Introduction to Venice

Introduction to Venice. A great starting point to develop your understanding and enjoyment of this historic city and its lagoon environment. If you are planning a trip, or on limited time once there; this post will maximise your appreciation and enjoyment of this unique aquatic city.

  • Brief History
  • The Veneto (“Venezia Euganea”)
  • The Metropolitan City of Venice
  • The Historic Island City (“Centro Storico”)
  • Districts and Parishes
  • House numbering system
  • Origin of the Name.
  • The Language of Venice
  • The Climate of Venice
  • Venetian Wells – The Source of Drinking Water
  • Traditional food and drink of Venice and the Veneto
  • Flooding and Subsidence, Pollution and Algal Growth.
  • Acqua Alta and the MOSE Project.
  • Architecture, Art and Music
  • Places named after Venice
  • World-wide Venetian style Campaniles
  • Links Section to all my 200+ posts and for convenience, a selection of posts to get you started and on your way to be a Venice expert! 

 


 

Introduction to Venice – History

 

Its history is one of resourcefulness in the face of adversity – trade and exploration supported by naval prowess and strategic warfare; architectural and artistic brilliance. The development of the fleet drove its rise to supremacy. This legendary city grew rapidly, overtaking Rome and freedom from the dictates of the Vatican; to emerge as the leading economic power in the Mediterranean Basin. It was also the “Gateway to the Orient”; a home to peoples from around the world – Byzantines, Italians, Jews, Arabs, Slavs, Armenians and Turks. Perhaps the original “multicultural city”. This made possible the technical, scientific and cultural progress; so evident in Venetian architecture, painting, literature and music.

For several millennia, low-lying islands in the lagoon (many only about 1m above sea-level), were sparsely populated by fishermen, hunters and salt collectors. Between the 4-5th centuries, some islands particularly in the northern lagoon, were settled by mainland immigrants fleeing from successive waves of foreign marauders; like the Visigoths and Attila the Hun, following the fall of the Roman Empire. The network of islands and channels, that would form the city of Venice; then began to develop firstly in the Rialto (Riva alto – high bank or shore) area.

It reached its peak of power and influence in the 15-16th C Renaissance period; after which it began a slow decline, after losing its domination of existing trading routes and the opening of new, especially by the Portuguese. Conquered by Napoleon in the late 18th C and twice under Austrian control, the city finally became part of the new United Italian State. Following Napoleon’s fall, decline and decadence characterised the 18-19th C “Romantic” period and the influx of travellers, writers, poets and artists.

At its peak, Venice may have had a population of up to 200,000 inhabitants. It suffered three terrible periods of the plague; each time losing around a third of its population. Now, the population has reduced to less than 55,000 and is dependent on tourism, having over 20 million visitors annually.

A declining population and workforce, subsidence, pollution, global warming and ironically too many visitors that strain its infrastructure; are all problems that are having to be addressed. A new balance between living and working must be found. Venice financially dependent on tourism needs to reassert itself; to avoid becoming some sort of historic theme park. Its future probably lies as a Centre of Excellence for culture, academia and business.

It is ironic that historically for over a millennium the lagoon has ensured its security and survival, yet due to our changing climate; increasingly frequent high tides and flooding, now threatens this historic city.

Let us hope that the new tidal barriers, now completed and occasionally activated; will secure the city’s future for decades to come.

 

Introduction to Venice – The Veneto 

The Veneto Is a region of northern Italy, comprised of the seven provinces: Venezia, Padova, Rovigo, Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, and Belluno. Venice (Venezia), is the capital city of the Veneto, whilst the other six districts have principal cities, which also share the same name.

It is bounded by the regions of Trentino–Alto Adige (north), Emilia-Romagna (south), Lombardy (west), Austria (northeast) and Friuli–Venezia Giulia (east) and the Adriatic Sea (south-east).

The Veneto has an area of 7,090 square miles (18,364 square km) and the population in 2008 was 4,832,340. The northern limit of Veneto is marked by a mountainous area, including the Dolomites; Lake Garda on the southwest and the Carnic Alps to the northeast.

The southern part consists of a wide fertile plain extending to the Gulf of Venice and drained chiefly by the Po, Adige, Brenta, Piave, and Livenza rivers; the mouths of which form an extensive delta area with shore lagoons.

Above: the map shows the relationship of the Veneto, to the other regions of Northern Italy and their capital cities.

 

Veneto is a chief producer of corn (maize), wheat, sugar beets, and hemp. Dairy-cattle fodder and fruit (apples, pears, peaches, cherries) and wine grapes are also grown. There is much irrigation and considerable land has been reclaimed, especially in the Po River delta. After World War II, large estates were expropriated for distribution to smallholders. The region uses hydroelectric power, from the fast-running streams of the Alpine area. The larger towns of the plain have textile, silk, lace, hemp, paper, foundry and shipbuilding industries; as well as sugar refining and food processing. The region has a dense road and rail network and is connected by motorway to Milan and Turin.

The Ponte della Libertà (Liberty Bridge), road bridge connects the historical centre to the mainland part of the Metropolitan City of Venice. Designed in 1932 by engineer Eugenio Miozzi, it was opened by Mussolini in 1933, as the “Ponte Littorio” (Lictor’s bridge) – a name used during the Fascist era, for several other Italian bridges. At the end of World War II it was renamed to honour the end of the Fascist dictatorship and of the Nazi occupation.

The bridge is the only vehicular access to the historical centre of the Venice, that terminates in the Piazzale Roma, the bus depot. The northern end reaches mainland Venice and becomes the “Via Libertà”, which divides the city’s boroughs of Mestre and Marghera. It is 3.85 km (2.39 m) long and was built alongside the Venice Railway Viaduct, that has two tracks each way and was constructed in 1846.

Above: the seven districts of the Veneto

 

Introduction to Venice. The Metropolitan City of Venice.

Somewhat confusing is that, what we call Venice, is the historic island city of the lagoon and is just one borough or municipality of six; that comprises the Metropolitan City of Venice. It was first created by the reform of local authorities in 1990 and then established by the Law in 2014 and introduced on the 15th June 2015. The Metropolitan City of Venice, is headed by the Metropolitan Mayor (Sindaco metropolitano) and by the Metropolitan Council (Consiglio metropolitano). Therefore, the new mayor of the capital city, was the first mayor of the Metropolitan City. Each borough, is governed by a council (Consiglio) and a president, elected every five years.

