, on top of water,” Sedgewick said, shaking his head as he looked about him.  “What sort of people is it, I wonder, goes and builds a city on stilts on a swampy lot of islands?”
       “Italians,” said James.  “There’s a reason they once ruled the world, and a reason Venice once ruled the seas.  You must at least give credit for a marvel of engineering.”

       Grand_canal_ch_salutew Here's a view of the Grand Canal and some of the case (houses) or palazzi (palaces). You’ll find “ca” and “palazzo” used interchangeably.  Until the fall of the Republic (i.e., when Venice surrendered to Napoleon in 1797), only the Ducal Palace (that building to the right in the painting above this one) could be a palazzo.  All other houses, no matter how grand, were simply houses, case.  Afterward, the restriction went away.  And so the same house might be a “ca” in one book and a "palazzo" in another.
       Ca_dorow These magnificent structures were indeed built on stilts packed close together.  From my Eyewitness Travel Guide to Venice & the Veneto:  “Pinewood piles were driven…25 feet…into the ground….They rested on the solid caranto (compressed clay) layer at the bottom of the lagoon.”  On top of these were laid layers of brick and stone.  The foundations were of Istrian marble, which resists damp.  This book has some wonderful cutaway illustrations that are well worth a thousand words.  But one need only look at the buildings and consider how much labor was involved–not to mention ingenuity–to appreciate the accomplishment.

Yswfrontsm200dpi     They followed Zeggio up a staircase to the piano nobile, and found themselves in a vast central hall.  This portego, as the Venetians called it, ran from one end of the house to the other.
      It was clearly designed for show.  The line of magnificent chandeliers down the center of the ceiling and rows of immense candelabra standing on tables along the wall–all dripping the famously magnificent glass work of Murano–would, when fully lit, have made a dazzling display of the gilt, the plaster ornamenting the walls, the sculpture, the paintings.

Here for your delectation are lots of pictures of Venetian palazzi.
      Barbarigo_pisani_pal Getting pictures of the exteriors was easy.  Finding interiors was another matter–and for Your Scandalous Ways, it does matter, since many of the scenes are…um..intimate. Happily one of the Wench readers suggested Venetian Palazzi (ISBN 3-8228-7050-1–that's the English edition), which offers the proverbial visual feast. Copyright prevents my sharing those images with you, but there is some material online.
       Here's one of the many internet sites I perused in the course of my research.  This "Ceremonial Stair" in the Ca' Rezzonico is a fine example of the magnificent interiors.  This site provides a floor plan of the Ca’ Rezzonico, too.
       Pal_cavalliwVirtually all Venetian palazzi have the same basic layout.  A great hall runs from the side of the house facing the canal to the side facing land, usually overlooking a courtyard.  The hall on the ground floor is the andron.  The one on the main public floor or piano nobile, is called the portego.  Rooms extend from either side of these central halls.  Some buildings have interior staircases and some have exterior ones.  Sometimes the building was extended to surround the courtyard.  Side rooms open into other side rooms.  But if you keep in mind that big central hall running from the front to the back of the house, and doors leading into rooms on both sides, you’ve got the general picture.
       Byron_at_the_pal_mocenigo This shows the floor plan of the Ca’ Mocenigo, where Lord Byron lived, and the picture is of the poet at his leisure in his humble abode.      
       You can picture my hero James Cordier in a room like this, though he’s more likely to be gazing out of a window at Francesca’s palazzo across the canal than lounging on a sofa.

That brings us to the end of today's tour.  Did you learn stuff?  Was it fun?  Want more?  About places in the book?  About other stuff–gondolas, Byron, characters, writing it, researching it…?  Ask, and some of ye shall receive.

80 thoughts on “Your palazzo or mine?”

  1. Loved the post and cannot wait to read the book. I used to be a Realtor and very much enjoyed touring other people’s palazzi, LOL. I’m the one who checks out the Great Houses of Great Britain books in the library. My bulletin board over my desk has an Irish country house that I moved to my WIP set in Cumbria. Last summer I found a book on period decoration through the ages in a UBS that makes me sneeze but has been invaluable.

    Reply
  2. Loved the post and cannot wait to read the book. I used to be a Realtor and very much enjoyed touring other people’s palazzi, LOL. I’m the one who checks out the Great Houses of Great Britain books in the library. My bulletin board over my desk has an Irish country house that I moved to my WIP set in Cumbria. Last summer I found a book on period decoration through the ages in a UBS that makes me sneeze but has been invaluable.

