On the Way to the Holy Land: Venice as point of embarkation for foreign pilgrims in the Renaissance

An illustrated talk by Dr. Sandra Toffolo, Deborah Loeb Brice Fellow, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Florence

26th November 2020 at 19:30 GMT on Zoom

Renaissance Venice was a crossroads of people from all over the world, such as foreign merchants and immigrants. It was also the place where hundreds of pilgrims, from all over Europe, passed each year on their way to Jerusalem. During much of the Middle Ages there had been several places where pilgrims could embark for the Holy Land. By the fifteenth century, however, only the Venetians could provide a reasonably secure passage. Venice thus became the point of embarkation in the Renaissance for most Western European pilgrims, especially for those from Italy, England, the Holy Roman Empire, the Low Countries, and France. Until the second half of the sixteenth century hundreds of pilgrims passed through Venice each year. They often needed to stay in the lagoon city for several weeks while they waited for the departure of their galley. During this time they prepared for the rest of their journey, bought practical supplies, visited the city, attended Mass, visited local relics, exchanged information, and came into contact with a wide range of people. This lecture will focus on the experience of these travellers during their time in the city of Venice.

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