Saturday, February 5, 2011

Beautiful Venice - italy

Venice italy

    Venice is a city in northern Italy known both for tourism and for industry, and is the capital of the region Veneto,
    with a population of about 272,000 (census estimate 1 January 2004). Together with Padua, the city is included
    in the Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area (population 1,600,000).

    The name is derived from the ancient tribe of Veneti that inhabited the region in Roman times. The city
    historically was the capital of an independent city-state. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima",
    "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals".
    Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, described it as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".
    Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe's most romantic cities.

    The city stretches across 117 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 60,000
    in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the Mainland), mostly in the large frazioni
    of Mestre and Marghera; and 31,000 live on other islands in the lagoon.

    The Republic of Venice was a 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 important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade)
    and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history.
    It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important
    role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.

While there are no historical records that deal directly with the obscure and peripheral
origins of Venice, tradition and the available evidence have led several historians to agree
that the original population of Venice consisted of refugees from Roman cities near Venice such
as Padua, Aquileia, Treviso, Altino and Concordia (modern Portogruaro) and from the undefended
countryside, 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 incolae lacunae ("lagoon dwellers"). The traditional founding is
identified with the dedication of the first church, that of San Jacopo at the islet of Rialto
(Rivoalto, "High Shore"), given a conventional date of 421.

The last and most enduring irruption in the north of the Italian peninsula, was that of the
Lombards in 568, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire a small strip of coast in the current Veneto,
and the main administrative and religious entities were therefore transferred to this remaining dominion,
centered upon the Exarchate of Ravenna, the local representative of the Emperor in the East.
The Venetian tradition of the islanders' aid to Belisarius was reported in early histories to
explain the largely theoretical link to Ravenna, and to the Eastern Emperor. New ports were built,
including those at Malamocco and Torcello in the Venetian lagoon. The tribuni maiores, the earliest central
standing governing committee of the islands in the Lagoon, dated from c. 568.[10]

The Venetians offered asylum to the Exarch Paul, who was in flight from the Lombard Liutprand.
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/dux", later "doge") was situated in Malamocco. Settlement on the
islands in the lagoon probably increased in correspondence with the Lombard conquest of the
Byzantine territories.
See also: History of the Republic of Venice

Sometime in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the lagoon elected their first
leader Ursus, who was confirmed by Byzantium and given the titles of hypatus and dux.
He was the first historical Doge of Venice.

In 775-76, 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, 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.
Winged lions which may be seen in Venice are a symbol for St. Mark.

In 810, an agreement between Charlemagne and Nicephorus recognized Venice as Byzantine territory
and recognized the city's trading rights along the Adriatic coast, where Charlemagne had previously
ordered the pope to expel the Venetians from the Pentapolis. In 828, the new city's prestige was
raised by the acquisition of the claimed 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.

The city is divided into six areas or "sestiere". These are Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro (including the Giudecca
and Isola Sacca Fisola), Santa Croce, San Marco (including San Giorgio Maggiore) and Castello (including San Pietro di Castello and Sant'Elena).
Each sestiere was administered by a procurator and his staff.

These districts consist of parishes — initially seventy in 1033, but reduced under Napoleon and now numbering just thirty-eight.
These parishes predate the sestieri, which were created in about 1170.

Other islands of the Venetian Lagoon do not form part of any of the sestieri, having historically enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy.

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.

At the front of the Gondolas that work in the city there is a large piece of metal intended as a likeness of the Doge's hat.
On this sit six notches pointing forwards and one pointing backwards. Each of these represent one of the Sestieri (the one which points backwards represents the Giudecca).

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