    Reply
  3. Loved the post and cannot wait to read the book. I used to be a Realtor and very much enjoyed touring other people’s palazzi, LOL. I’m the one who checks out the Great Houses of Great Britain books in the library. My bulletin board over my desk has an Irish country house that I moved to my WIP set in Cumbria. Last summer I found a book on period decoration through the ages in a UBS that makes me sneeze but has been invaluable.

    Reply
  4. Loved the post and cannot wait to read the book. I used to be a Realtor and very much enjoyed touring other people’s palazzi, LOL. I’m the one who checks out the Great Houses of Great Britain books in the library. My bulletin board over my desk has an Irish country house that I moved to my WIP set in Cumbria. Last summer I found a book on period decoration through the ages in a UBS that makes me sneeze but has been invaluable.

    Reply
  5. Loved the post and cannot wait to read the book. I used to be a Realtor and very much enjoyed touring other people’s palazzi, LOL. I’m the one who checks out the Great Houses of Great Britain books in the library. My bulletin board over my desk has an Irish country house that I moved to my WIP set in Cumbria. Last summer I found a book on period decoration through the ages in a UBS that makes me sneeze but has been invaluable.

    Reply
  6. What we should all be asking is for Avon to release “Your Scandalous Ways” NOW, instead of making the world wait another month. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of reading it already, and believe me, the palazzi are only the beginning….
    Brava, Loretta!

    Reply
  7. What we should all be asking is for Avon to release “Your Scandalous Ways” NOW, instead of making the world wait another month. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of reading it already, and believe me, the palazzi are only the beginning….
    Brava, Loretta!

    Reply
  8. What we should all be asking is for Avon to release “Your Scandalous Ways” NOW, instead of making the world wait another month. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of reading it already, and believe me, the palazzi are only the beginning….
    Brava, Loretta!

    Reply
  9. What we should all be asking is for Avon to release “Your Scandalous Ways” NOW, instead of making the world wait another month. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of reading it already, and believe me, the palazzi are only the beginning….
    Brava, Loretta!

    Reply
  10. What we should all be asking is for Avon to release “Your Scandalous Ways” NOW, instead of making the world wait another month. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of reading it already, and believe me, the palazzi are only the beginning….
    Brava, Loretta!

    Reply
  11. I very much enjoyed the information about Venice. I loved being a tourist in Venice (several times). Even though I learned later that there was no sewer system. Alas. I can’t wait for the new book.

    Reply
  12. I very much enjoyed the information about Venice. I loved being a tourist in Venice (several times). Even though I learned later that there was no sewer system. Alas. I can’t wait for the new book.

    Reply
  13. I very much enjoyed the information about Venice. I loved being a tourist in Venice (several times). Even though I learned later that there was no sewer system. Alas. I can’t wait for the new book.

    Reply
  14. I very much enjoyed the information about Venice. I loved being a tourist in Venice (several times). Even though I learned later that there was no sewer system. Alas. I can’t wait for the new book.

    Reply
  15. I very much enjoyed the information about Venice. I loved being a tourist in Venice (several times). Even though I learned later that there was no sewer system. Alas. I can’t wait for the new book.

    Reply
  16. Loving the lessons on Venice! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Venice and am looking forward to “re-visiting” through Your Scandalous Ways.
    Everyone should have the opportunity to cruise the Grand Canal at least once in their lifetime. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Loving the lessons on Venice! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Venice and am looking forward to “re-visiting” through Your Scandalous Ways.
    Everyone should have the opportunity to cruise the Grand Canal at least once in their lifetime. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Loving the lessons on Venice! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Venice and am looking forward to “re-visiting” through Your Scandalous Ways.
    Everyone should have the opportunity to cruise the Grand Canal at least once in their lifetime. 🙂

    Reply
  19. Loving the lessons on Venice! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Venice and am looking forward to “re-visiting” through Your Scandalous Ways.
    Everyone should have the opportunity to cruise the Grand Canal at least once in their lifetime. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Loving the lessons on Venice! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Venice and am looking forward to “re-visiting” through Your Scandalous Ways.
    Everyone should have the opportunity to cruise the Grand Canal at least once in their lifetime. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Loved the chanced to relive my trip to Venice a few years ago. Ah, Venice. I didn’t want to love it–I mean, how stereotypical is that? I was determined that I would not fall for it the way everybody seems to. But, what can I say, Venice worked her magic on me too–it is an amazing city! Can’t wait to read the book and revisit again!

