Venice's location in the middle of a lagoon is perhaps the defining aspect of its history as an imperial power. Situated at the head of the Adriatic, the city expanded into the eastern Mediterranean with a dazzling variety of colonies, dependencies, dominions and fiefdoms extending from Istria and Dalmatia to Crete and Cyprus. But this Stato da Mar was not the only component of the Venetian empire.
Venice also acquired territories on the Italian mainland, the Terraferma; and in the fifteenth century the red and yellow flag of St Mark flew over the cities of the Veneto and the plains of Lombardy as far as Lake Garda. Maria Fusaro discusses the evolution of Venice from a modest repubblica marinara into a mighty imperium that grew rich on commerce, conquest and crusade. Discussing the relationship with Byzantium that led to the sacking of Constantinople (1204), and the city's struggle with both Genoese and Ottomans, the author shows how its advances on sea and land shaped the Republic's political destiny at all levels.
This masterful treatment places Venice on the rich canvas of maritime and European history.