Voyaging Along Venice’s Riviera del Brenta Waterway with Dr. Susan Steer

Voyaging Along Venice’s Riviera del Brenta Waterway with Dr. Susan Steer


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The Brenta waterway is little-known to the thousands of international visitors who now pour into Venice daily, but it was once the major access route for people and goods coming from mainland Italy into the island metropolis. Passing through Venice’s rural hinterland, picturesque villages, and grand historic villas en route towards Padua, we will take in daily life past and present, along one of Italy’s most scenic and journeys.

Connecting Venice and Padua, the Brenta passes charming towns, like Oriago, mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy, and Dolo, depicted by Canaletto. We will take in the history of the waterway, and the traditions and customs such as regattas and flower festivals and also touch on the economy of the area, from the historic brick factories which built Venice, through nineteenth-century industrialization, to the modern shoe factories which produce stylish footwear for the Italian and European markets. We will also touch on the story of the landscape and its agriculture, which historically kept populous Venice fed and still supplies vibrant farmers’ markets today.

The route is famously lined with sumptuous country houses built by the Venetian aristocracy as summer retreats, like Palladio’s iconic Villa Foscari at Malcontenta. The grandiose Villa Pisani at Stra was Napoleon’s residence as he conquered Venice and her territories and we will discuss the impacts of his reign.

Led by an expert on the history of Venetian art and long-time resident of the Riviera del Brenta, Dr. Susan Steer, this interactive seminar will be a virtual journey along Venice’s historic waterway towards Padua. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will discover life and culture beyond the celebrated monuments of Venice.

Susan Steer PhD is an art historian specializing in Medieval and Renaissance Venice. Susan has an extensive teaching background, lecturing on Italian art for universities in the UK and in Italy. She has also worked as a paintings researcher at museums in the UK, and has published on Italian Renaissance and Baroque art in leading specialist journals. She has lived in Venice for over 20 years.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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