Lagoon

  • Venezia (Historic city) – Murano – Burano
  • Lido–Pellestrina

Mainland

  • Favaro Veneto
  • Mestre–Carpenedo
  • Chirignago–Zelarino
  • Marghera

The legislative body of the Borough (Comune) is the City Council (Consiglio Comunale); which is composed of 36 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Administration (Giunta Comunale); composed of 12 assessors nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor.In 2020, around 258,685 people resided in greater Venice, the Municipality or the “Comune di Venezia;” of whom under 55,000 live in the historical island city of Venice and the rest on the mainland (terraferma).

  • Ca’ Loredan on the Grand Canal, is Venice’s City Hall.
  • Palazzo Corner, is the seat of the Metropolitan City of Venice.
  • Palazzo Ferro Fini, is the seat of the Regional Council of Veneto.

Together with the cities of Padua and Treviso, Venice is also included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

 

Introduction to Venice. The Historic Island City (“Centro storico”).

Venice (Italian: Venezia and Venetian: Venexia) and the other lagoon islands, sit upon a layer of alluvial silt washed into the sea by the rivers flowing eastward from the alps across the Veneto plain, with the silt being stretched into long banks, or “lidi”, by the action of the current flowing around the head of the Adriatic Sea, from east to west. It is built on a group of about 118 small islands in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The lagoon opens into the Adriatic Sea at three points, which are now protected by MOSE Barrier Project: Lido (northern), Malamocco (middle) and Chioggia (southern) inlets.


Above. Aerial view of Central and Eastern lagoon, with Lido entrance showing MOSE project underway, but the two barriers not yet in place. Note rail/road bridge from Venice to the mainland and Marco Polo International Airport at top right.

Below. Aerial view of Venice.

 

Originally, people living on the the lagoon islands, were itinerant fishermen and salt producers, living in small wooden structures. The story of Venice, begins in the 5th century A.D, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; when barbarians from the north were raiding Rome’s former territories.

Larger numbers of people, from the mainland fleeing several waves of barbarian invasions, initially found refuge on the sandy islands of Torcello, Iesolo, and Malamocco, in the coastal lagoon. They learned to build by driving closely spaced piles consisting of the trunks of alder trees (of the birch family), a resinous wood noted for its water resistance. They were driven into the sand and mud (silt), until they reached a much harder layer of compressed clay and covered with timber sheets. Istrian limestone blocks were placed on top; forming the building foundations (below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The secret to the longevity of Venice’s wooden foundation is the fact that they are submerged underwater. The decay of wood is caused by microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria. As the wooden support in Venice is submerged underwater, they are not exposed to oxygen; one of the elements needed by microorganisms to survive. Gradually, salt and minerals of the lagoon water, impregnated the timber, giving a stone-like consistency to the piles.

An example of the sheer number of piles required for a substantial building, the famous Santa Maria della Salute church, at the southern end of the Grand canal; has 1,106,657 wooden stakes, each measuring 4 metres, supporting the foundation structure. This process took two years and two months to be completed. On top of that, the wood had to be obtained from the Veneto and forests of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro and transported to Venice via water. It is difficult to imagine the scale of the undertaking.

Above a stone platform sitting on these, the normal building material is brick, although the Renaissance facades were usually faced with Istrian stone, a fine limestone that is not strictly a marble. This came by sea from quarries in Istria (now Croatia). It also had the advantage that it withstood the salt in the coastal air and floods; much better than marble. Other stones with different colours were often used for contrast, especially a red stone from Verona. Marmorino or cocciopesto stuccos, made from grinding limestone, brick and terracotta fragments, was the typical finish for interior walls and sometimes exteriors.

Flat ceilings supported with timber beams were preferred to vaults; which might crack as the building settled on the pile foundations. Typically two layers of floorboards, placed at right angles to each other, sat on the joists. Different types of wood were used for different purposes and by the Renaissance period, the nearer mainland forests were becoming depleted and the cost of timber had risen considerably.

Chimneys, Roof Terraces (Altana) and Aerials are a characteristic feature of the Venetian skyline; along with the typical red-ochre coloured roof tiles, that cover the city. The distinctive and very large Venetian chimney-pots, with a terracotta covered top like an inverted cone with air draw-holes at the base; were designed to stop dangerous sparks from escaping and starting fires.

Roof Terraces or “Altana” are another feature of the elevated skyline, thought to have originated in the Middle East. The terraces are seen above the roof of the house, the floor-boards supported on pillars and enclosed by wood or iron balustrades. Access to the roof terrace is made, via a small attic stairway. Altana are valuable outdoor spaces, to keep cool during warm summer evenings, to socialise and dry the washing. In the past these terraces were highly appreciated. Ladies could not walk freely in Venice, so they were used to talk, embroider and lighten their hair (emulating the flowing golden hair of women, as depicted in the paintings by the great Venetian artist Titian). Another advantage was that they could avoid the smell and filth of the walkways. Platform shoes were a Venetian invention, especially useful before streets were fully paved.

Introduction to Venice. Districts and Parishes.

Venice has six districts or “sestieri” namely: San Marco (including San Giorgio Maggiori), San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro (including the Guidecca and Isola Sacca Fisola) and Castello (including San Pietro di Castello and Sant’Elena).

Sestiere is derived from the word sesto (a sixth) and is thus used for towns divided into six districts. Each district was administered by a procurator and his staff. Nowadays, each district is a statistical and historical area, without any degree of autonomy. The six fingers or phalanges of the “ferro” on the bow of a gondola represent the six districts.

Total area in hectares: 646.80 – Pop: 60,746 – Total no of Islands:126

Cannaregio – Area in hectares: 121.36 – Pop: 16.950 – No of Islands: 33

Castello – Area in hectares: 173.97 – Pop: 14,813 – No of Islands: 26

San Marco – Area in hectares: 54.48 – Pop: 4,145 – No of Islands: 16

Dorsoduro – Area in hectares: 161.32 – Pop: 13398 – No of Islands: 30

San Polo – Area in hectares: 46.70 – Pop: 9,183 – No of Islands: 7

Santa Croce – Area in hectares: 88.57 – Pop: 2,257 – No of Islands: 14

 

The districts consist of parishes, initially seventy in 1033, but reduced under Napoleon and now numbering thirty-eight. These parishes predate the sestieri, which were created in about 1170. Each parish exhibited unique characteristics, but also belonged to an integrated network.

The community chose its own patron saint, staged its own festivals, congregated around its own market centre, constructed its own bell towers and developed its own customs. Other islands of the Venetian Lagoon do not form part of any of the sestieri, having historically enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy.

Introduction to Venice. House numbering system.

