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
('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'