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Zante: urban policy




The castle of Zante  like that of San Giorgio in Cephalonia also underwent changes which did not involve radical reconstruction or definite changes in function, as had happened with the Fortress of Asso . The main preoccupation seemed to be the obvious decline of the Venetian trade monopoly in the Levant. The Venice Company, later the Levant Company, was created by the English in 1583 for the importation into England of raisins, wines, and oil, but already in 1580 the Provveditore  of the island was complaining that 4 years of 4 or 5 English ships 'with a good capacity',1 had caused 'severe damage'2 to the city and its income. Another Provveditore said in 1622 that the crisis of the port was partly due to a recent plague, but perhaps even more to the fact that 'manchò agli abitanti il mercantar' ('the inhabitants had lost their trade').

Venetian urban policy was therefore aimed at the creation of port and civilian structures rather than military construction. The establishment of a 'lazaretto' ('leper house') comes under this heading. This was built at the same time as that in Corfù  in 1589, from the lengthening of the pier in 1608, of the enlargement of the Arsenale .

1 'di bona portata'
2 'grandissimo danno'

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Viaggio virtuale tra le fonti storiche veneziane
Rotta: Venezia e il Levante (sec XV - sec XVIII)
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