Each sestiere, has its own house numbering system. Each house has a unique number in the district, from one to several thousand, generally numbered from one corner of the area to another; but not usually in a readily understandable manner.

Although there are six districts, it is possible to cross the city on foot in under an hour and indeed it is often quicker to walk than catch a waterbus. The zones do not really have strict divisions, but they are characterised in different ways, often not particularly obvious to the casual observer.

Introduction to Venice. Origin of the Name.

The name is derived from the ancient “Veneti” people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for over a millennium, from 697 to 1797. It was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto

It was an important centre of commerce: especially silk, grain, salt and spice and of art, from the 13th to the end of the 17th century. The city-state of Venice is considered to have been the first real international financial centre, emerging in the 9th century and reaching its greatest prominence in the 14th century.

This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. For centuries Venice possessed numerous territories along the Adriatic Sea and within the Italian peninsula, leaving a significant impact on the architecture and culture that can still be seen today.

In 1797, Napoleonic forces brought the sovereignty of Venice to an end, with the fall of the Republic. Two periods of Austrian rule followed, until in 1866; when the city became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

Venice has been known as “La Serenissima”, “La Dominante”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”.

Introduction to Venice. The Language of Venice.

The Venetian language is unique, despite modern worldwide cultural influences, as it remains original and is used by all classes of society. It should not be considered a mere local dialect, since during the Republican era, it was used in official documents and in a considerable body of literature. Certainly, the development of the Venetian language adds to the feel of the city’s uniqueness, its magical atmosphere and sense of place. You can read all about its development and usage in my post “The Language of Venice”, in the links section below.

Introduction to Venice. Climate

Venice has a mid-latitude, four-season climate with cool, damp winters and warm, humid summers. The 24-hour average temperature in January is 3.3 °C (37.9 °F), and for July this figure is 23.0 °C (73.4 °F). Rainfall is spread relatively evenly throughout the year and averages 748 millimetres (29.4 in) and snow is not uncommon between late November and early March. During the most severe winters, the canals and parts of the lagoon can freeze; but with the warming trend of the past 30–40 years, the occurrence has become rarer.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F)    6.6
(43.9)
   8.6
(47.5)
 12.5
(54.5)
  16.1
(61.0)
  21.5
(70.7)
  24.9
(76.8)
  27.7
(81.9)
  27.5
(81.5)
  23.5
(74.3)
 18.0
(64.4)
 11.6
(52.9)
  7.4
(45.3)
17.2

 

Jan Feb Ma Apr Mar Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average rainfall mm (inches)   47.0
(1.85)
  48.3
(1.90)
  48.8
(1.92)
 70.0
(2.76)
  66.0
(2.60)
  78.0
(3.07)
  63.9
(2.52)
  64.8
(2.55)
 72.0
2.83)
  73.5
(2.89)
  65.5
(2.58)
  50.6
(1.99)
 748.4
(29.46)

 

Venetian Wells – The Source of Drinking Water.

As the population of Venetians in the Rialto area developed, there was one item lacking to ensure survival; a plentiful supply of fresh drinkable water. The lack of fresh water could normally be solved through the construction of typical draw-wells to access underground water sources. Venice, however, was built on islands of low-level marshland in a salt water lagoon; the normal way of obtaining fresh water was impossible.

The Venetian’ solution was to developed a water system to collect and filter rainwater, which could be drawn as usual through a well-head; the most visible part of the system. It relied on public, private and church owned wells; focusing on the careful maintenance and rigorous control of the access and the use of the water. This system allowed the city to grow and thrive over many centuries, until eventually; water was piped in from the mainland. Please see my post “Venetian wells – Drinking Water”, in the links section below.

Traditional food and drink of Venice and the Veneto.

The Veneto is comprised of seven regions namely: Venezia (Venice), Belluno, Roviga, Treviso, Padua, Verona and Vincenza. Its cuisine, can be broadly divided into three categories, based on geography and to an extent; by its main traditional carbohydrate sources.

  • 1. the city of Venice, other lagoon islands and the mainland coastal areas,
  • 2. the plains
  • 3. the front range hills and mountains.

Other factors, include the incredible fertility and productivity of the land and abundance of its waters; both saline and fresh.

In general, traditional Venetian food can be characterised by its authenticity and the use of the finest (yet sometimes humble) main ingredients; combined in simple recipes and without being strongly flavoured or hot. Specialities often reflect the Venetian Republic’s success, in the development of its mercantile and overland trade; into the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Silk Route into Asia and the Orient.

Salt and vinegar, was used for preserving essential rations for naval and merchant vessels. Exotic spices and herbs, were used for flavouring food and as ingredients in medicinal and cosmetic preparations; that also became a significant part of its trade revenue.

Finally, from the end of the 18th century, some new specialities were introduced, following the French and Austrian occupation. See my post ” Cuisine of the Veneto”, for a great introduction to its traditional culinary delights; in the links section below.

Flooding and Subsidence, Pollution and Algal Growth.

Historic floods in Venice are not only a result of the climate changes but poor infrastructure and mismanagement. The main factors, is the combination of exceptional high tides and the direction of prevailing strong wind.

Since the 1920’s, the development of commercial harbour and oil refinery at Porto Marghera; deep water channels have been dredged to provide access to the facilities. New man-made islands have replaced a third of the wetlands. This together with the vagaries of global warming and changing weather patterns, have caused an increasing incidence of “acqua alta” or high- water flooding of the city; especially during the winter period.

Tapping of the region’s water table on the mainland, also had the effect of causing the sinking of Venice and it is thought that the city is now 25 cm lower compared to the sea level; than at the beginning of the 20th century. However, over the last fifty years this aspect has significantly slowed and is not of such concern.Industrial pollution has caused damage to the buildings and artwork and a high level of respiratory problems.

The high phosphorus and nitrogen content of the Lagoon has in the past stimulated algal growth; affecting the both water quality and the depletion of marine life. Speed restrictions on motorised boats have been introduced, to limit the damage to underwater piles on which the city is built and for safety. The number of massive cruise ships, visiting the city is a growing concern.

Acqua Alta and the MOSE Project.

The lagoon is sustained by a delicate ecosystem; channels and shallows kept clean by the Adriatic tides sweeping in, whilst the rivers feeding into it have been diverted, in order to avoid silting up. Until the 20th century the system essentially worked. Over the last 50 years, the issue of “acqua alta” or high-water flood tides; has increasingly threatened the future of Venice. When tides are predicted to rise above 110 cm, the pontoons will be filled with air, causing them to float and block the incoming water from the Adriatic Sea. On 3 October 2020, the MOSE was activated for the first time, in response to a predicted high tide event. Hopefully, it has secured this great historic city for future generations.

