At the margins of this issue devoted to urban utopias, Arlette and André-Yves Portnoff show in this article how a territory can gear itself up for creativity and so place itself at the heart of the socio-economic system of which it is part. They take as examples the city of Venice in its 15th- and 16th-century glory days, and the actions of an inspired individual, Aldo Manuzio, who seized on the printing technique invented by Gutenberg to publish illustrated books and works of humanist thinking. Arlette and André-Yves Portnoff show how, thanks to this innovation in the dissemination of the written word, Venice, a territory open to the world and to classical learning, underwent an exceptional level of development for Europe at that time. They also remind us how this rise of Venice was stopped in its tracks by censorship and the Inquisition, proof if any were needed of the importance of vision and values in the development of territories and their openness to the world. This is a lesson worth remembering at a time when Europe is facing a resurgence of inward-looking tendencies and obscurantist values.