Venezia

Unique and magnifique. Today we talk about VENEZIA La serenissima (the very serene)! There is not another city in the world like Venezia. You literally fall in love with it from the first look! The light, the reflect of the moon on the canals, the culture around you and the whole magical atmosphere will bring you directly to the middle age with love!  Birthplace of Marco Polo and Vivaldi, Venezia will enchant you with its charming beauty!

Venice (Italian: Venezia) is a city in northeast Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon. Luigi Barzini described it in The New York Times as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”. Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region. In 2009, there were 270,098 people residing in Venice’s comune (the population estimate
of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia.

History:

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city historically was the capital of the Venetian Republic. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.

Venice started as a Roman city. While there are no historical records that deal directly with the founding of Venice, tradition and the available evidence have led several historians to agree that the original population of Venice consisted of refugees from Roman cities near Venice. The last and most enduring immigration into the north of the Italian peninsula was that of the Lombards in 568, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire a small strip of coast in the current Veneto, including Venice. Today, the largest immigrant group comes from other European nations (Romanians, the largest group: 3%, South Asia: 1.3%, and East Asia: 0.9%). Venice is predominantly Roman Catholic, but because of the long standing relationship with Constantinople there is also a perceptible Orthodox presence, and as a result of immigration it now has some Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist inhabitants. There is also a historic Jewish Community in Venice. The Venetian Ghetto was the area in which Jews were compelled to live under the Venetian Republic. It is from its name, in the Venetian Language, that the word “ghetto”, used in many languages.

The chief executive during the Republic of Venice was the Doge, who theoretically held his elective office for life. In practice, several Doges were forced by pressure from their oligarchical peers to resign the office and retire into monastic seclusion when they were felt to have been discredited by perceived political failure.

Though the people of Venice generally remained orthodox Roman Catholics, the state of Venice was notable for its freedom from religious fanaticism and it enacted not a single execution for religious heresy during the Counter-Reformation. This apparent lack of zeal contributed to Venice’s frequent conflicts with the Papacy. In this context, the writings of the Anglican Divine, William Bedell, are particularly illuminating. Venice was threatened with the interdict on a number of occasions and twice suffered its imposition. The second, most famous, occasion in 1606, by order of Pope Paul V.

The Republic of Venice seized a number of places on the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200, mostly for commercial reasons, because pirates based there were a menace to trade. Situated on the Adriatic Sea, Venice always traded with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslin world extensively. By the late thirteenth century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce. During this time, Venice’s leading families vied with each other to build the grandest palaces and support the work of the greatest and most talented artists.

The Republic lost independence when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice on 12 May 1797 during the First Coalition. The French conqueror brought to an end the most fascinating century of its history: during the 18th century Venice became perhaps the most elegant and refined city in Europe, greatly influencing art, architecture and literature. Venice became Austrian territory when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio on 12 October 1797. The Austrians took control of the city on 18 January 1798. In 1805 and became part of Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy, but was returned to Austria following Napoleon’s defeat in 1814, when it became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. In 1866, following the Third Italian War of Independence, Venice, along with the rest of the Veneto, became part of the newly created Kingdom of Italy.

During the Second World War, the historic city was largely free from attack, the only aggressive effort of note being Operation Bowler, a precision strike on the German naval operations there in 1945. However the industrial areas in Mestre and Marghera and the railway lines to Padua, Trieste and Trento were repeatedly bombed. On 29 April 1945 New Zealand troops under Freyberg, reached Venice and relieved the city and the mainland, which were already in partisan hands.

Economy:

Venice’s economy has changed throughout history. In the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance, Venice was a major centre for commerce and trade, as it controlled a vast sea-empire, and became an extremely wealthy European city, a leader in political and economic affairs and a centre for trade and commerce. This all changed by the 17th century, when Venice’s trade empire was taken over by other countries such as Portugal, and its naval importance was reduced. In the 18th century, then, it became a major agricultural and industrial exporter. The 18th century’s biggest industrial complex was the Venice Arsenal, and the Italian Army still uses it today (even though some space has been used for major theatrical and cultural productions, and beautiful spaces for art). Today, Venice’s economy is mainly based on tourism, shipbuilding (mainly done in the neighbouring cities of Mestre and Porto Marghera), services, trade and industrial exports.Murano glass production in Murano and lace production in Burano are also highly important to the economy

Education:

Venice is a major international centre for higher education. The city hosts Ca’ Foscari University of Venice founded in 1868, Iuav University of Venice founded in 1926 and Venice International University an international research center founded in 1995 located on the island of San Servolo.

