Venice, Italy, is a unique location due to its natural protection of being surrounded by water. This made it easy to become a heart of a busy trade area. This added large amounts of wealth to the city. “This led them to build a great naval power, and became a preeminent center for shipbuilding”.
The city was built on a what was described to be “swampy lagoon islands” with lots of canals and other architectural advancements. Architecture in Venice was influenced by the medieval architecture, with a gothic style of buildings. Pointed spires, pointed arches, and clustered columns, are all traits of the medieval-style architecture. An important example of such architecture is the Doge’s Palace. This is a two story palace using the medieval style pointed arches with an open hallway underneath. It is described to reflect light and shine like a gemstone.
This was said to represent the city’s wealth and well-being. The building also featured a diamond pattern with colored stones. This was “a technique that was a hallmark of late Byzantine architecture”. The typical architecture of Venice is described to have an entrance at the canal level, with a long open hall with store rooms, and towards the back it opens up to a large, open courtyard and garden. The families stayed on the third story while the servants stayed on the attic.
The major advancements in architecture would be the new use of beautiful patterns, and the “sensitivity to light” along with texturing. “Venice prided itself on its spirit of innovation”. With advances on architecture, there was also innovation in music and literature. One of the first popular pieces of literature was a poem by Ludovico Ariosto titled Orlando Furioso. The poem summarizes traditional chivalric virtues, along with love, and the pain that comes with love. The poem was made more available through the printing press through the 1600’s. Venice also dominated the publishing market around this time, supplying most of Europe. Aldus Manutius was a distinguished publisher known for creating new typefaces such as italic. He also created the “intimate handheld book in octavo format” which was picked up by other publishers.
Music was being produced by woman by the end of the sixteenth century. The first professional female musician to see her compositions printed was Maddalena Casulana. She advocated for women by saying she believed that women could think and compose music as men did. Her work used “Madrigals” which were three or more voices singing at once. It is used to allow “word painting”, where the instruments “imitate the meaning of the text in a mood or an action”. A more sad text would have a lower pitch, when a more happy pitch would have a higher pitch. Other women such as Lucrezia Borgia played and created music. Lucrezia, the Duchess of Ferrara, competed for musicians and advocated for the cultivation of the Frottola. The Frottola was another form of secular song, much like the Madrigals, but instead was homophonic and has the music repeated with each verse.
So with the advancements such as the printing press, literature was able to be spread more widely, and produced by a range of people. Architecture from the medieval times has been reused as well, with some newer design traits. The unique landscape with the canals also added to the wealth of Venice due to its trade routes. “Venice prided itself on its spirit of innovation” and made new advancements to art, literature, and architecture.