He changed the subject then started to talk about Venice, La Serenissima, aloof from the rest of Italy and often looking eastwards more than westwards, both for trade and in trepidation, from the Ottoman Turks held sway as far as halfway up the northern Adriatic coast these days. He talked of the beauty and the treachery of Venice, of the city's dedication to moneymaking, of its richesse, its weird construction - a city of canals rising out of fenland and built on a foundation of hundreds of thousands of huge wooden stakes - its ferocious independence, and its political power: not three hundred years earlier, the Doge of Venice had diverted an entire crusade from the Holy Land to serve his own purposes, to destroy all commercial and military competition and opposition to his city-state and to bring the Byzantine Empire to its knees. He talked of the secret, ink-dark backwaters, the towering, candlelit palazzi, the curious dialect of Italian they spoke, the silence that hoovered, the gaudy splendor of their dress, their magnificent painters, of whom the prince was Giovanni Bellini, whom Leonardo was eager to meet, of their music, their masked festivals, their flashy ability to show off, their mastery of the art of poisoning. "And all this", he concluded, "I know just from books. Imagine what the real thing will be like."
It will be dirty and human, thought Ezio coldly. Like everywhere else. Buth showed his friend an agreeable smile. Leonardo was a dreamer. Dreamers should be allowed to dream. (pag. 246)
(Oliver Bowden - " Assasin's Creed - Renaissance")