The story of two Venetians, Nicolo and Antonio Zeno, who gave a vague account of voyages in the northern seas in the end of the 13th century, is no longer to be accepted as history.
The Rialto bridge was designed in 1178 by Nicolo Barattieri, and was carried on pontoons.
The creator of the present edifice was Francis I., under whom the architect Gilles le Breton erected most of the buildings of the Cour Ovale, including the Porte Doree, its southern entrance, and the Salle des Fetes, which, in the reign of Henry II., was decorated by the Italians, Francesco Primaticcio and Nicolo dell' Abbate, and is perhaps the finest Renaissance chamber in France.
It has some old churches, containing pictures and frescoes; in the cathedral is a large altarpiece by Nicolo Alunno.
Very inadequate use has been made of the travels of Marco Polo, Nicolo de' Conti, and of others in the east.
The cathedral has a Romanesque Gothic portal of 1332 by a Roman marble worker named Deodatus, and the interior is decorated in the Baroque style, but still retains the pointed vaulting of 1154, introduced into Italy by French Benedictines; it contains a splendid silver antependium by the 15th-century goldsmith Nicolo di Guardiagrele (1433-48).
Northern Sumatra was visited by several European travellers in the middle ages, such as Marco Polo, Friar Odorico and Nicolo Conti.
Among them was Nicolo Conti, who passed through Persia, sailed along the coast of Malabar, visited Sumatra, Java and the south of China, returned by the Red sea, and got home to Venice in 1444 after an absence of twenty-five years.
State affairs he left entirely to the unpopular Cardinal Nicolo Coscia.
Bernardino di Siena (1472) has a fine Renaissance facade by Nicolo Filotesio (commonly called Cola dell' Amatrice), and contains the monumental tomb of the saint, decorated with beautiful sculptures, and executed by Silvestro Ariscola in 1480.