"Juliet67's new Venice Page" Venice by Juliet67

Venice Travel Guide: 8,430 reviews and 22,535 photos

This extraordinary city with a perfect blend of beauty and decay offers thousands of breathtaking palaces and churches on 177 islands linked by a network of 170 canals and 400 bridges. This city really looks as good as it does on postcards, and there are no cars to spoil the aesthetic pleasure.

However, the ground on which the city was built is sinking and the water level is constantly rising, causing more flood problems every year. Many believe the twenty-first century will bring the death of Venice.

A fishing village in the Roman era, it became a political and social entity in the early Middle Ages under Byzantine influence while the mainland cities were dominated by the Longobards. The ties with the Empire of the East brought Venice centuries-long prosperity and a cultural mixture of eastern and western influences. Since the nineteenth century the city was an aristocratic republic governed by a duke (Doge, in Venetian dialect), elected and aided by the local nobility.

The great wealth brought by the Venetian traders, like Marco Polo (perhaps one of the first Westerners to visit China in the thirteenth Century, although many historians now believe he never really went) led to a building boom of palaces and churches. These are often a combination of delicate Gothic tracery and Byzantine colourism. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century Venice expanded her territories on the mainland, defeated the Turks in battle and reached her peak in political, economic and cultural power. The Venetian painters

Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian revolutionized Italian art. But in the seventeenth and eighteenth century political and economic decline set in. In 1797 Venice was annexed by Napoleon, the next year occupied by the Austrians. In 1804 Napoleon returned, and 1815-66 the Austrians again. In 1866 she became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

Today the city is mainly a tourist destination and a host to important cultural events like the Biennale d'Arte (the international contemporary art exhibitions, held every odd-numbered year since 1895, June-September) and the Venice Film Festival. The most famous annual event is the Carnevale: masked balls for the jet set, dancing on the piazza for the less fortunate. It lasts for the ten days up to Shrove Tuesday.

  • Intro Written Sep 11, 2002
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