In the novel, Tom’s journey takes him to Venice, where he and his companion, Edward Hamilton, seek to find the Mantuan Ambassador.
Venice is one of the most photogenic cities on earth. Here are a couple of my own. The view from the Doge’s Palace has changed little from Tom’s time. The Campanile of St Mark has been rebuilt since collapsing as a result of an earthquake.
In Venice, Tom and Edward seek lodgings and assistance from the Priory of the Order of St John. The Priory is still to be found in Venice to this day and its garden offers a rare patch of (private) greenery in the heart of the city. The white square of its cloister is visible in the picture below, between the garden and the canal.
The following series of landscapes by Canaletto, painted about a century after Tom’s visit, evoke the spirit of the places that feature in Tom’s memoir.
Tom and Edward arrive in Venice aboard the Venetian galleon, the Santa Maria Formosa, which drops anchor in St Mark’s Basin, pictured below.
The pair disembark on the quayside know as the ‘Molo’ and make their way along past the Doge’s Palace (pictured below) towards the Priory of the Order in Venice.
In Tom’s memoir, the house of the Mantuan Ambassador lies on the left bank of the canal pictured below, as does the tavern in which they shelter from the rain. Tom and Edward make a short getaway by gondola from the Ambassador’s house and moor up at the steps in the foreground. The Scuola di San Marco is central in the background; the great church of ‘Zanipolo’ is on the right, behind the statue of Colleoni.
The Prior’s gondolier drops Tom and Edward off at the Pescaria just behind the (then new) Rialto bridge pictured below. Edward describes the Grand Canal as the finest street in all of Europe.
Tom and Edward take a coffee in St Mark’s Square (the Piazza) and seek refuge in the Basilica, pictured at the far end of the Piazza.
Tom and Edward depart Venice aboard an English ship bound for Portsmouth. The picture below shows such a ship, anchored off the customs building (‘Dogana’), perhaps awaiting her permission to depart.