Amazing Facts about Venice
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Venice is a popular tourist destination for many travelers who are looking to escape the hectic pace of modern life. It’s also known as one of the most romantic cities in Europe, with its canals and gondola rides. However, there’s much more to this city than meets the eye! In this blog post, we’ll tell you about some lesser-known facts that will make your next trip to Venice even better.
History Facts about Venice
Venice was once known as La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia – meaning “The Most Serene Republic of Venice”. It was founded in 421 AD by refugees from the mainland fleeing barbarians who had invaded Italy during Rome’s decline. They established a symbiotic relationship between land-based nobility and seafaring merchants, giving them unprecedented economic power on both fronts due to their isolation from other European countries across the Adriatic Sea.
Being on the trade route allowed Venice to amass an incredible amount of wealth, leading to grandiose buildings like Saint Mark’s Basilica. The Venetians had a deep-seated fear that their riches would be plundered by the mainlanders and so they developed ingenious defensive strategies such as building walls around the city – some dating back to 1600 years ago.
Venice is built on a series of islands in the Venetian Lagoon, which is mostly surrounded by water. The city’s long history has given it an incredible variety of bridges and canals to explore on foot or boat.
Today Venice is a tourist destination, but it still has a population of about 50,000 people and is the capital city of Veneto region in Italy. However the population is shrinking year by year, due to the aging population and migration, and in 20 years it is expected that there will be only 30,000 people left.
Tourism has left its mark on Venice as well. The city has had to cope with the effects of mass tourism, and many wonder if these changes have been for the better or worse. Cruise ships docking in the port of Venice have left the city with more crowds, rising prices and a decline in quality of life. On top of this, mass tourism has an adverse effect on historic buildings and landscapes by adding new construction to already-packed areas.
Facts about Venice and Politics
The Doge in Veniceis one of the oldest elected positions in the world. The word “Doge” was derived from a Latin term, Duc ?rum meaning leader or commander-in-chief. A doge would be chosen by members of Venice’s nobility and then approved by popular vote to serve a lifetime term as Duke (leader)
The Doge in Venice was one of the most powerful figures in Venice’s society. The people of Venice would look to the Doge for advice on how to run their lives, and they often consulted him about issues that were not necessarily related to politics.
The Doges palace, also known as the Palazzo Ducale, is a world heritage site and you can visit it while you are in Venice.
The Doge’s Palace was originally built in AD 1172 and served as the residence of the Dux Venetiae or doge who ruled Venice until 1797 when Napoleon conquered it. The original building has been modified on several occasions since then but some rooms today still give visitors an idea about how life would have been back then.
General Facts about Venice
People often think that Venice is one island but it is actually made up of 118 islands, many of which were originally created by the dredging and filling of mud that had accumulated at the mouth of rivers.
The Grand Canal is one of Venice’s most well-known streets and has been in use since as early as 1320 when a bridge was first built over it to help people cross from one side to another. Nowadays there are about 50 bridges crossing this canal though only three can be used by vehicles. One thing you might not know is that houses on either side have no backyards because they’re all connected with each other so if someone wants an extra room they will just add onto their house instead!
No cars in Venice
In order to protect the city’s delicate architecture, Venice has banned cars. You will need to take the train to get into Venice proper or walk.
Venice was its own empire until 1797
You might know that Venice was one of the most powerful empires in its day, but did you also realise it became an independent state a lot earlier than people think? The city-state’s independence lasted from 1404 until 1797.
Venice had many battles with Constantinople for control of trade routes around the Mediterranean Sea and this is evident when looking at the two cities’ architecture which bears striking similarities to each other. You can still see remnants of Venetian power today by visiting grand buildings such as St Mark’s Basilica or Palazzo Ducale (Doge).
Venice is Sinking
The city is sinking! Because water levels have risen (due to global warming) it’s leaving much less ground than there used to be when Venice first existed centuries ago. You will find many building that are being raised when you visit Venice, or front steps that lead up and then down into a home to prevent water from entering.
