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Venice (Italian: Venezia, a city in
northern Italy, the capital of the
region Veneto, a population of
271,251 (census estimate
January 1, 2004). Together with
Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area
(population 1,600,000). Venice
has been known as the "La
"Queen of the Adriatic", "City of
Water", "City of Bridges", and
"The City of Light". It is
considered by many to be one
of the most beautiful cities in the
The city stretches across 118
small islands in the marshy
Venetian Lagoon along the
Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy.
The saltwater lagoon stretches
along the shoreline between the
mouths of the Po (south) and
the Piave (north) Rivers. The
population estimate of 272,000
inhabitants includes the
population of the whole
Comune of Venezia; around
62,000 in the historic city of
Venice (Centro storico); 176,000
in Terraferma (the Mainland),
mostly in the large frazione of
Mestre and Marghera; and
31,000 live on other islands in
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
(especially silk, grain and spice
trade) and art in the 13th century
up to the end of the 17th century.
The name is connected with the people known as the Veneti,
perhaps the same as the Eneti (Ενετοί) mentioned by Homer.
The meaning of the word is uncertain. Connections with the
Latin verb 'venire' (to come).A connection with the Latin word
venetus, meaning 'sea-blue', is possible.
Origins and history
While there are no historical records that deal directly with
the origins of Venice, the available evidence has led several
historians to agree that the original population of Venice
comprised refugees from Roman cities such as Padua,
Aquileia, Altino and Concordia (modern Portogruaro) who
were fleeing successive waves of Germanic invasions and
Huns. Some late Roman sources reveal the existence of
fishermen on the islands in the original marshy lagoons.
They were referred to as incola lacunae (lagoon dwellers).
Beginning in 166-168, the Quadi and Marcomanni destroyed
the main center in the area, the current Oderzo. The Roman
defences were again overthrown in the early 5th century by
the Visigoths and, some 50 years later, by the Huns led by
Attila. The last and most enduring irruption was that of the
Lombards in 568. This left the Eastern Roman Empire a small
strip of coast in current Veneto, and the main administrative
and religious entities were therefore transferred to this
remaining dominion. New ports were built, including those at
Malamocco and Torcello in the Venetian lagoon.
The Byzantine domination of central and northern Italy was
subsequently largely eliminated by the conquest of the
Exarchate of Ravenna in 751 by Aistulf. During this period,
the seat of the local Byzantine governor (the "duke/doux",
later "doge") was situated in Malamocco. Settlement across
the islands in the lagoon probably increased in
correspondence with the Lombard conquest of the
In 775-776, the bishopric seat of Olivolo (Helipolis) was
created. During the reign of duke Agnello Particiaco (811-827)
the ducal seat was moved from Malamocco to the highly
protected Rialto (Rivoalto, "High Shore") island, the current
location of Venice. The monastery of St. Zachary and the first
ducal palace and basilica of St. Mark, as well as a walled
defense (civitatis murus) between Olivolo and Rialto were
subsequently built here.
In 828, the new city's prestige was raised by the theft of the
relics of St. Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria, which were
placed in the new basilica. The patriarchal seat was also
moved to Rialto. As the community continued to develop and
as Byzantine power waned, it led to the growth of autonomy
and eventual independence.
Venice is world-famous for its canals. It is built on an
archipelago of 118 islands formed by about 150 canals in a
shallow lagoon. The islands on which the city is built are
connected by about 400 bridges. In the old center, the
canals serve the function of roads, and every form of
transport is on water or on foot. In the 19th century a
Venice, and an automobile causeway and parking lot was
added in the 20th century. Beyond these land entrances at
the northern edge of the city, transportation within the city
remains, as it was in centuries past, entirely on water or on
foot. Venice is Europe's largest urban car free area, unique
in Europe in remaining a sizable functioning city in the 21st
century entirely without motorcars or trucks.
The Ponte dei Sospiri, the "Bridge of Sighs".
The classical Venetian boat is
the gondola, although it is now
mostly used for tourists, or for
weddings, funerals, or other
ceremonies. Most Venetians
now travel by motorised
waterbuses (vaporetti) which
ply regular routes along the
major canals and between the
city's islands. The city also has
many private boats. The only
gondolas still in common use by
Venetians are the traghetti, foot
passenger ferries crossing the
Grand Canal at certain points
without bridges. Visitors can
also take the watertaxis
between areas of the city.
Azienda Consorzio Trasporti
Veneziano (ACTV) is the name
of the public transport system in
Venice. It combines both land
transportation, with buses, and
canal travel, with water buses
(vaporetti). In total, there are 25
routes which connect the city.
Venice is served by the newly
rebuilt Marco Polo International
Airport, or Aeroporto di Venezia
Marco Polo, named in honor of
its famous citizen. The airport is
on the mainland and was rebuilt
away from the coast; however,
the water taxis or Alilaguna
waterbuses to Venice are only a
seven-minute walk from the
Some airlines market Treviso
Airport in Treviso, 20km from
Venice, as a Venice gateway.
Some simply advertise flights to
"Venice" without naming the
actual airport except in the small
Venice is practically a no car zone, being built on the water.
Cars can reach the car/bus terminal via the bridge (Ponte
della Liberta) (SR11). It comes in from the West from Mestre.
There are two parking lots which serve the city: Tronchetto
and Piazzale Roma. Cars can be parked there 24hrs/7days a
week for around 25 euros per day. A ferry to Lido leaves from
Tronchetto parking lot and it is served by vaporetti and buses
of the public transportation.
|View of Venice from St Mark's Campanile.
Piazza San Marco in Venice, with
St Mark's Campanile in the background.
Typical masks worn during the
Carnival of Venice.
|Venice and surroundings in false color, from TERRA satellite. The picture is oriented with North at the top.
Rialto Bridge seen from a waterbus.
Venice and its Lagoon
UNESCO World Heritage Site
A 18th century view of Venice by Venetian
Here you will find a list of useful links that will direct you to the websites of Local Transport Companies,
the Venetians Museums, and Major Events. So you can organize at best your holiday in Venice.
TRANSPORTS AND PARKING
ACTV – LOCAL TRANSPORT COMPANY
Alilaguna – Public transport service in Venice: Airport-Venice-Terminal Cruise
ATVO – Public transport of passengers from Venice Piazzale Roma e Aereoport Marco Polo or
Aeroport Antonio Canova Treviso
Municipal Garage – parcheggio a pagamento a Piazzale Roma
Garage San Marco – Toll Parking in Piazzale Roma
Trenitalia – Public Trains Site
Italo Treno – Private Trains Site
MUSEUMS and GALLERIES
Musei Civici Veneziani – Venice Museums Network
(Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Cà Rezzonico, Cà Pesaro, Palazzo Mocenigo, Casa di Carlo Goldoni,
Palazzo Fortuny, Museo di Storia Naturale, Museo del Vetro, Museo del Merletto)
Cà D’Oro Gallery
La Biennale – Official Site
Peggy Guggenheim Museum
Querini Stampalia Museum
Le Stanze del Vetro (a long term joint initiative between Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung
to studying the art of glassmaking)
Casa dei Tre Oci (Photography Museum)
Palazzo Grassi e Punta della Dogana (Contemporary Art)
Teatro La Fenice – sito ufficiale
Teatro Fondamenta Nuove
La Biennale – Official Site
MAJOR EVENTS AND CULTURAL PROPOSALS
Regata Storica (Historical Regatta)
Vogalonga (Traditional Regatta)
Arte Musica Venezia