Venetian life, nineteenth century style

Plaque to William Dean Howells, Palazzo Falier Canossa, Venice
Plaque to William Dean Howells
The other day, as I was returning home on the vaporetto, I caught sight of a plaque attached to a wall in a dark, narrow alley leading down to the Grand Canal. It is impossible to read the plaque from the water so a few days later I schlepped across to the alley to see who had been honoured.

It turned out to be William Dean Howells, author of Venetian Life

WDH (1837-1920) was the American Consul in Venice in the early 1860s, a post 'unclouded by any obligation to work.' The young man (he was only in his mid-twenties) was thus free to potter about the city and the result was Venetian Life (1866), a wryly observed account of the three years he spent here.
Palazzo Falier Canossa, Venice
Palazzo Falier Canossa
The alley runs between the Palazzo Falier Canossa and the rather grander, Palazzo Giustinian Lolin. Howells lived in the former palace. He writes in Venetian Life"For myself, I must count as half-lost the year spent in Venice before I took a house upon the Grand Canal." 

I know just how he felt! 


  1. Wait! Does this mean you're living in a Palazzo on the Grand Canal now? :-)


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