Bridges in Venice
There are 417 bridges in Venice, most cross over small inlets and waterways. Some famous bridges are:
The Bridge of Sighs
This bridge is famous for its use as an entrance into Venice’s prisons. It is said to be called the Bridge of Sighs because prisoners would walk across it to prison and take one last look at Venice and sign.
The Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge in Venice is one of the most well-known bridges in the world. The bridge spans a canal that runs through Venice, Italy and connects two halves of the city: Piazza San Marco on one side and Campo di Rialto on the other. The bridge was completed in 1591 by Antonio da Ponte to replace an earlier wooden structure which had been destroyed by fire.
The Rialto Bridge is the only bridge in Venice that crosses over a canal, which is why it has such an iconic appearance. It is also one of the few bridges in Venice that actually has shops on either side, which is a rather rare feature.
The Rialto Bridge was first called the “Ponte della Moneta” or Coin Mint Bridge because of its proximity to Venice’s mint and the location where coins were tested for purity. The name Rialto comes from the Latin word for “merchandise,” and was eventually adopted by the bridge because of its location in front of Venice’s main fish market.
The Rialto Bridge has been an important symbol of Venice since it first opened more than 400 years ago, and is still a major tourist attraction today with thousands upon thousand visiting each year and jostling their way in to get a picture!
Facts about Gondolas in Venice
There are nearly 400 gondolas in Venice and have become the symbol of Venice. They capture the imagination of a city with rivers instead of roads.
The most common type of gondola is the Grand Canal Gondola which has historically been used as a taxi to transport people across the bridges or canals that connect different areas in Venice such as those connecting St Mark’s Square and Piazza San Marco with major destinations like railway stations, hotels, and cathedrals.
Not all gondolas provide transport services; a handful have been turned into showrooms for local artisan goods or restaurants which can only be accessed by boat.
In the late 19th century when motorized boats were invented, they began to replace gondola as the primary means of transportation across Venetian waters. Soon thereafter, almost every single vessel was powered with an engine and thus became known locally as vaporetto (small steamer). The motors provided more power than oarsmen and could even take on multi-passenger ferries that ran between different islands in the lagoon where roads did not exist until centuries later.
A single journey on one of these boats costs about $180 USD for around 30 minutes; this does not include waiting time at port stops along the way. However it must be noted that many tourists are more than happy to pay for this experience because it is really a special experience.
If you grab a gondola on a side street you are likely to pay less.
Facts about Venetian Masks
Venetian Masks are the most iconic symbol of Venice. They were originally used by the aristocracy to hide their identity and ward off deadly diseases. They quickly became a fashionable accessory to masquerade balls and parties. The masks were typically made of leather, silk, or velvet with a beak that would cover the wearer’s mouth (or nose), sometimes featuring elaborate decorations like sequins for an extra touch of glamour.
Venetian Masks are a fabulous souvenir from Italy. They look beautiful hanging on a wall or as a conversation piece on a table. You can find masks of all prices in Venice.
Facts about Venetian Glass
Venetian Glass is famous for its iridescence and the most popular colors are blue, yellow-green, violet or gold. The glass blowers blow a clear molten mixture of sand with soda ash into a long tube called an amoebic mold where two teams work in concert to create different shapes such as goblets, bowls, vases and plates.
Although big pieces are expensive you can take home a piece of Venice for less by visiting Murano Island and purchasing a hand-crafted, mouth blown glass souvenir. If you are only interested in a small piece you can find jewelry, home decor, beads and more that will easily fit in your carry on.
Facts about Venetian Lace
Venetian lace is an open net made of silk thread or cotton in various lengths to form patterns that are used as trimming on clothing. The design comes from the mesh being created by pulling out threads at regular intervals with one end held taut while the other is opened up into an oval shape then crossed over before drawing it tight again.
There are many places to buy Venetian lace in Venice and all around Italy. Price is dependent upon how tightly the lace is pulled and how thick it is.
I hope this has inspired you to take a trip to Italy or to learn more about the world around you with my highly rated “Travel the World from Home” available here.
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