    Reply
  22. Loved the chanced to relive my trip to Venice a few years ago. Ah, Venice. I didn’t want to love it–I mean, how stereotypical is that? I was determined that I would not fall for it the way everybody seems to. But, what can I say, Venice worked her magic on me too–it is an amazing city! Can’t wait to read the book and revisit again!

    Reply
  23. Loved the chanced to relive my trip to Venice a few years ago. Ah, Venice. I didn’t want to love it–I mean, how stereotypical is that? I was determined that I would not fall for it the way everybody seems to. But, what can I say, Venice worked her magic on me too–it is an amazing city! Can’t wait to read the book and revisit again!

    Reply
  24. Loved the chanced to relive my trip to Venice a few years ago. Ah, Venice. I didn’t want to love it–I mean, how stereotypical is that? I was determined that I would not fall for it the way everybody seems to. But, what can I say, Venice worked her magic on me too–it is an amazing city! Can’t wait to read the book and revisit again!

    Reply
  25. Loved the chanced to relive my trip to Venice a few years ago. Ah, Venice. I didn’t want to love it–I mean, how stereotypical is that? I was determined that I would not fall for it the way everybody seems to. But, what can I say, Venice worked her magic on me too–it is an amazing city! Can’t wait to read the book and revisit again!

    Reply
  26. Thank you for the pictures. I’m terrible at visualising from words, so a lot of book landscape passes me by. Not this time!

    Reply
  27. Thank you for the pictures. I’m terrible at visualising from words, so a lot of book landscape passes me by. Not this time!

    Reply
  28. Thank you for the pictures. I’m terrible at visualising from words, so a lot of book landscape passes me by. Not this time!

    Reply
  29. Thank you for the pictures. I’m terrible at visualising from words, so a lot of book landscape passes me by. Not this time!

    Reply
  30. Thank you for the pictures. I’m terrible at visualising from words, so a lot of book landscape passes me by. Not this time!

    Reply
  31. I, for one, vote for more virtual tours. And I would love to hear some of the tidbits you have gleaned about Byron from your reseach. Keats, Shelley and Byron are some of my favourite poets and few of their works are mentioned in Regency novels, with the exception of Byron’s Corsair which I gather was hugely popular. Keats, I guess, was not as admired but I like his stuff. More, more, more, loretta. I just love this stuff.

    Reply
  32. I, for one, vote for more virtual tours. And I would love to hear some of the tidbits you have gleaned about Byron from your reseach. Keats, Shelley and Byron are some of my favourite poets and few of their works are mentioned in Regency novels, with the exception of Byron’s Corsair which I gather was hugely popular. Keats, I guess, was not as admired but I like his stuff. More, more, more, loretta. I just love this stuff.

    Reply
  33. I, for one, vote for more virtual tours. And I would love to hear some of the tidbits you have gleaned about Byron from your reseach. Keats, Shelley and Byron are some of my favourite poets and few of their works are mentioned in Regency novels, with the exception of Byron’s Corsair which I gather was hugely popular. Keats, I guess, was not as admired but I like his stuff. More, more, more, loretta. I just love this stuff.

    Reply
  34. I, for one, vote for more virtual tours. And I would love to hear some of the tidbits you have gleaned about Byron from your reseach. Keats, Shelley and Byron are some of my favourite poets and few of their works are mentioned in Regency novels, with the exception of Byron’s Corsair which I gather was hugely popular. Keats, I guess, was not as admired but I like his stuff. More, more, more, loretta. I just love this stuff.

    Reply
  35. I, for one, vote for more virtual tours. And I would love to hear some of the tidbits you have gleaned about Byron from your reseach. Keats, Shelley and Byron are some of my favourite poets and few of their works are mentioned in Regency novels, with the exception of Byron’s Corsair which I gather was hugely popular. Keats, I guess, was not as admired but I like his stuff. More, more, more, loretta. I just love this stuff.

    Reply
  36. I have looked for floor plans of the Regency townhouse, but have not found any. I can almost visualize it, but am interested in passageways, sizes and all those other odd details. Anyone have a site or book to recommend?

    Reply
  37. I have looked for floor plans of the Regency townhouse, but have not found any. I can almost visualize it, but am interested in passageways, sizes and all those other odd details. Anyone have a site or book to recommend?

    Reply
  38. I have looked for floor plans of the Regency townhouse, but have not found any. I can almost visualize it, but am interested in passageways, sizes and all those other odd details. Anyone have a site or book to recommend?