Funding and development for the construction of huge mobile steel barriers or gates, across the three lagoon openings to control the tides; was approved in 1994. The project is continuing in the tradition of the Venetian Republic, which intervened in the lagoon to protect against natural threats. Ancient Venetians, built sea walls and diverted two major rivers; which to them were huge engineering projects. In fact, the Venetian Republic actually suffered more from flooding than now; as they had difficulty in predicting it and people were regularly killed.

The goal of the project was twofold: to protect the islands in the Venetian lagoon from exceptional high water, while maintaining and restoring the delicate ecological equilibrium. The erosion of the littorals, resulted in the gradual disappearance of beaches, while the environmental deterioration led to a loss of typical habitats such as salt marshes and shallows. (Definition of littoral: a coastal region, especially the shore zone between high tide and low tide points).

The whole project was therefore much more than an installation of mobile barriers, which was a technically challenging project; as it also implements solutions for these environmental issues.

The stated aims of the project were much wider than just the barrier system and are as follows:-

  • Installation of mobile barriers at lagoon inlets to protect against floods. There are 4 barriers of approximately 200 metres wide, at the inlets of Lido (2 barriers), Malamocco and Chioggia. Each barrier consists of approx. 20 gates, which can be manipulated individually.
  • Reconstruction of existing and new beaches and coastal dunes and construction of outer breakwaters to defend from sea storms and stop the erosion.
  • Raising of quaysides and public paved zones in the lowest parts to defend urban centres from floods.
  • Recreation and protection of salt marshes to safeguard the natural habitats and to guarantee the essential ecological biodiversity in the lagoon.
  • Improving the water and sediment quality by isolating polluted land from the canal shores in Porto Marghera and from dumps and by creating special wetlands between the mainland and the lagoon to filter the water.

To get a full appreciation of the issues involved, please see the links section below, to my three related posts: “Acqua alta and the MOSE project”, “The Great Venetian Flood of 1966” and “The Venetian Lagoon and its Ecosystem”.

Architecture, Art and Music.

The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venice is renowned for its uniqueness, beauty, architecture, art and music-making. It is known for several important artistic movements, especially during the Renaissance and 18th century periods and has played an important role in the history of instrumental and operatic music. Venice is the birthplace of the famous Baroque composers, Tomaso Albinoni and Antonio Vivaldi.

It is a major cultural centre and has been ranked many times the most beautiful city in the world. It has been described by The Times as “one of Europe’s most romantic cities” and by The New York Times as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man“.

The city today is still facing challenges, the biggest of which is that of excessive tourism. Venice remains a very popular tourist destination, said to have over 20 million visitors per annum and is its major source of income. The issue is that many tourists are “day-trippers”, including those disembarking from cruise ships; that do not contribute that much to the city’s income. Many of the staff servicing this industry, commute daily from the mainland. Property ownership, maintenance costs and rentals are extremely high and for many being “car free” is a major inconvenience.

In tourist hot-spots during the busier season, attractions such Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge; can be overcome by the sheer weight of humanity and its modern cultural icon the “selfie”. Yet within a few minutes, peace and solitude can be found in the city’s maze of back streets and canals.

Architecture.

Venice has rich and varied architectural styles, typified in its wonderful churches and palaces; ranging from the Byzantine, Venetian Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque (including Rococo) and Neoclassical periods.

1. A fusion of Byzantine forms overlaying a Latin (Roman) Christian foundation, is Venice’s earliest architectural style.

Several states contemporary with the Byzantine Empire, were culturally influenced by it, without always being part of it. These included:

  • The “Kievan Rus” (a medieval state made up of East Slavic people; that since the 17th century has evolved into Russia, Belarusse and Ukraine.
  • Some non-Orthodox states like the Kingdom of Sicily, which had been a Byzantine possession with a large Greek-speaking population until the 10th century.
  • The Republic of Venice, which separated from Byzantium in the 9th century. Constantinople with its grandiose and ambitious architecture; naturally shaped the Venetian aesthetic.

Few of the Veneto-Byzantine basilicas that remain feature exotic, high domes and magnificent golden mosaics. Vast open spaces are created by the use of high rounded supporting arches. Their shimmering mosaics with their graphic simplicity, bring light and warmth into these churches.

One of the best examples, is the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta on the island of Torcello, which was once a centre of power in the Venetian Lagoon and the parent island from which Venice itself was initially populated. Built in the 7th century, it claims to be the oldest church in the lagoon. Its highlights are the ceiling with exposed wooden tie-beams and the mosaics, said to be the earliest in the lagoon. The basilica anticipates some of the features, that were fully developed later in St Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

The magnificent St Mark’s Basilica, is a copy of the church in Constantinople that no longer exists. Its floorplan is a classic Greek-cross design with five domes, one over each of the four arms and one over the central crossing, with all of them resting on pendentives. Its monumental mosaics, the oldest of which were executed in the late 11th century by Byzantine mosaicists; are the quintessential Veneto-Byzantine decoration.

Contrary to this, Venice’s secular buildings from the earliest Veneto-Byzantine style only survives in fragments. Surviving examples of this style include, Ca’ da Mosto; a 13th-century palace and the oldest on the Grand Canal, just metres north of the Rialto Bridge. Nearby, the 14th-century Palazzo Loredan/Ca’ Farsetti duo, have only their lower floors in Veneto-Byzantine style, with the rest dating from later periods and styles. All of these early palaces were originally termed “casa-fondaci”; homes where the ground floors served as merchant warehouses, easily accessible by water. Upstairs were offices and accommodation.

Other examples, are the Fondaco dei Turchi; Venice’s historic lodgings of merchants from the Ottoman Empire and considered to be one of the finest examples of the city’s early Veneto-Byzantine architecture. In reality, it is an example of Byzantine revival due to its large-scale 19th-century restoration, which included rebuilding of Its two lateral towers, removed in earlier periods. Venice with its intricate canal system and lack of space, requiring closely packed buildings; did not require security features or fortification, such as moats or high towers.

Venice hosted other fondaci including: the Fondaco dei Tedeschi for the German traders near the Rialto Bridge (now a department store and roof viewing terrace) or the Fondaco dei Persiani for the Iranians, (now a hotel better known as the Palazzo Ruzzini).

2. Gothic Style.

Is the particular form of Italian Gothic architecture typical of Venice, originating in local building requirements, with some influence from Byzantine architecture and Islamic architecture. It reflects Venice’s trading network and very unusually for medieval architecture, the style is most characteristic in secular buildings and the great majority of those seen today are secular.

