1. Painting. This is, of course, a bit ridiculous. Three is gobs and gobs and gobs, but I have to opt for late Titian as the peak of painting, ever, by anyone. Except for Velazquez. Here is one image, here is another. Moving past the Renaissance, Tiepolo remains underrated; visit Wurzburg for one of Europe’s best artistic thrills. Rosalbe Carriera portraits are underrated.
2. Work of fiction, set in: Death in Venice, Thomas Mann, is the obvious pick, here is a long list of fiction set in Venice. There is Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and Henry James, The Aspern Papers, I’ll give the nod to the latter, unless we can count bits of Proust.
3. Movie, set in: Scroll down for a list. I love the best parts of From Russia with Love, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (really), but the clear winner is Orson Welles’s Othello.
4. Play, set in: Duh.
5. Techno group, named after: Venetian Snares, juicy stuff, high information content. Not for the faint hearted.
6. Music: Monteverdi will get his own post, Vivaldi bores me, Gabrieli is OK. Luigi Nono comes next, I like the Pollini recording of his work for piano and tape. There is Bruno Maderna as well.
7. Theatre: Carlo Goldoni, I once saw The Stag Hunt and loved it.
8. Writer: Casanova is fun to browse, more conceptual than you might think.
9. Librettist: Lorenzo da Ponte, who wrote Don Giovanni for Mozart.
The bottom line: Making this list was more interesting than I had expected. I have never felt "near" to Venice, but perhaps this trip — for a UNESCO conference — will change that.