    Reply
  39. I have looked for floor plans of the Regency townhouse, but have not found any. I can almost visualize it, but am interested in passageways, sizes and all those other odd details. Anyone have a site or book to recommend?

    Reply
  40. I have looked for floor plans of the Regency townhouse, but have not found any. I can almost visualize it, but am interested in passageways, sizes and all those other odd details. Anyone have a site or book to recommend?

    Reply
  41. Lyn, you might check the Dover Publications website; they have a lot of books on historic architecture, though I can’t recall seeing any on the Regency. There’s also a book called something like JANE AUSTEN’S TOWN AND COUNTRY STYLE.
    We spent a week or so in Venice when I was about twelve or thirteen. What I remember most, oddly enough, is that when we were on our way down the Grand Canal to our hotel, I saw a sign on the bank reading LAVORI IN CORSO–Road Work Ahead. I figured out that they must be painting a white line down the center of the canal.
    Using watercolor paint, of course.

    Reply
  42. Lyn, you might check the Dover Publications website; they have a lot of books on historic architecture, though I can’t recall seeing any on the Regency. There’s also a book called something like JANE AUSTEN’S TOWN AND COUNTRY STYLE.
    We spent a week or so in Venice when I was about twelve or thirteen. What I remember most, oddly enough, is that when we were on our way down the Grand Canal to our hotel, I saw a sign on the bank reading LAVORI IN CORSO–Road Work Ahead. I figured out that they must be painting a white line down the center of the canal.
    Using watercolor paint, of course.

    Reply
  43. Lyn, you might check the Dover Publications website; they have a lot of books on historic architecture, though I can’t recall seeing any on the Regency. There’s also a book called something like JANE AUSTEN’S TOWN AND COUNTRY STYLE.
    We spent a week or so in Venice when I was about twelve or thirteen. What I remember most, oddly enough, is that when we were on our way down the Grand Canal to our hotel, I saw a sign on the bank reading LAVORI IN CORSO–Road Work Ahead. I figured out that they must be painting a white line down the center of the canal.
    Using watercolor paint, of course.

    Reply
  44. Lyn, you might check the Dover Publications website; they have a lot of books on historic architecture, though I can’t recall seeing any on the Regency. There’s also a book called something like JANE AUSTEN’S TOWN AND COUNTRY STYLE.
    We spent a week or so in Venice when I was about twelve or thirteen. What I remember most, oddly enough, is that when we were on our way down the Grand Canal to our hotel, I saw a sign on the bank reading LAVORI IN CORSO–Road Work Ahead. I figured out that they must be painting a white line down the center of the canal.
    Using watercolor paint, of course.

    Reply
  45. Lyn, you might check the Dover Publications website; they have a lot of books on historic architecture, though I can’t recall seeing any on the Regency. There’s also a book called something like JANE AUSTEN’S TOWN AND COUNTRY STYLE.
    We spent a week or so in Venice when I was about twelve or thirteen. What I remember most, oddly enough, is that when we were on our way down the Grand Canal to our hotel, I saw a sign on the bank reading LAVORI IN CORSO–Road Work Ahead. I figured out that they must be painting a white line down the center of the canal.
    Using watercolor paint, of course.

    Reply
  46. Very interesting blog. I would love to hear some more about interior decorating, but I gather pictures are hard to come by.
    What was Venice like at that time, a generation after losing sovereignty? Who ruled? Was trade depressed? Were native Venetians poor?
    Byron and gondolas sounds interesting too, not necessarily connected.

    Reply
  47. Very interesting blog. I would love to hear some more about interior decorating, but I gather pictures are hard to come by.
    What was Venice like at that time, a generation after losing sovereignty? Who ruled? Was trade depressed? Were native Venetians poor?
    Byron and gondolas sounds interesting too, not necessarily connected.

    Reply
  48. Very interesting blog. I would love to hear some more about interior decorating, but I gather pictures are hard to come by.
    What was Venice like at that time, a generation after losing sovereignty? Who ruled? Was trade depressed? Were native Venetians poor?
    Byron and gondolas sounds interesting too, not necessarily connected.

    Reply
  49. Very interesting blog. I would love to hear some more about interior decorating, but I gather pictures are hard to come by.
    What was Venice like at that time, a generation after losing sovereignty? Who ruled? Was trade depressed? Were native Venetians poor?
    Byron and gondolas sounds interesting too, not necessarily connected.

