Aspects of Venice: Tutorials with Robin Saikia

The Palazzo Manzoni (now Contarini Polignac) by John Wharlton Bunney

All of the following are available to individual students as personal tutorials. To book one or more of these tutorials, please email

1. Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac: The Venice Years. (1 hour. 25 euros) The Venetian life of the great American patroness of the arts, who transformed her palace on the Grand Canal into a haven for composers and musicians.

2. The Marriage of the Doge to the Sea: Pageant and Propaganda. (1 hour. 25 euros) The sposalizio del mare, an overview of its fascinating origin and depth of meaning.

3. Writing about Venice: Charles Dickens and Marcel Proust. (1 hour. 25 euros) How two very different writers triumphantly approached the difficult and at times over-written topic of Venice.

4. Lord Byron in Venice (1 hour. 25 euros) An introduction to the Venetian life of one of the city’s great British expatriate residents.

5. The Venice Lido – a General Introduction. (1 hour. 25 euros) The important role throughout history of Venice’s now glamorous beach resort.

6. The “Cockney Village”: The Development of the Lido in the 19th Century. (1 hour. 25 euros) The controversial beginnings of modern tourism in Venice, as seen by Henry James, John Ruskin and others.

7. From D’Annunzio to Churchill: The Lido in the Twenties and Thirties. (1 hour. 25 euros) How Giuseppe Volpi and other entrepreneurs transformed the Lido into an international destination that competed with the French Riviera.

8. Gay Life in Venice: Lord Ronald Gower, Frederick Rolfe, A. E. Housman and others. (1 hour. 25 euros) Some colourful gay residents and tourists from the 19th and 20th centuries.

9. Gabriel Fauré and Reynaldo Hahn in Venice. (1 hour. 25 euros) A exploration of the two composers’ Venetian song cycles and of their friendship with Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac.

10. The Barbaro Circle. (1 hour. 25 euros) An introduction to the Palazzo Barbaro, focusing on John Singer Sargent, Henry James and Robert Browning.

Robin Saikia is a British author and lecturer. His published work includes The Venice LidoBlue Guide Literary Companion London, The Red Book: The Membership List of The Right Club,;Blue Guide Hay-on-WyeBlue Guide Italy Food Companion. His most recent work is A Very Fine Cat Indeed, a dramatic monologue in which Samuel Johnson celebrates his favourite cat, Hodge. Robin is a Fellow of The Royal Asiatic Society. Other memberships and affiliations include The Johnson Society of London, The Johnson Society (Lichfield), The Wykehamist Society and The Oxford Union.

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