A large influence in Venetian dress is due to Venice’s huge success in trade. Venice became well known throughout the world for its flourishing trade centers and textile industry, which connected the Western world with the East. Their location gave them an advantage over other Italian cities to connect with other trading ports from across the world. As one Venetian patrician claimed, “For a certain novelty of placement and opportune position, it was by itself the only form in all the universe so miraculously disposed.” Even before the Renaissance, Venice had already been trading with the Islamic world as early as the ninth century, and continued to in the sixteenth century. During the 1200s, trade between Egypt, Syria, Southeast Asia, Iran and China was present, especially with their trade of spices, grain, wine, and salt. The spice trade with the east was the reason for Venice’s expansion of their high quality textile manufacturing. The high quality woolen textiles, for example, that were put on the market were in exchange for supply of spices from the east. Venice’s ability to find excellent labor, raw materials, and capital contributed to their success in trading desirable woolen textiles in exchange for eastern goods. The city’s “textile trade was the single most important achievement of the Italian city state economy” during the 14th century.

Thanks to Marco Polo’s opening of the silk route between Venice and the East in the thirteenth century, Venetian merchants established links between the Mongol Empire, Persia, Armenia, the Caucasus, and Asia Minor. The city was able to acquire many exotic goods used for garments, such as porcelain and pearl from the Far East; gems, mineral dyes, peacock feathers, and a profusion of textiles like silks, cottons, and brocades from Egypt and Asia Minor; minerals from Germany; wool and woven cloth from Flanders and England.

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