In "The Merchant of Venice" we find the following
"This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick,
It looks a little paler: 'tis a day
Such as the day is when the sun is hid."
-Act 5, Scen 1
In Italy the light of the moon and stars is almost
as yellow as the sunlight in England.
How did Will Shaksper know this if he had never been to Italy(of which there is no evidence?)
In the play "The Winter's Tale" we find the following:
"The Princesse hearing of her mother's statue, a piece many yeeres in doing, and now newly perform'd by that rare Italian Master, Julio Romano."
- Act 5, Scene 2
Here we find Guilio Romano described as a rare
sculptor, but in "Shakespeare's" time Romano was known as a
painter and architect only, not as a sculptor.
Vasari, however, in 1550 and again in 1568, described him as a sculptor-- on both occasions in Italian, not in English.
This means that "Shakespeare" must have studied Vasari in the original Italian, or else had actually been in Mantua and seen Romano's sculptured works.
No evidence exists that Will Shaksper could read Italian or had ever travelled abroad.
In "Shakespeare's " day there was at Venice a common ferry at two places, Fusina and Mestre--the ferries in Venice being called Traghetti.
In the play "Merchant of Venice" we find the lines:
"Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
Which trades to Venice."
-Act 3, Scene 4
The word "tranect" appears to be a misprint for
"traject"; presumably the printers would not understand such an
uncommon expression as "traject."
If the author of this play had not personally visited Italy, how did he know that there was such a ferry and such a boat? If he had not visited Italy, how did he know that the exact distance from Mantebello to Padua is twenty miles, for he must have done so because in this play Portia and Nerissa have to travel between these two places, and we find in the play the line:
"For we must measure twenty miles to-day."
Act 3, Scene 4.
The author of this play could not have obtained
his knowledge of Venice from any description of that city published
in England, because the play was written in 1600, and the first
description of Venice is Coryat's dated 1611.
The author of The Taming of the Shrew must also have had a good knowledge of the Italian language, because Cambio (the name taken by Lucentio when he changes places with his servant, Tranio) means exchange.
From 1585 to 1600 Corregio's famous picture of Jupiter and Io was in the palace of the palace of the sculptor Leoni at Milan, and was constantly viewed by travellers.
In the "Introduction" to The Taming of the
Shrew we find
the words :
"We'll show thee Io as she was a maid,
And how she was beguiled and surpris'd,
As lively painted as the deed was done."
which is clearly a reference to Corregio's picture
In "Shakespeare's" time there were no guide books for the use of travellers, and he could not have gathered his knowledge of Italy from such sources. There is no evidence that Will Shaksper ever left England; on the other hand Francis Bacon spent three years travelling on the continent.