Venice is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It is the city for lovers who long to ride together on a gondola, moreover, it is the place where architecture enthusiasts come to see beautiful palaces. Also, art lovers admire the enchanting works of art kept in the Venice lagoon. In the past, however, Venice was also one of the world’s greatest naval powers. Established in the 5th century, the city of Venice extends over 118 small islands located in a bay of the Adriatic Sea. Moreover, it has 435 bridges and Venice canals are 176.
History of Venice and its lagoon
The origins of Venice date back to the time of the barbarian invasions, around 451 after Christ. People escaping from the barbarians found shelter in the Venice lagoon. During Roman times the population was mainly composed of fishermen, and salt workers.
At the end of the 7th century, the “Doge” ruled the inhabitants of Venice lagoon. In the Middle Ages Venice became a maritime power both from a military and a commercial point of view. From 1000 the city’s commercial power won Venice the nickname of “Serenissima”. Starting from the seventeenth century, Venice culture and artists flourished. Only in the eighteenth century, Venice experienced a political and military decline. The famous Carnival of Venice dates back to the 10th century and is the most important Italian carnival. Venice lagoon today is an undisputed jewel and a unique city in the world.
The Venice Lagoon
The Venice lagoon is the largest in Italy, with an area of 550 square km. Its area is covered for 67% by water, 25% by a sandbank, and 8% by Venice’s lagoon islands.
Ofter there are issues with high water levels in the lagoon. Venice can be flooded, due to the phenomenon of the “acqua alta” or high waters.
Tourism in Venice
Venice attracts approximately 30 million people every year The major attractions of the city continue to be the Grand Canal, the Basilica di San Marco, Piazza San Marco, and the Bridge of Sighs. A day in Venice is not enough to see everything, however, you can still experience the real essence of the city.
A two days holiday on the Venice lagoon is just enough to explore the most relevant places. If travelers have more time they can also visit the luxurious Lido di Venezia, where the Venice film festival takes place. Other famous day trips from Venice are the islands of Murano ad Burano. It is not rare to see also people spending their honeymoon in Venice and taking a romantic gondola tour. For art lovers, Venice is dotted with museums. Book the accommodation in advance, because especially during the peak season, hotels in Venice are full! You can also check out how to use water transport in Venice for a faster getaround.
The island of Murano is located in the Venetian Lagoon. A Vaporetto links the island to Venice. World-famous for its blown glass, Murano is a lovely little island where to spend an afternoon learning about glass-making. Moreover, it is the perfect place to purchase splendid souvenirs.
The Romans founded Murano, which was a fishermen’s village. Today, Murano is internationally known for its blown glass. This tradition started on the island because of Venice’s fear of fire. To avoid fires to their wood structures, Venetians moved their glassblowers to Murano in 1291. Eventually, glassmakers were seen as some of the most important people on the island, moreover, they could even carry swords and were protected by the Venetian State. Often, children of glassmakers were married into rich Venetian families.
The island of Burano is located about 7 kilometers from Venice. It is possible to reach it by motorboat or vaporetti. The present population of Burano is approximately 2,200 people. Burano is famous for its colorful houses, which attract artists to the area, like the designer Philippe Starck, who owns three. of them. Visitors to Burano will not want to miss the Chiesa di San Martino, the lace making museum and the Oratorio di Santa Barbara.
The island of Giudecca is also located in the Venetian Lagoon and is part of the sestiere di Dorsoduro. Giudecca is located to the south of Venice’s central islands and is divided by the Giudecca Canal and San Giorgio Maggiore.
The first name of the island was “Spinalunga or “long thorn”, probably due to its shape. The Latin “Judaica” (“Judaean”), would be translated as “Jewry.” However, there is no evidence that a large community of Jewish people lived on the island. Giudecca became an industrial hub in the 20th century. Shipyards, factories, and movie studios were all located on the island, afterwards, it started to decline after World War II. Today, Giudecca is an exclusive residential area, famous also for its churches and dock area.
While Venice might attract millions of people every year, the beauty of its lagoon and surrounding islands means there is much more to see in the area than just the city itself. It is, in fact, the life within the lagoon, and the vestiges of a past made of tradition and splendor, that keeps attracting people to this beautiful part of Italy.