The beginning of the style probably goes back no further than the 13th century and dominated the 14th century. Because of the city’s conservatism Venetian Gothic buildings, especially smaller palaces, continued to be built well into the second half of the 15th century and Venetian Renaissance architecture very often retained reminiscences of its Gothic predecessor.

Venetian palaces were built on very constricted sites, and were tall rectangular boxes with decoration concentrated on the front facade. The best-known examples are the Doge’s Palace and the Ca’ d’Oro. They both feature the most iconic characteristics of the style:

• loggias of closely spaced small columns, with heavy tracery with quatrefoil openings above,
• decoration along the roofline,
• polychrome (coloured) patterning to plain wall surfaces.
• Ogee arch, capped with a relief ornament and ropework reliefs.

Gothic architectural forms lingered for longer in the architecture of the city, as it moved into the Renaissance period. In the 19th century, inspired in particular by the writings of John Ruskin, there was a revival of the style, part of the broader Gothic Revival movement in Victorian architecture. The best-known examples are the Doge’s Palace and the Ca’ d’Oro. They both feature the most iconic characteristics of the style: Gothic architectural forms lingered for longer in the architecture of the city, as it moved into the Renaissance period.

In the 19th century, inspired in particular by the writings of John Ruskin, there was a revival of the style, part of the broader Gothic Revival movement in Victorian architecture.


The huge woodcut “View of Venice” by Jacopo de’ Barbari, 1500, was considered the definitive work depicting the city for much of the century.

3. Venetian Renaissance.

Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period beginning between the early 15th and the early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe.

However, Renaissance architecture came later to Venice and not really before the 1480’s; after being first developed in Florence. Throughout the period, the city mostly relied on architects imported from elsewhere in Italy, mainly due to demand. The Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities and then to Europe and elsewhere. The term early and late renaissance styles relate to the degree of transition of constructional elements and decoration style from earlier medieval forms.

Compared to the Renaissance architecture of other Italian cities, there was a degree of conservatism, especially in retaining the overall form of buildings, which in the city were usually replacements on a confined site, in an already built up city, that was particularly prone to fires. In particular the Rialto district was almost destroyed in 1514, and the Doge’s Palace had bad fires in 1483, 1547, and 1577, although the Gothic exterior facades survived. The almost permanently busy building activity in Venice, with many skilled workers abounded; however,  major buildings often took ten to twenty years or more to completion.

Most of the great Venetian palaces were built in the 16th century and date from the apex of Venetian power wealth.  The Venetian elite had a collective belief in the importance of architecture in bolstering confidence in the Republic and overt competition between patrician families was discouraged, in favour of “harmonious equality”; which applied to buildings as to other areas. Though visitors admired the rich ensembles, Venetian architecture did not have much influence beyond the republic’s own possessions before Andrea Palladio (1508–1580), whose style of Palladian architecture became hugely influential sometime after his death, not least in the English-speaking world.

They are beautiful incarnations of the Renaissance ideal of emulating classical (ancient Roman and Greek) forms.  These buildings reached monumental proportions, attesting to the great wealth of their owners and were often particularly luxuriantly ornamented. In addition to the references to classical forms, they are characterised by perfect symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the architecture of Classical antiquity and in particular, the architecture of Ancient Rome.

A frequent element of these palaces is the “Palladian Window”.  Named after Andrea Palladio (1508-80) one of the most famous Renaissance architects who institutionalised their use.  They always consist of a large central arched window in a grouping flanked on either side by narrow shorter rectangular windows with or without small square windows on top of the rectangles.  These window groups are often faced with a porch across the entire group and/or a unifying pediment over the group.

Another later form called the “Serliana” (after the architect Serlio), consisting of a round arch flanked by two colonnades; became the most popular solution for portego apertures and replaced the galleries.

Defence was not a major concern for Venetian palaces, which in any cases often had canals on some sides. The main access for light was often from the front facade, which therefore typically has more and larger windows than palaces elsewhere. It was not uncommon to add extra storeys to older style buildings.

Early buildings. The Venice Arsenal’s main gate, the Porta Magna, was built in the late 1450s and was one of the first works of Venetian Renaissance architecture. It was based on the Roman Arch of the Sergii, a triumphal arch in Pula in Istria, then Venetian territory but now in Croatia. From around the same date, the Arco Foscari, a triumphal arch for the ceremonial entrance in the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace; is classical in its lower levels, but becomes a forest of Gothic pinnacles by the top.

Architects and their principal buildings

Most Venetian architects were not natives of the city, or even mainland territories of the Republic; but the large budgets available in Venice tempted architects from all over north and central Italy.

Sculptors also worked as architects. Apart from Sansovino, the most important of these are the Lombardo family, especially Pietro Lombardo (1435–1515)  and Alessandro Vittoria (1525–1608).  Not all architects had complete control of the building construction. Many were appointed as a “managing architect” (protomaestro or proto); who reported to a supervising committee.

Sculptors also worked as architects. Apart from Sansovino, the most important of these are the Lombardo family, especially Pietro Lombardo (1435–1515)  and Alessandro Vittoria (1525–1608).  Not all architects had complete control of the building construction. Many were appointed as a “managing architect”, (protomaestro or proto); who reported to a supervising committee.

Mauro Codussi (1440–1504) and assisted by his son Domenico, from Lombardy. Their work respects and alludes to many elements of the Venetian Gothic and harmonises well with it. Work includes: the upper storeys of San Zaccaria, San Giovanni Grisostomo (1497), Santa Maria Formosa (1492), and the Procuratie Vecchie on the Piazza San Marco, he probably designed St Mark’s Clocktower (from 1495), and worked with sculptors to rebuild the Scuola Grande di San Marco after a fire in 1485. A fire in 1483 destroyed the east wing of the Doge’s Palace, and Codussi won the competition to replace it. His palazzi include Ca’ Vendramin Calergi (begun 1481) and Palazzo Zorzi Galeoni.

Other architects active in the early Renaissance period include Giorgio Spavento (active from 1489 or before, d. 1509) and Antonio Abbondi, (aka Scarpagnino (died 1549), who was active from at least 1505. San Sebastiano, Venice, begun 1506, is an early work. Both of these had many government commissions.

