John Julius Norwich on a Venetian family

“[In 1171] Vitale Michiel [Doge of Venice]… took his fleet to Chios… Plague broke out in the overcrowded ships and spread with terrible speed. By early spring thousands were dead.

(Footnote: Among them, so the story goes, perished all the surviving male members of the Giustiniani family – except one, a young monk in the monastery of S. Nicolò di Lido. Rather than allow so distinguished a line to die out, the Pope granted him temporary release from his vows. He left the monastery, married the Doge’s daughter and did what was expected of him; then, his posterity assured, he returned to the monastery. His wife waited for the children to grow up; later she too took the veil.)”

(John Julius Norwich, A history of Venice, 1982)


P1050445.JPG(Abbey of St Wandrille, Normandy, from a letter of Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1948)

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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