Movies, Popular Culture and Architecture:

Venice has been the setting or chosen location of numerous films, novels, poems and other cultural references. The city was a particularly popular setting for several novels, essays, and other works of fictional or non-fictional literature. Examples of these include Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Othello, Voltaire’s Candide and Casanova’s autobiographical History of My Life. Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella, Death in Venice, has served as the basis for an opera (Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice). The city has also been a setting for numerous other films, including three entries in the James Bond series: From Russia with Love, Moonraker and Casino Royale, and many others such as: 2010′s The Tourism, Sumemrtime starring Katharine Hepburn, Fellini’s Casanova, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and The Talent of Mr. Ripley. The city has also been the setting for music videos such as Sioux and the Banshees’ Dear Prudence and Madonna’s Like a Vergin, as well as in the video games Tomb Rider II and Assassin’s Creed II.

Venice has a rich and diverse architectural style, the most famous of which is the Gothic style. Venetian Gothic architecture is a term given to a Venetian building style combining use of the Gothic lancet arch with Byzantine and Ottoman influences.

Fashion:

n the 14th century, many young Venetian men began wearing tight-fitting multicoloured hose, the designs on which indicated the Compagnie della Calza (“Trouser Club”) to which they belonged. The Venetian Senate passed sumptuary laws, but these merely resulted in changes in fashion in order to circumvent the law. Dull garments were worn over colourful ones, which then were cut to show the hidden colours resulting in the wide spread of men’s “slashed” fashions in the 15th century.

Today, Venice is also a major fashion and shopping centre in Italy, not as important as Milan, Florence, or Rome. Roberta di Camerino is the only major Italian fashion brand to be based out of Venice. Founded in 1945, it is renowned for its innovative handbags featuring hardware by Venetian artisans and often covered in locally woven velvet, and has been credited with creating the concept of the easily recognizable status bag. Many of the fashion boutiques and jewelry shops in the city are located in the Rialto Bridge and the PIazza San Marco. At the current time, there are Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna flagship stores operating in the city.

Festivals:

The Carnival of Venice is held annually in the city, starting around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday. The carnival is closely associated with Venetian masks.

The Venice Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia) is the oldest film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata in 1932 as the “Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica”, the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. It is one of the world’s most prest

Foundation:

The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wooden piles. Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. The foundations rest on the piles, and buildings of brick or stone sit above these footings. The piles penetrate a softer layer of sand and mud until they reach a much harder layer of compressed clay. Submerged by water, in oxygen-poor conditions, wood does not decay as rapidly as on the surface. It is petrified as a result of the constant flow of mineral-rich water around and through it, so that it becomes a stone-like structure. Most of these piles were made from trunks of alder trees, a wood noted for its water resistance.

The city is often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring. Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city. This created an ever-deeper lagoon environment.

During the 20th century, when many artesian wells were sunk into the periphery of the lagoon to draw water for local industry, Venice began to subside. It was realised that extraction of water from the aquifer was the cause. The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the 1960s. However, the city is still threatened by more frequent low-level floods (called Acqua alta, “high water”) that creep to a height of several centimetres over its quays, regularly following certain tides. In many old houses the former staircases used to unload goods are now flooded, rendering the former ground floor uninhabitable.

Tourism:

Venice is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world for its celebrated art and architecture. The city has an average of 50,000 tourists a day (2007 estimate). In 2006, it was the world’s 28th most internationally visited city, with 2.927 million international arrivals that year.

Tourism has been a major sector of Venetian industry since the 18th century, when it was a major center for the Gran Tour, with its beautiful cityscape, uniqueness, and rich musical and artistic cultural heritage. In the 19th century, it became a fashionable centre for the rich and famous, often staying or dining at luxury establishments such as the Danieli Hotel and the Caffe’ Florian. It continued being a fashionable city in vogue right into the early 20th century. In the 1980s, the Carnival of Venice was revived and the city has become a major centre of international conferences and festivals, such as the prestigious Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival, which attract visitors from all over the world for their theatrical, cultural, cinematic, artistic, and musical productions.

Transportation:

The classical Venetian boat is the gondola, (plural: gondole) although it is now mostly used for tourists, or for weddings, funerals, or other ceremonies, or as ‘traghetti’ (sing.: traghetto) to cross the Canale Grande in the absence of a nearby bridge. Many gondolas are lushly appointed with crushed velvet seats and Persian rugs. Less well-known is the smaller sandolo. At the front of each Gondola that works in the city there is a large piece of metal called the ‘ferro,’ or iron. Its shape has evolved through the centuries, as documented in many well-known paintings. Its form, topped by a likeness of the Doge’s hat, became gradually standardized, and was then fixed by local law. It consists of six bars pointing forwards representing the Sestieri of the city, and one that points backward representing the Giudecca). The main public transportation means are motorised waterbuses (vaporetti), which ply regular routes along the Grand Canal and between the city’s islands. Venice is served by the Marco Polo International Airport, named in honor of its famous citizen.Venice is serviced by regional and national trains, which can connect the city to Rome in 3.5 hours and to Milan in 2.5 hours. Treviso is thirty-five minutes away.