Jacopo Sansovino from Florence (1486–1570), also an important sculptor; fled to Venice after the catastrophic Sack of Rome in 1527. In 1529, he was appointed chief architect (or Proto) to the Procurators of San Marco. He first gained prominence for his plan to stabilise the domes of San Marco, by wrapping iron bands around them. His future plans for Venetian patrons, was considered definitive for the entire subsequent history of Venetian architecture. He was responsible for the appearance of much of the area around the Piazza San Marco; designing the Biblioteca Marciana (1537 onwards) and mint or La Zecca (Mint) on the Piazzetta di San Marco. His palazzi include Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande (1532 onwards) and Palazzo Dolfin Manin from 1536. The Biblioteca Marciana is considered his undoubted masterpiece and a key work in Venetian Renaissance architecture; perhaps influencing  Palladio, who saw it being built.

Michele Sanmicheli (1484–1559) from Verona, was hired by the state as a military architect. Most of his work was fortifications and military or naval buildings around the Venetian territories, especially in Verona; but he also built a number of palaces that are very original and take Venetian architecture into Mannerism.

Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). The principal architect of the later Venetian Renaissance, who was also the key figure in later Italian Renaissance architecture, and its most important writer on architecture. His work in Venice includes the two large churches of San Giorgio Maggiore (1566 onward), and Il Redentore (1577 onward). He actually designed relatively little in the city itself, designed many villas in the Veneto, in Vicenza and a series of famous country houses for the Venetian elite.

Palladio’s style was later developed in the Palladian architecture of both Britain and America and his Venetian window, with a central arched top; took this very Venetian element around the world. The World Heritage Site of the City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto; includes 23 buildings in the city, and 24 country villas.

Vincenzo Scamozzi (1548–1616) from Vicenza, only moved to Venice in 1581; the year after Palladio’s death. He designed the Procuratie Nuove on the Piazza San Marco and completed many of Palladio’s incomplete projects. His pupil Baldassare Longhena (1598–1682), who was actually Venetian, in turn completed Scamozzi’s projects and while he introduced a full-blown Baroque architecture to Venice; many buildings, especially palaces, continued to develop a Baroque form of the Venetian Renaissance style.

(NOTE.The Republic of Venice continued to peak through the start of the Baroque Age, but two major factors lead to its eventual decline. The first was opening up of alternative trade routes, initially by the Portuguese; who developed trade into the Indian ocean and beyond; via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The Discovery of the New World, led to a massive shift in European trade, which was now focused on the Americas rather than the Mediterranean. This weakened the Venetian trading network significantly, and lead to a great loss of income. Secondly, there were continued losses of Venetian territory to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans took over Crete in 1699 and pushed the Venetians out of Greece entirely by 1718. It had lost most of its maritime power, was lagging behind its rivals in political importance, and its society had become decadent, with tourism increasingly the mainstay of the economy. But Venice remained a centre of fashion. The Republic ultimately ended, with the dissolution of the republic in 1797.)

4. Baroque and Rococo (late baroque) styles.

Baroque architecture is a highly decorative and theatrical style which appeared in Italy in the early 17th century and dominated by Roman architects, that gradually spread across Europe. It is often defined in terms of early, high and late periods. About 1730, an even more elaborately decorative variant called Rococo; appeared first in France and flourished in Central Europe.

It was originally introduced by the Catholic Church, (particularly by the Jesuits), as a means to combat the Reformation and the Protestant church with a new architecture that inspired surprise and awe. It reached its peak in the High Baroque (1625–1675), when its use spread to churches and palaces in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Bavaria and Austria. In the Late Baroque period (1675–1750), it reached as far as Russia and the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America.

Baroque architects took the basic elements of Renaissance architecture, including domes and colonnades, and made them higher, grander, more decorated and more dramatic. The interior effects were often achieved with the use of quadratura, or trompe-l’œil painting combined with sculpture; the eye is drawn upward, giving the illusion that one is looking into the heavens. Clusters of sculpted angels and painted figures crowd the ceiling.

Light was also used for dramatic effect; it streamed down from Cupolas, and was reflected from an abundance of gilding. Twisted columns were also often used, to give an illusion of upwards motion, and other decorative elements occupied every available space. In Baroque palaces, grand stairways became a central element.

Rococo (Late Baroque). An especially ornate variant, appeared in the early 18th century in France and was first called Rocaille; then Rococo in Spain and Central Europe. The sculpted and painted decoration covered every space on the walls and ceiling.

It can be argued that Venice produced the best and most refined Rococo designs. At the time, the Venetian economy was in decline. It had lost most of its maritime power, was lagging behind its rivals in political importance, and its society had become decadent, with tourism increasingly the mainstay of the economy. But Venice remained a centre of fashion.

Venetian rococo was well known as rich and luxurious, with usually very extravagant designs. Unique Venetian furniture types included the “divani da portego”, and long rococo couches and “pozzetti”; objects meant to be placed against the wall. Bedrooms of rich Venetians were usually sumptuous and grand, with rich damask, velvet, and silk drapery and curtains, and beautifully carved rococo beds with statues of putti, flowers, and angels. Venice was especially known for its beautiful girandole mirrors, which remained among, if not the, finest in Europe. Chandeliers were usually very colourful, using Murano glass to make them look more vibrant and stand out from others; and precious stones and materials from abroad were used, since Venice still held a vast trade empire. Lacquer was very common, and many items of furniture were covered with it, the most noted being “lacca povera”, in which allegories and images of social life were painted. Lacquerwork and Chinoiserie were particularly common in bureau cabinets.

Due to international high demand for Venetian Rococo paintings, artists played an important role in Venetian cultural landscape; keeping a leading position in European art scene. Inspired by the Parisian “salons”, young Venetian artists could market their artworks at exhibitions organised in the Piazza San Marco.

Significant Venetian baroque buildings are:

  • Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Overlooking the southern end of the Grand Canal, it was built as a votive temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary; to celebrate the end of the Plague, which had decimated more than a third of the Venetian population. Baldassarre Longhena was the architect.
  • Ca’ Rezzonico is a magnificent palace on the Grand Canal in Venice. Today, it is a museum, the “Pinacoteca Egidio Martini” .is dedicated to the 18th century; where you can see works of art made by great masters. It was built by Baldassarre Longhena since 1649 commissioned by the noble family Bon.
  • The Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, (St. Mary of the Lily, referring to the flower classically depicted as being presented by the Angel Gabriel during the Annunciation), is commonly known as Santa Maria Zobenigo after the Jubanico family who founded it in the 9th century. The church is situated on the Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo, west of the Piazza San Marco. It was rebuilt by Giuseppe Sardi for Admiral Antonio Barbaro between 1678 and 1681 and has one of the finest Venetian Baroque facades in all of Venice.
  • The Church of San Moisè in Venice is dedicated to Moses, like the Byzantines, the Venetians tended to canonise Old Testament prophets. It also honours Moisè Venier, who paid for it to be rebuilt in the 9th century. The elaborate Baroque facade is covered in carvings.
  • The Church of di Santa Maria Assunta, known as I Gesuiti, is a church in Venice, in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Campo dei Gesuiti, not far from the Fondamenta Nuove. It is named by the religious order of the Society of Jesus, commonly known by the term of the Gesuiti (Jesuits).
5. Neoclassical style.

