Sunny and cloudy Fusina in September 2013Long lens, I'll admit but this is never 5 miles as Magri and Roe contendEven with a 17mm wide angle, it looks as if you could swim it.Heading to MalacontentaPort buildings at FusinaThe Brenta canal drains into this small lagoon.The start of the Brenta canalThe lock building in the engravingThe stunningly beautiful Villa Foscari.

Arty farty B&W. The light is almost always extraordinary at Fusina. Inspires the artist. Not Will, mind, who fails to mention what every other visitor remembers most. It's very unlikely that the author of Othello and The Merchant of Venice actually visited Venice. Will's Venice has shaft-horses, tides and senators. All of Venice's lucrative monpolies had been broken by the time Oxford visited. Venice's fame in the 1570's lay in the fact that 1 in 4 of the people who lived there were courtesans. An early example of economic repurposing. And a possible reason for Oxford spending so much of his time in Italy here. 

Long lens, I'll admit, but the distance between that lamppost and Piazza San Marco is not 5 miles as Magri and Roe contend. Not even close. 3.8 miles is the exact distance.

Even with a 17mm wide angle, it looks as if you could swim it. If, like most Ventian residents, you're appalled by the quantity of vast ships in the threatened lagoon, sign the petiton to get rid of them.

Bound for Malacontenta. A round trip measuring 15 miles, not 20 as Italian Oxfordians Roe and Magri claim in one of their Eureka moments. The distance, they claim, identifies Villa Malacontenta as Belmont. Well, it doesn't cos' it's wrong.

Fusina was the port at which Venice drinking water was embarked. Some of these port buildings date back to the 13c. This quayside would not have looked much different in Oxford's day. It would have been a very busy place in 1575.

The Brenta canal drains into this small lagoon. These boats will take you to Padua and along the well travelled path to the Villa Contarini, where the Doge (not Will's Duke)  liked to entertain foreign luminaries. The Villa Contarini is a much more likely location for the casket test, though it's still not on a hill.

The Brenta canal. Like all canals, built for industry not passenger traffic. So slow that today, these narrow waterways are only useful for tourism. Again, a view not much changed since Oxford's time. The lock at Porto Moranzani was under construction and newly canalised the Brenta was ready in 1604 after 104 years planning and hard work. 

Although this building looks much newer that the building on the left, the lock keeper assured me this was the original lock keeper's office. A Yorkshire Broom, perhaps.

The stunningly beautiful Palladio Villa in Malacontenta. Aka Villa Malacontenta, aka Villa Foscari NOT aka Belmont. Small but absolutely perfect.  Much too small. Totally unsuitable for casket work on the grand scale. Oxford would have called this a hunting lodge. Or something worse, judging by his self-confessed dislike for things Italian. 


Click bottom right to advance the slides.

This was a Lovely day in late September. All argument aside, this is the way to arrive in Venice. Not over the Bridge and into the terrible car parks. There's ample parking here and regular ferries. Is it five miles to Malacontenta or Piazza San Marco? No it's not. More hopeful but faulty Oxfordian research.

Share this post