Famous people from Venice


A native of Venice, Vivaldi was a priest and composer of Baroque music. He is particularly known for his violin concertos, four of which he arranged together in the series ‘Four Seasons’ (1723), which is still frequently performed. His father, Giovanni Battista, was a professional violinist, and he toured Venice taking young Antonio with him. In 1693, Vivaldi began his studies to become a priest and was ordained at the age of 25, soon gaining the nickname Il Prete Rosso,
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Known as the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, Francesco was born in San Miniato, Tuscany. He fought alongside his father since he was 18, thus developing his strength and military skills. Later, he took part in battles for the Kingdom of Naples, the Papal States and the Duke of Milan, Filippo Visconti. In 1432, a year after Sforza led the Milanese army against Venice, Visconti's daughter Bianca was betrothed to him, and he married her in 1441.
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"My beautiful, my own My only Venice - this is breath! Thy breeze Thine Adrian sea-breeze, how it fans my face! Thy very winds feel native to my veins, And cool them into calmness!" – Byron, ‘The Two Foscari’

The great English Romantic poet, George Gordon Noel Byron (or Lord Byron) was born in London. As popular a figure as he was, his poetry seized the heart and imagination of Europe. Lord Byron gave literature a new “Byronic hero” – a rebellious youth who dwells on an unforgivable incident in the past.
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This Italian painter gained renown for his landscapes of Venice, called ‘Vedute’. He was born to an artistic family, as his father was a painter as well as his nephew, Bernardo Bellotto(1720 – 1780). Having served an apprenticeship with his father, Giovanni Antonio began his career as a theatrical scene painter; however, he devoted himself to depicturing daily city life. He studied under the older Luca Carlevaris and soon became his master's equal. Among Canaletto's famous works,
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Wherever I walk, I come upon familiar objects in an unfamiliar world; everything is just as I imagined it, yet everything is new.

Known as a remarkable German playwright, poet and novelist, Goethe was born in Frankfurt but was also linked with Leipzig and Weimar throughout his life. Famous as the author of 'Gotz Von Berlichingen 'and 'The Sorrows of Young Werther', in 1786 he decided to travel to Italy, thus starting a trend of travelling by romantic poets including Keats,
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Probably the most famous Italian explorer, Marco Polo was born in the Republic of Venice to a prosperous family of merchants. In 1271, his father, Niccolo, and his uncle, Maffeo, took young Marco with them on their second journey to China with an aim to deliver the Pope's response to Kublai Khan, the Mongolian military leader. During the next seventeen year in China, Marco Polo was sent on diplomatic missions throughout the empire, namely to the south,
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I had cause to think that if I remained in Rome, my tomb would be made sooner than the Pope's. That was the reason for my sudden departure. [From a letter to his friend Giuliano Sangallo]
His full name was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, and he’s considered one of the finest world artists and truly a Renaissance man, as he was not only a talented painter and sculptor, but also an architect and poet.
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“This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty-this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.”

This Germany-born novelist, essayist and cultural critic is recognised as one of the great writers of the 20th Century. Thomas Mann’s fame is based on his two works, ‘Der Tod in Venedig’ (Death in Venice, 1912) filmed in 1971 by Luchino Visconti,
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Born at Cassano d'Adda in the province of Milan, Valentino Mazzola is known as one of the legendary Milanese football players who died in the infamous disaster involving a Superga aircraft in the 1940s. Mazzola first became interested in pursuing a career as a football player when he noticed a team playing near the factory in which he was working. Although Mazzola applied to the team almost immediately, he was accepted just before the outbreak of World War II.
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