Thursday, July 17, 2008

Doge Marcello's DNA

Count Girolamo Marcello was a crucial mentor for me when I was a young and idealistic fellow Venetian exploring the creation of the Venice Project Center, back in 1987. His palace, near San Fantin, was the de-facto headquarters of the VPC in 1988 and 1989. He has also been a constant supporter of our research agenda throughout the 20 years of our existence, periodically checking in on us and showering our students with lavish end-of-term celebrations on his palace's rooftop terrace. Tonight, we had dinner together "in cantina" (at the osteria ai Assassini ) and conducted an informal assessment of our track record as partners in the VPC experiment. He praised the VPC's tremendous contribution to the rehabilitation of Venice's physical infrastructure, but also lamented the continued decline in the quality of life for the city's inhabitants. Many of this year's IQPs will deal with socio-economic issues, like "being young in Venice", "getting old in Venice", "living in Venice" and "visiting Venice", precisely because of our renewed attention to "Venetians". In fact, we plan to start right from the beginning, by tracing the "origins of the Venetians" through DNA. Count Marcello, like all remaining patrizi veneti, could provide us with useful samples as could many other ancient Venetian families. Girolamo has agreed to let the Marcello gens be part of the investigation. More on this later...
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