VENICE

According to tradition Venice was founded in 421 AD. At that time a Celtic people called the Veneti lived along the coast of what is now Northeast Italy. Since 49 BC they had been Roman citizens. However, in 453 Attila the Hun invaded Italy. In terror, some Veneti fled to islands in the lagoon and built a village there. They soon formed a loose federation. Then in 568 AD a people called the Lombards invaded the mainland and many Veneti fled to the islands swelling the population.

At first Venice was controlled by the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern half of the Roman Empire, which survived the fall of Rome. However, in 726 the Venetians partly gained their independence and elected Orso Ipato as doge (their word for Duke).

In 810 the Franks tried but failed to conquer the Venetians. Meanwhile, Venice flourished as a trading center and ships sailed to and from its ports. Its population grew steadily. In 828 the body of St Mark was smuggled from Egypt to Venice. St Mark then became the patron saint of the city.

In the Middle Ages Venice continued to flourish as a port and trading center. Meanwhile, in 1199 a fourth crusade was proposed. The Venetians agreed to build a fleet of ships to ferry the Crusaders. However when the Crusader army assembled they were unable to pay for the ships. So the Venetians persuaded them to join an expedition to raid Constantinople. Venetians and Crusaders captured the city in 1204 and they looted it. Venice was also involved in other wars at that time. The Italian city of Genoa was a powerful rival to Venice and during the 13th and 14th centuries the Genoese and Venetians fought 5 wars.

Furthermore in 1348 the Black Death devastated the population of Venice. Therefore in 1403 Venice introduced quarantine. Ships arriving from infected areas had to stop at an island called Lazaretto and the passengers had to wait for 40 days before they were permitted to enter the city.

In the 15th century Venice faced a new threat, the Turks. In 1453 they captured Constantinople and afterward they advanced into Southeast Europe. In 1489 Venice came to rule Cyprus. However, in 1571 the Turks conquered the island.

Furthermore in 1508 several European countries formed the League of Cambrai and went to war against Venice. However, after 8 years of war, the map was largely unchanged.

Modern Venice

More serious for Venice was the discovery of North and South America. The result was that trade shifted away from the Mediterranean. Furthermore in 1630 Venice was struck by plague again.

During the 17th century Venice gradually lost power and influence. In the 18th century, Venice was politically unimportant although the arts such as opera flourished. Then in 1797, Napoleon dissolved the Republic of Venice. However, after his fall in 1815 Venice was handed to Austria.

The railway reached Venice in 1846. However, Venice did not prosper under Austrian rule. In 1848 revolutions swept Europe and Venice rose in rebellion against the Austrians. For a short period, Daniele Manin became president of an independent Venice. However Austrian forces bombarded the city and Venice was forced to surrender in August 1849. Yet in 1866 the Austrians were defeated by the Prussians and Venice was allowed to join the new nation of Italy.

In the late 19th century Venice flourished as a port and a manufacturing center. Then in 1933 Mussolini built a road from the mainland to Venice. During the Second World War, Venice was undamaged by fighting but the Jewish population was deported.

In 1966 Venice suffered a severe flood but the city soon recovered. Today tourism is the mainstay of Venice. However, the population of Venice has fallen sharply since the mid 19th century. Today the population of Venice is 264,000.

The romantic city of Venice is located in the Veneto region of Italy — one of the northernmost states. This ancient and historically important city was originally built on 100 small islands in the Adriatic Sea. Instead or roads, Venice relies on a series of waterways and canals. One of the most famous areas of the city is the world-renowned Grand Canal thoroughfare, which was a major centre of the Renaissance. Another unmistakable area is the central square in Venice, called the Piazza San Marco. This is where you’ll find a range of Byzantine mosaics, the Campanile bell and, of course, the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica.

Venezia is situated across a group of 118 small islands that are seperated by canals and linked by bridges, of which there are 400. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. The lagoon and part of the city are listed as a World Heritage Site.

It has developed a romantic reputation built upon by countless movies, and thanks to one startling horror film has also evolved a darker atmosphere. The city has a history dating from the sixth century, and once wasn't just a city in a larger state: Venice was once one of the greatest trading powers in European history. Venice was the European end of the Silk Road trade route which moved goods all the way from China, and consequently was a cosmopolitan city, a true melting pot.

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

Bridge of Sighs

Gondola ride

Ride a Gondola: from Bacino Orseolo

Rialto Bridge

1. Bridge of Sighs

Built in 1600, the Bridge of Sights connects the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the New Prison across the Rio di Palazzo. According to one theory the name of the bridge comes from the suggestion that prisoners would “sigh” at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window on their way to the executioner.

2. Doge's Palace

During the prosperous centuries of the Venetian Republic, the city’s magistrates, or doges, ruled the city like royalty. The Palazzo Ducale was not only the residence of the doge but the city’s center of power and its administrative hub as well. Visitors who take the Secret Itineraries tour can also walk through hidden passageways to view the private council rooms, torture chambers and the prison cell from which Giacomo Casanova made his escape in 1756.

3. Saint Mark's Basilica

Situated in St. Mark’s Square, the soaring 30-story Campanile and the massive basilica behind it are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice. Both date to the 9th century but have been rebuilt and embellished extensively over the centuries. San Marco Basilica serves as a showcase for the wealth that Venice accumulated as a military power.Behind the tomb believed to hold the remains of Saint Mark stands the altarpiece Pala d’Oro, a jewel-adorned screen of gold that is considered one of the finest works of Byzantine craftsmanship in the world.

4. Saint Mark's Camanile

One of the most recognizable landmarks in the whole of Venice, il Campanile is located on the famous Piazza San Marco and is the tallest building in the city. Towering to a height of 99 meters, the bell tower was completed in 912, although the building we see before us today was built in 1912 after it suddenly collapsed. An elevator brings visitors straight to the top of the campanile, where they have a great view over Venice and the lagoon.

5. Saint Mark's Clocktower

Located on one side of Piazza San Marco, the Torre dell’Orologio is a lovely Renaissance building. It is an important historical and architectural site in the city, as its facade is home to a delightful astrological clock. St. Mark’s Clocktower sports two bronze figures on its roof that strike out the hour on a bell; lots of other lovely little designs and figures litter its facade. A statue of the Lion of St. Mark is present, as are the Virgin and Child and the beautifully decorated clock face itself. When in Piazza San Marco, make sure to visit the Torre dell’Orologio on the hour or even go inside the building to get a glimpse of how the machinery works.

6. Piazza San Marco

As the only public square in Venice, the Piazza San Marco has been the city’s main gathering place for centuries. Surrounded by open-air cafés and landmark attractions, including San Marco Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale, it’s the natural epicenter for any visit to the City of Canals. The square is actually laid out in a trapezoid shape that widens as it approaches the basilica.

7. Ride a Gondola: from Bacino Orseolo

From this location you will ride through some of the small canals into the Grand Canal

(EUR 40 pp - 30 minute ride)

8. Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. For nearly three hundred years, it was the only way to cross the Grand Canal on foot. The stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, was completed in 1591 and was used to replace a wooden bridge that collapsed in 1524. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that some architects predicted a future collapse. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.

9. Ca'd'Oro

Originally known as the Palazzo Santa Sofia but now commonly known as the Ca’ d’Oro,the 15th century palazzo was designed by architect Giovanni Bon and his son Bartolomeo. Although the façade of this splendid structure no longer features the ornamentation that earned the place its “house of gold” nickname, the now pink-and-white building is a treasure trove of art. Located on the Grand Canal.

10. Santa Maria della Salute

Commonly called La Salute, this 17th-century church stands at the point where the Grand Canal meets the Venetian Lagoon. The white stone edifice with its massive dome was constructed as a shrine to the Virgin Mary for saving the city from a plague that killed one third of its population. In addition to the altar sculpture that depicts the “Madonna of Health” driving the demon Plague from Venice, there’s an extensive collection of works by Titian on display, including ceiling paintings of scenes from the Old Testament.

11. Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

Best known as the home of the 16th-century church of the same name, San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island located across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square.The church features a façade clad in gleaming white marble and an open and airy interior that’s refreshingly bare of over-ornamentation. The main alter is graced by two of Tintoretto’s best paintings, the “Last Supper” and “The Fall of Manna.” Visitors can ride an elevator to the top of the church’s Neoclassic bell tower to enjoy a spectacular view of Venice.

12. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Beautiful to behold, the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari more commonly goes by the name of Frari and is one of the most important religious buildings in Venice. Built out of red brick, the church is constructed in the Gothic architectural style. Although the outside is quite plain, the interior is sumptuous to gaze upon and is home to some wonderful pieces of art which includes Titian’s Pesaro Madonna.

Saint Mark's Basilica

Saint Mark's Camanile

Saint Mark's Clocktower

Piazza San Marco

Doge's Palace

Ride a Gondola: from Bacino Orseolo

Rialto Bridge

Santa Maria della Salute

Ca' d'Oro

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge

Grand Canal

Piazza San Marco and Saint Mark's Camanile

Gondola ride

Antony Palace Hotel

 

In Marcon

(4-Star)

Take the Hotel Shuttle bus to Venice Piazzale Roma (bus terminal).

EUR 6 pp one way.

Catch the Vaporetti (water bus) Line 1 from Venice Piazzale Roma to San Zaccaria.

EUR 7.50 pp one way.

Ostaria Boccadora


Strolling along the narrow sidewalks off the beaten tourist path, I was not sure if we were lost until we came across a quiet little square where we found Ostaria Boccadoro. This exquisite restaurant called Ostaria Boccadoro, is located a few narrow sidewalks off the Grand Canal. The name Boccadoro, translated as “golden mouth” from Italian, suits this place divinely.

The fanciful and refined restaurant specializes in offering the freshest and most incredible seafood. Their menu is highly dependent on what is available that day at the Rialto market.