Though he never adopted Turkish dress, Venice’s eastern exoticism appealed to William Beckford, writer, aesthete, collector and builder of Fonthill Abbey, one of the craziest monuments of the Gothic Revival whose front door was over 30 foot high.  His Gothic novel Vathek was set in Persia and the diary of his first visit to Venice reveals how much he responded to its oriental associations:  

 “Tis certain my beloved town of Venice, ever recalls a series of eastern ideas and adventures.  I cannot help thinking St Mark’s a mosque; and the neighbouring palace, some vast seraglio, full of arabesque, saloons, embroidered sophas [sic] and voluptuous Circassians.”  

Inheriting a vast fortune at the age of 21, Beckford first visited Venice in August of 1781 and was immediately captivated by the city:

“I have no terms to describe the variety of pillars, pediments, of mouldings, and cornices; some Grecian, others saracenical, that adorn these edifices; of which the pencil of Canaletto conveys so perfect an idea, as to render all verbal description superfluous”-

 He also wrote one of the most poetic descriptions of dawn breaking and late-night revellers meeting early-morning fruit vendors on the Grand Canal: