I make no secret of the fact that I’m in the midst of a love affair with Venice. It almost didn’t happen.
My first visit was decades ago when I participated in a whirlwind tour of Europe. We zipped through Venice, were escorted to a glass factory store specializing in selling over priced goods to tourists and whisked away.
I was not impressed.
It wasn’t until 1999, on a short stay with my daughter, that I began to uncover the charms of Venice. Suddenly I understood why artists, poets, writers and musicians kept returning for fresh inspiration.
In its’ heyday, it was a rich and powerful center of trade and business. Poised between East and West, Venice became a city of merchants, many of whom ran their empires from exquisite palazzos designed to serve as their business headquarters, as well as the family home.
A typical Venetian house had an elaborate facade facing the canal since visitors and clients usually arrived by boat. The house was tall and narrow, with the ground floor serving as an office and, perhaps, a warehouse.
The second floor was used to entertain visitors, while family quarters were kept on the third floor.
Many houses also had additions on the street side that were used as offices, but frequently evolved into personal libraries.
So, you see, the homebased business movement isn’t such a new idea after all. The Venetians, who did it more elegantly than anyone, were running international enterprises from their homes hundreds of years ago.
Ponder that on your next trip down the Grand Canal.