Neoclassicism first gained influence in Paris, through a generation of French art students trained at the French Academy in Rome.  The first phase was expressed in “Louis XV1 style”, whilst the second phase was termed “Empire style”; favoured during the Napoleonic period. Beginning in the mid-18th century, taste moved away from the highly decorative elements of the Baroque and returned to the harmonious elements of classical architecture.

Intellectually, Neoclassicism was symptomatic of a desire to return to the perceived “purity” of the arts of Rome and to a lesser extent sixteenth-century Renaissance Classicism, the source for academic Late Baroque. It was characterised by grandeur of scale, simplicity of geometric forms, Greek (especially Doric) or Roman detail; dramatic use of columns and a preference for unadorned walls. This new taste for antique simplicity, represented a general reaction to the excesses of the Rococo style.

Palazzo Grassi. The last great palace to be built in Venice was the Palazzo Grassi and stands alone in Venice as a the most majestic example of neoclassical architecture.  It was built in 1766, just before the Venetian Republic collapsed in 1797 and attributed to Giorgio Massari (1687-1766).  It was probably started around 1748 and finished in 1772; after Massari’s death. It led the trend in neoclassical architecture, that lasted through the beginning of the 20th century and became the backbone of the monumental civic building of most of the world’s great cities.

Palazzo Patriarcale is a palace in the Piazzetta dei Leoncini, next to St Mark’s. It is the seat of the Patriarchate of Venice. After the fall of the Venetian Republic, St Mark’s Basilica became a cathedral and the Palazzo Patriarcale was built as the new headquarters of the Patriarchate of Venice (former headquarter was San Pietro di Castello). In 1837, architect Lorenzo Santi started work on the building, with  construction ending in 1850. From 1894 to 1903, the building was the residence of Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (1835-1914), who later became Pope Pius X.

The Chiesa di San Nicolò da Tolentino, commonly known as the “Tolentini”, is a church in the district of Santa Croce. It lies in a Campo of the same name and along the Rio dei Tolentini, near to the Papadopoli garden. The Theatines order arrived in Venice in 1527 after the Sack of Rome. The church was begun in 1590 by Vincenzo Scamozzi, but only completed only in 1714. It is a large church with a huge freestanding Corinthian portico, the only one in Venice, designed by Andrea Tirali.

Santa Maria Maddalena in Cannaregio, or simply “La Maddalena” is in the district of Cannaregio. A religious edifice was on the site as early as 1222, owned by the Balbo patrician family. The church was restored in the early 18th century, but in 1780 it was entirely rebuilt under a design by Tommaso Temanza; with a circular plan inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The most notable feature is the portal, with masonic symbols over the door (probably connected to the Balbo’s membership in the Knights Templar). The interior has a hexagonal plan with four side chapels and a presbytery.

San Simeone Piccolo, is a church in the district of Santa Croce, on the Grand Canal; facing the Railway Station. It was one of the last churches built in Venice, in one of its poorer sestieri. Built in 1718–38 by Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto, the church shows the emerging eclecticism of Neoclassical architecture, with its raised grand temple front portico, modelled on the Pantheon. The single large dome, references Longhena’s “Salute” and the centralised circular church design and the metal dome recalls Byzantine models and San Marco.

San Maurizio is a Neoclassical-style, deconsecrated church located in the campo San Maurizio in the sestiere of San Marco.  The present structure is mainly a design of the Neoclassic architect Giovanni Antonio Selva. The church now houses the “Museo della Musica”, a museum of baroque instruments, composers and music of Venice. A church was present at the site before the first reconstruction in the 16th century and a further reconstruction in 1806 by the La Fenice’s architect Giannantonio Selva. It once housed a studio of a young Antonio Canova. Near the church was built the Scuola degli Albanesi.

The Palazzo Civran is a Neoclassical style palace, located on the Grand Canal in the district of Cannaregio.  The palace was rebuilt around 1700 by the architect Giorgio Massari, atop an earlier Gothic structure. It had belonged to the Civran family, since the 14th century and even as late as 1797. It now is home to the Guardia di Finanza.

Palazzo Civran Grimani is a Neoclassical palace, located in the San Polo district; overlooking the Grand Canal. The present palazzo was built in the 18th century on the site of a previous 15th century Gothic building The palace was renovated by an unknown architect, but there are suggestion it was by Giorgio Massari. In 1818, the Grimani family moved there, sold it and eventually mansion, bought it back and kept it until modern times. The mayor Filippo Grimani lived here between 1895 and 1916. The building has been recently renovated. The facade is of post-Palladian style, continuing on the perpendicular side, albeit with simpler forms. The main facade presents many of the distinctive features of the 18th-century Neoclassical architecture. The massive ground floor has rusticated decoration. The noble floor offers seven single-light windows and the full-length front balcony, which also continues on the side facade. Other important elements include the water portal and the string course cornices. At the back there is a large fine garden.

Music.

The city of Venice has played an important role, in the development of western music. It was the early centre of music printing; Ottaviano Petrucci began publishing music almost as soon as this technology was available. His publishing enterprise helped to attract composers from all over Europe, especially from France and Flanders. with founder Adrian Willaert from West Flanders; employed as “maestro di cappella” from 1527 until his death. Successors included Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi.

Venice was also the home of many noted composers during the baroque period, most notably Antonio Vivaldi and Tomaso Albinoni. Today, Venice is the home of many fine ensembles such as: the “Orchestra della Fenice“, “Rondò Veneziano“, “Interpreti Veneziani” and the “Venice Baroque Orchestra”. The “Museo della Musica”, is in the San Maurizio church in the San Marco district, closer to the Academy bridge than Piazza San Marco. It is a veritable jewel; that can take the visitor on a journey into the history of music. See “Museo della Musica” in the links section below.

Art.

The most important periods in Venetian art history, refer to the distinctive style of art that developed in Renaissance Venice, during the 15th and 16th centuries. A celebratory lust for life, a thriving commercial port linking the East to the West and the influence of High Renaissance ideals of beauty and grandeur; led artists to inject a bold new sumptuousness into the world of art. In the 18th Century, in contrast to political decline; Venetian painters were in remarkable demand all over Europe. Flourishing craftsmanship attracted people and buyers from all over the world and their art had become by the mid-18th century; a commodity primarily for export.

