Page 278. " the iced-cake front of the Gesuati "
Facade of the Gesuati, viewed from the Giudecca Canal
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeFacade of the Gesuati, viewed from the Giudecca Canal - Credit: Waysider83

Founded by Jesuates (not to be confused with Jesuits), the 18th century church of Santa Maria del Rosario, commonly known as the Gesuati, stands by the Giudecca Canal, on the Zattere where Miss Garnet first takes lodgings. It is no. 14 on the map at the back of the book (Afterword p.7).

Page 283. " It's what Abraham said when he first came to the promised land. "

In Judaism and  Christianity,  Abraham is considered to be the founding father of the Jewish people. In Islam, Mohammed is his direct descendant.

God told Abraham to leave his home and relatives and go to a new country, Canaan (The Promised Land), that God would give to his descendants.  These, despite the barrenness of Abraham's elderly wife, would be as numerous as the stars of heaven, and would bring blessing to all the peoples of the earth.

This story of setting out in faith and hope into the unknown is echoed in the experience of Julia Garnet and of all those displaced from their homeland in one way or another.

Abraham's description of himself as a 'stranger and sojourner' actually comes when he is living in Canaan. His wife Sarah has died in Hebron, and he asks the local people for a sepulchre in which to bury her:

And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and sojourner with you; give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

Genesis 23:3-4

The sons of Heth have a lot of respect for Abraham, and readily agree. It is an act of kindness shown to a stranger, similar to the hospitality shown to Miss Garnet in Venice.

The painting is by Jozsef Molnar.

Abraham sets out
Public DomainAbraham sets out
Page 284. " past the Bridge of Sighs "
Bridge of Sighs
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBridge of Sighs - Credit: Matthew Field

Romantically named by Lord Byron to reflect the mood of prisoners catching their last glimpse of Venice before going down to the cells, the 16o2  Bridge of Sighs connects the interrogation rooms of the Doges' Palace to the old prison.


Doges' Palace with Bridge of Sighs to right
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDoges' Palace with Bridge of Sighs to right - Credit: Radomil