I am sharing a few pictures and videos of Venice, Italy, my favorite city in the world.
Venice has been known as “La Dominante”, “La Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements—especially during the Renaissance period—has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
Although the city is facing some major challenges (including financial difficulties, pollution, an excessive number of tourists and problems caused by cruise ships sailing close to the buildings), Venice remains a very popular tourist destination, an iconic Italian city, and has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world.
Origins of Venice
Although no surviving historical records 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 nearby Roman cities such as Padua, Aquileia, Treviso, Altino, and Concordia, as well as from the undefended countryside—who were fleeing successive waves of Germanic and Hun invasions.
This is further supported by the documentation on the so-called “apostolic families”, the twelve founding families of Venice who elected the first doge, who in most cases trace their lineage back to Roman families. Some late Roman sources reveal the existence of fishermen, on the islands in the original marshy lagoons, who were referred to as incolae lacunae (“lagoon dwellers”).
The traditional founding is identified with the dedication of the first church, that of San Giacomo on the islet of Rialto (Rivoalto, “High Shore”)—said to have taken place at the stroke of noon on 25 March 421 (the Feast of the Annunciation).
Beginning as early as AD 166–168, the Quadi and Marcomanni destroyed the main Roman town in the area, present-day Oderzo. This part of Roman Italy was again overrun in the early 5th century by the Visigoths and, some 50 years later, by the Huns led by Attila.
The last and most enduring immigration into the north of the Italian peninsula, that of the Lombards in 568, left the Eastern Roman Empire only a small strip of coastline in the current Veneto, including Venice.
Ravenna and Venice were connected only by sea routes, and with the Venetians’ isolation came increasing autonomy. New ports were built, including those at Malamocco and Torcello in the Venetian lagoon.
The tribuni maiores formed the earliest central standing governing committee of the islands in the lagoon, dating from c. 568.
The Republic of Venice and its colonial empire Stato da Màr.From the 9th to the 12th century, Venice developed into a city state (an Italian thalassocracy or repubblica marinara; there were three others: Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi). Its own strategic position at the head of the Adriatic made Venetian naval and commercial power almost invulnerable.
With the elimination of pirates along the Dalmatian coast, the city became a flourishing trade center between Western Europe and the rest of the world — especially with the Byzantine Empire and Asia), where its navy protected sea routes against piracy.
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. The doge already possessed the titles of Duke of Dalmatia and Duke of Istria
Later mainland possessions, which extended across Lake Garda as far west as the Adda River, were known as the Terraferma; they were acquired partly as a buffer against belligerent neighbours, partly to guarantee Alpine trade routes, and partly to ensure the supply of mainland wheat (on which the city depended).
In building its maritime commercial empire, Venice dominated the trade in salt, acquired control of most of the islands in the Aegean, including Crete, and Cyprus in the Mediterranean, and became a major power-broker in the Near East. By the standards of the time, Venice’s stewardship of its mainland territories was relatively enlightened and the citizens of such towns as Bergamo, Brescia, and Verona rallied to the defence of Venetian sovereignty when it was threatened by invaders.
Venice became an imperial power following the Fourth Crusade, which, having veered off course, culminated in 1204 by capturing and sacking Constantinople and establishing the Latin Empire. As a result of this conquest, considerable Byzantine plunder was brought back to Venice.
Venice’s long decline started in the 15th century, when it first made an unsuccessful attempt to hold Thessalonica against the Ottomans (1423–1430). It also sent ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks (1453). After Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II, he declared the first of a series of Ottoman-Venetian wars that cost Venice much of its eastern Mediterranean possessions.
Even more decisive than the Columbian exchange and the beginning of Atlantic trade following Christopher Columbus’s voyage of 1492 was Vasco da Gama‘s first voyage of 1497–99, which opened a sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope and destroyed Venice’s monopoly.
France, England, and the Dutch Republic quickly followed Spain and Portugal, but Venice’s oared galleys were at a disadvantage when it came to traversing the great oceans, and therefore Venice was left behind in the race for colonies.
(for more detailed information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice)