WHY VISIT VENICE?
Venice is one of the most beautiful and impressive cities in the world. Even when you've seen photos and been told about it, nothing you're told equals the thrill of going through its canals and bridges. Venice is a city that is slowly discovered, possessing a particular charm. The canals of Venice are known all over the world and are their main attraction. Other cities on the planet have similar spaces, but none is as beautiful as Venice. It is not possible to visit this city and not fall in love with its gondolas, bridges and canals.
A LITTLE HISTORY OF VENICE
There are few cities like Venice where their origins mingle intensely with the real facts, the fantastic stories and the myths created as that Venice emerged from nowhere, from an island in the middle of an inhospitable lagoon where men and women took refuge from invasions from the 5th century. The confederation of the Lagoon was not independent and was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire in the mid-6th century as part of the province called Venetia. From the end of the 7th century, the government passed into the hands of a doge chosen by the population. In 742 was founded the provincial capital: Malamocco, a settlement on the Lido, the island that delimits the lagoon off the Adriatic Sea.
With the conflict between the Byzantine Empire and of the Charlemagne, Pipino, son of the Emperor Franco, attempted his conquest, attack that was rejected by the Venetians. Later the legend was created where the troops of Charlemagne were defeated by the "free", in a battle that never was fought, however from then, the Venetians remained in the atmosphere Byzantine, thing that marked its artistic manifestations. Being far from Constantinople gave it autonomy and the capital Malamocco was transferred to an island in the center of the lagoon. A transcendental fact was the arrival of the remains of the apostle St. Mark (San Marco) in 828, which started the construction of the basilica that houses them.
The small archipelago that surrounded the Rialto became the heart of the Duchy and its urban character became more and more evident. For several centuries, it specialized in navigation and developed maritime power dominating Mediterranean trade. The settlement of the Rialto ended up being the heart of Venice, joining 118 islands through 400 bridges. To drain the land, a network of over 200 canals was built which all originated from the Grand Canal, the main road that winds between the islands for 3.2 km and over the centuries was flanked by large palaces. Due to the low solidity of the terrain, the constructions developed creating a real forest of submerged pillars.
The state had a strong rivalry with other Maritime Republics such as Genoa. After many fights it extended its territories to the continent conquering Padova, Vicenza, Verona, Bergamo and Brescia. Thus it obtained the name of "The Serenissima" and began its more prosperous time. Venice lived an incredible period of artistic development, becoming during the Renaissance an important cultural center. The city provoked the interest of many artists who are the main masters of Venetian mannerism. In the 17th century the artistic tradition continued with works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Pietro Longhi in addition to the theatrical innovation of Goldoni who invented the Italian comedy, with the sculptures of Antonio Canova and the architecture of Palladio who were inspired by the neoclassical style.
WHAT IS VENICE NOWADAYS?
Nowadays Venice is an open air museum and enjoys a legendary fame for its ample patrimony as reference of the European painting. The wealth of those who had power in this city, such as the Church, politicians and certain merchants made possible the patronage of painters, architects and artists in general, starting with Gentile Bellini in the 15th century to Francesco Guardi in the late 18th century, Giovanni Bellini, Tiziano, Giorgione, Sebastiano del Piombo, Tintoretto, Veronese, Jacopo Bassano, Giambattista Tiepolo, among others. Many of these artists were not Venetians but were attracted to the charm of this city.
The immense heritage of Venice and its millennial history have made it recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987 with a special distinction for the historic center and the lagoon. Currently Venice is in constant struggle with the increasing level of the oceans and tides that could cause its complete immersion.
CURIOSITIES OF VENICE
Did you know that the gondolas are one of the most famous symbols of Venice? This typical Venetian boat is 11 meters long and weighs 600 kilograms. The godolas are manufactured following ancient artisan techniques of great complexity by master craftsmen in the "Squero" (shipyard) in San Trovaso.
Did you know that the Campanile in Venice collapsed in 1902? The Campanile or Tower of San Marco that you can now see in the St. Mark's Square is a replica built in 1912 and retains the same shape as the original one built in 1514.
Did you know that the Venice Carnival is the main event of this city? Undoubtedly, the carnival of Venice is an impressive spectacle that Napoleon Bonaparte banned during the years of French occupation for fear of conspiracies. From the 20th century, the carnival started being celebrated again attracting hundreds of tourists each year.
ATTRACTIONS IN VENICE
Venice is a unique city where architecture, canals and history are mixed in an exquisite combination. Venice is full of charm and attractions; here are some of them (see the map of Venice):
St. Mark's Square: It is one of the most beautiful places in Venice and is surrounded by illustrious buildings such as the spectacular Basilica of St. Mark (Basilica di San Marco), its 100 meters high Campanile (Bell Tower) and the majestic Ducal Palace.
St. Mark's Basilica: This Byzantine-style masterpiece built in 828 is one of the icons of the city as well as being the most important religious temple in Venice.
Doge’s Palace: a palace of Gothic architecture that stands out in several paintings of Tintoretto and Veronese, is one of the most important monuments of Venice.
Correr Museum: It houses works in painting, sculpture, furniture, naval instruments and much more. Through these works and other objects the history of Venice is narrated from its foundation until its adhesion to Italy in 19th Century.
Accademia Gallery of Venice: an essential visit for lovers of painting. Among its paintings are works by important artists such as Veronese, Canaletto, Tintoretto, Titian and Bellini.