After lunch, I head to the Doge’s Palace for a temporary exhibit on the deep historical links between Venice and Islam. It’s a fascinating collection, tracing the early years of mutually beneficial trade, the architectural and artistic borrowings, and the temporary alliances that long defined the relationship. It also details the long decline into open warfare, with brief but temporary reconciliations, to the point where even persistent and essential trade links had to be abandoned.
The true brilliance of the exhibit, however, is that it’s set in one of the palace’s great halls (the Sala dello Scrutinio), one filled wall-and-ceiling with massive murals. It is certainly no accident that the hall the exhibitors have selected is dominated by a massive, incredibly violent rendering of the Battle of Lepanto, with the Venetian navy in the midst of a bloody slaughtering of the Ottomans.