The 18th century in Venice, saw the transition from “Baroque” into the “Roccoco” styles in art and this post describes the most significant artists of that time. My two comprehensive and illustrated posts, cover these most important periods: “The Venetian School of Art” and “Venetian Artists-18th Century”, in the links section below.

Brief guide to where to find some of the most important Venetian Artists.

14th century. Paulo Veneziano (c1300-62): Gallerie dell’Accademia
15th century. Antonio Vivarino (c1415-84): San Zaccaria / Gentile Bellini (1429-1507): Gallerie Dell’Accademia – Frari – Santi Giovanni e Paulo Vittore / Carpacio (c1460-1525): Gallerie Dell’Accademia – Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavioni / Giorgioni (c 1476/78-1510): Gallerie Dell’Accademia.
16th century. Titian (Tiziano Vecellis, 1487-1576): Frari – Santa Maria del Salute – Gallerie Dell’Accademia / Tintoretto (Jacobe Robusti, 1518-94): Scuola Grande di San Rocco – Madonna dell’Orto – Gallerie Dell’Accademia / Veronese (Paulo Calieri, 1528-88): Gallerie Dell’Accademia – San Sebastiano.
18th century. Giambatista Tiepolo (1696-1770): Scuola Grande dei Carmini – Ca’ Rezzonico – Gesuati / Canaletto (1697-1768): Gallerie Dell’Accademia – Ca’Rezzonico (few paintings left in Venice) / Francesco Guardi (1712-93): Gallerie Dell’Accademia – Ca’Rezzonico

 

Places named after Venice.

The name “Venezuela” is a Spanish diminutive of Venice (Veneziola). Many additional places around the world are named after Venice – for instance in the USA:

Venice, Los Angeles, home of Venice Beach
Venice, Alberta, in Canada
Venice, Florida, city in Sarasota County
Venice, New York
Venice, Louisiana

World-wide Venetian style Campaniles

The original Campanile inspired the designs of other towers worldwide, especially in the areas belonging to the former Republic of Venice. Almost identical, albeit smaller replicas of the campanile exist in the Slovenian town of Piran and in the Croatian town of Rovinj; both were built in the early 17th century.

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower in Manhattan (photo left):, modelled after the bell tower of Saint Mark’s. It was designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon Le Brun & Sons.

Other later replicas, include the clock tower at King Street Station in Seattle; North Toronto Station; Brisbane City Hall, Australia; the Rathaus (Town Hall) in Kiel Germany; the Daniels & Fisher Tower in Denver; the Campanile in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Sather Tower, (nicknamed the Campanile), the University of California campus, Berkeley; 14 Wall Street and the right-hand bell-tower of St. John Gualbert in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Custom House Tower in Boston, MA; the Italianate-style tower at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, New York: the Sretenskaya church in Bogucharovo, Tula region, Russia.

Replicas of the current tower sit on the complex of The Venetian, the Venice-themed resort on the Las Vegas Strip; its sister resort The Venetian Macao; in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot; a theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista; Florida and in the nearly empty New South China Mall in Dongguan, China.

Finally, others which are modelled on the Campanile in St. Mark’s Square are in Taguig in Manila, Philippines; the Venetian Towers in Barcelona, Spain and a chimney at the India Mill, Darwen in Lancashire.


 

Links (interiorexterior)

Everything you need to know about the history and culture of Venice.    Blog Post Index page

Here are some of my most relevant posts to get you started:

The Venetian Lagoon and its Ecosystem  Everything you need to know about the Venetian Lagoon and its Ecosystem. It is the most important survivor of a system of estuarine lagoons, that in Roman times extended from Ravenna north to Trieste. During the 5th to 6th century, the lagoon and its islands gave security to people under Roman rule; fleeing Hun and Lombard invaders.

Introduction – Districts and Attractions     Introduction and links to posts, giving general information and the main attractions; on all six districts or “sestieri”.

The Grand Canal of Venice          Bridges of the Grand Canal      Learn all about the Grand Canal, its architecture and its bridges.

The introductory Venice Museum Guide; together with individual posts on my list of “Top 25 recommended Museums”. Each post contains: comprehensive descriptive information, their official websites with the latest information about visiting and any current health regulations required for entry, together with links to all the featured museums . Also included, are links to my own relevant published posts, as well as attractions in each of Venice’s six districts. All the background information necessary; to widen the experience and enjoyment of your visit.

“Venetian Palace Architectural Styles: Byzantine – Venetian Gothic – Renaissance – Baroque – Neoclassical.”   Learn how to differentiate all the different palace architectural styles.

Getting Around – Basic Terminology Useful Apps for Venice   Two useful posts for getting around, to maximise your time and enjoyment of this great city.

“Venetian Wells – Drinking Water”   Normal methods for drawing underground fresh water in Venice, could not be used; because of the lagoons salinity. This post describes the development of a rain-water collection and filtration system; that allowed the city to grow and thrive.

Cuisine of the Veneto  This comprehensive post, covers the traditional cuisine of the Veneto and its seven regions, namely: Venezia (Venice), Belluno, Roviga, Treviso, Padua, Verona and Vincenza.

The Language of Venice   The Language of Venice is unique, despite modern worldwide cultural influences, as it remains original and is used by all classes of society. It should not be considered a mere local dialect, since during the Republican era, it was used in official documents and in a considerable body of literature.

Acqua alta and the MOSE Project The Great Venetian Flood of 1966   Two comprehensive and very popular posts.

Venetian Artists-18th Century (Introduction)  – plus 14 posts of the most significant artists The Venetian School of Art (15-16th century)  These comprehensive posts, cover the most important periods in Venetian art history and the main artists involved.

19 – Museo della Musica   It is a veritable jewel box; that can take the visitor on a journey into the history of music.

Venice Architectural Biennale          Since 1893 the city hosts the Venice Biennale, which includes from 1980, the Venice Architecture Biennale; held in odd years, with the mission to showcase and develop architectural proposals

The Venice Art Biennale              The Venice Music Biennale, aka the “International Festival of Contemporary Music”, was founded in 1930 and runs annually in September/October.

The Venice Music Biennale          The Venice Art Biennale, known as the International Art Exhibition, was founded in 1895 and takes place every two years, in odd-numbered years; normally running from late April until November.

Great You Tube Video: Venice and Its Lagoon – Rick Steves’ Europe


 

Introduction to Venice      Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice

Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice

Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice

Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice

Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice     Introduction to Venice

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