|THE SERENISSIMA REPUBLIC IN GREECE
XVII - XVIII CENTURIES
Captain Antonio Paravia, born in Corfù in 1754 (then a Venetian island), was an officer in the infantry of the Serenissima Republic; he was frequently engaged in service in both the Balkan peninsula and the Ionian islands. He embarked on Venetian warships transporting land troops,-visited the greater part of the eastern and centrai Mediterranean, and witnessed the military action undertaken to oppose the Sultan of Tunisia.
He left a long series of manuscripts, supplemented by geographical drawings, entitled My Portfolio of Travels, Observations, Memories and Historical Fragments of my Time, now kept at the Correr Museum of Venice.
Through his watercolour maps and views, Paravia was extremely skilled in rendering ancient landscapes of urban squares and fortresses that he encountered during his journeys; he enriched his beautiful series of drawings by documenting occurrences dating long before his era.
An extensive collection of illustrations attributed to him is kept at the Turin School of Application, some of which share the subjects of his manuscripts.
Numerous graphic representations retrieved from the Venetian archives are included in this book as complements to the graphic material produced by Paravia. These enhance the understanding of the events of the Serenissima Republic in Greece in XVII and XVIII century.
To the reader.
The reader who is attracted to this book
by the illustration of Salonica on the
cover or by the name of the unknown Venetian Captain Antonio Paravia, may also wonder why the author, a retired generai of the Italian Army, has addressed such an unusual subject, very remote from common areas of interest or current historical research.
In fact, I was inspired to write this book by the unforgettable memories of the two years I spent in Greece while only a second lieutenant on permanent duty in an infantry regiment stationed in various locations of the Peloponnese. From 1941 to 1943, the Italian Army kept its entire 8th Army in Greece. I was destined to learn a great deal about some of the most famous places of the region, such as Aegion, Nauplia, Tirinto, Patras, the Rion Fort, Pirgos, Olympia and othcrs besides. Venice had left monuments to St Mark and fortifications everywhere: a tangible testimony to the Serenissima Republie. Despite my duties as a troop com-mander, those places made such an impression on me that I never forgot them. The years that followed, including those spent in Nazi concentration camps and all of my career thereafter, both in Italy and abroad working for NATO, did not diminish the power of those memories.
The Greek population evemvhcre displayed the proud, dignified and generally loyal nature typieal of the Greek character, despite inevitable social and ethnic differences and diversity of local culture. There were some exceptions, but very
few. Those Greek places had been under Venetian rule all of 257 years previously yet the memory of Venice was vivid among
the local populations, despite the long period of Turkish domination that followed whieh had generateci mostly negative memories.
The Italian Army left a generally good impression, despite its difficult position as an occupying force. I discovered this for myself when I returned to Greece as a tourist and observed numerous moving examples of friendship and thankfulness.
In 1953, I was assigned to the Lagoon Forces, remaining in Venice for three years. This was anything but a quiet urne and there were some unforgettable moments: during the summer the Italian fleet - with the admiral ship the Duca degli Abruzzi - and the disembarking troops were concentrated in the port of Venice in case of the nced for intervention against Yugoslavia.
I was a captain then and had embarked with my unit on a big German motorised landingcraft, ready to carry out a military operation that, in the end, never took piace. But enough of this story. One year later, in 1954, the political situation had improved and the Italian Army prepared to enter Trieste.
Introduction (Guido Amoretti)
Archive rescarch (Silvia Bertelli)
Preface - Antonio Paravia or the disillusioned nostalgia (M. Marcella Ferraccioli - Gianfranco Giraudo)
Antonio Paravia and his illustrious nephew Pier Alessandro
Antonio Paravia and Greeee
Naples of Romania - Nauplia
Rion and Antirion - The Castle of Morea and the Castle of Romelia
Vonitza and Prevesa
Acrocorinth and Corinth
Negroponte - Calcide - Halkida
The Island of Candia - Suda, Garabuse, Spinalonga, San Todero
Candia - The bulwark of Sant'Andrea
Antonio Paravia and the warship
Bibliography by subjects
ABBREVITIONS IN THE TEXT
AST State Archive of Turin
ASV State Archive of Venice
BCT Civie Library of Turin
BIA Library of the Veneto Institute of Science, Humanities and Art of Venice
BMC Library of the Correr Museum of Venice
BNM Marciana National Library of Venice
BQS Library of the Querini Stampalia Foundation of Venice
BSA Library of the School of Application of Turin
CSR Library of the Turin Centre for Studies and Historical Research on Military Architecture in Piedmont
GAM Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Brescia
DICA Ministry of Culture of Athens - Endowment for Archaeology
MSN Naval History Museum of Venice
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