An idealised conception of Corfù began to emerge in the reports made by Venetian Provveditori from the early sixteenth century onwards. The island became 'the key to the state of our
dominion regarding maritime matters'1 and 'the key of this most illustrious
state and the shield of all Christianity'2 (1553). These declarations were
later confirmed in 1686, when the loss of Candia made the island's position even more crucially important. Nicknamed 'gateway to the Gulf', it
served as an access route to the Adriatic, over which Venice claimed her own
sovereign right of control. A production centre for the salt traded in
Montenegro and the Veneto and Greek mainlands, Corfù actually served as
a crossroads for the different currents of commercial traffic in the
Mediterranean and the Adriatic, and offered goods from Mondavia and Wallachia,
the Morea and Albania.
1 'chiave di stado della Signoria nostra zercha le cosse marittime'
2 'La chiave de questo illustrissimo Stado et il schudo di tutta la