From Venice, pioneer of quarantine against disease, to Seville and Marseilles, former isolation hospitals – lazarettos – to visit and even stay in

To arrive in Venice by train is to enter through the city’s back door, although the exit from the station’s drab interior straight onto a Grand Canal bustling with waterborne traffic and lined with palazzi in ochre, cream and pink is a coup de théâtre that few other destinations can match.But Venice was always meant to be entered by ship, looking as it did outward down the Adriatic to its coastal colonies in what are now Croatia, Albania and Greece, and beyond to the vast Mediterranean trading…

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