    Reply
  50. Very interesting blog. I would love to hear some more about interior decorating, but I gather pictures are hard to come by.
    What was Venice like at that time, a generation after losing sovereignty? Who ruled? Was trade depressed? Were native Venetians poor?
    Byron and gondolas sounds interesting too, not necessarily connected.

    Reply
  51. I love almost any kind of detail about what it was like to actually live in other times and other places. Venice is such an incredibly magical place, like no other.
    One thing I was wondering about is Carnivale. I know there were limits put on it at some point. At the time you are writing about, ws it still going on? Were people still going out in masks and dominos?

    Reply
  52. I love almost any kind of detail about what it was like to actually live in other times and other places. Venice is such an incredibly magical place, like no other.
    One thing I was wondering about is Carnivale. I know there were limits put on it at some point. At the time you are writing about, ws it still going on? Were people still going out in masks and dominos?

    Reply
  53. I love almost any kind of detail about what it was like to actually live in other times and other places. Venice is such an incredibly magical place, like no other.
    One thing I was wondering about is Carnivale. I know there were limits put on it at some point. At the time you are writing about, ws it still going on? Were people still going out in masks and dominos?

    Reply
  54. I love almost any kind of detail about what it was like to actually live in other times and other places. Venice is such an incredibly magical place, like no other.
    One thing I was wondering about is Carnivale. I know there were limits put on it at some point. At the time you are writing about, ws it still going on? Were people still going out in masks and dominos?

    Reply
  55. I love almost any kind of detail about what it was like to actually live in other times and other places. Venice is such an incredibly magical place, like no other.
    One thing I was wondering about is Carnivale. I know there were limits put on it at some point. At the time you are writing about, ws it still going on? Were people still going out in masks and dominos?

    Reply
  56. I love the name Zeggio. And I desperately hope that the stunningly beautiful golden mosaic tile ceilings in the famous cathedral make an appearance.

    Reply
  57. I love the name Zeggio. And I desperately hope that the stunningly beautiful golden mosaic tile ceilings in the famous cathedral make an appearance.

    Reply
  58. I love the name Zeggio. And I desperately hope that the stunningly beautiful golden mosaic tile ceilings in the famous cathedral make an appearance.

    Reply
  59. I love the name Zeggio. And I desperately hope that the stunningly beautiful golden mosaic tile ceilings in the famous cathedral make an appearance.

    Reply
  60. I love the name Zeggio. And I desperately hope that the stunningly beautiful golden mosaic tile ceilings in the famous cathedral make an appearance.

    Reply
  61. THE HEROINE’S SISTER by Frances Murray is set in Venice during the French occupation and has a lot of local details. It’s one of my favorite romance novels. May be hard to find a copy, though.

    Reply
  62. THE HEROINE’S SISTER by Frances Murray is set in Venice during the French occupation and has a lot of local details. It’s one of my favorite romance novels. May be hard to find a copy, though.

    Reply
  63. THE HEROINE’S SISTER by Frances Murray is set in Venice during the French occupation and has a lot of local details. It’s one of my favorite romance novels. May be hard to find a copy, though.

    Reply
  64. THE HEROINE’S SISTER by Frances Murray is set in Venice during the French occupation and has a lot of local details. It’s one of my favorite romance novels. May be hard to find a copy, though.

    Reply
  65. THE HEROINE’S SISTER by Frances Murray is set in Venice during the French occupation and has a lot of local details. It’s one of my favorite romance novels. May be hard to find a copy, though.

    Reply
  66. I’m so amazed at how VIVID my imagination was whilst reading YSW…coming here and seeing the pics of Gondolas, Venice in general and Palazzo makes me wonder if I did in fact live in a different time period.

    Reply
  67. I’m so amazed at how VIVID my imagination was whilst reading YSW…coming here and seeing the pics of Gondolas, Venice in general and Palazzo makes me wonder if I did in fact live in a different time period.

    Reply
  68. I’m so amazed at how VIVID my imagination was whilst reading YSW…coming here and seeing the pics of Gondolas, Venice in general and Palazzo makes me wonder if I did in fact live in a different time period.

    Reply
  69. I’m so amazed at how VIVID my imagination was whilst reading YSW…coming here and seeing the pics of Gondolas, Venice in general and Palazzo makes me wonder if I did in fact live in a different time period.

    Reply
  70. I’m so amazed at how VIVID my imagination was whilst reading YSW…coming here and seeing the pics of Gondolas, Venice in general and Palazzo makes me wonder if I did in fact live in a different time period.

    Reply

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