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The Mayor of Casterbridge. The April 3rd Incident. A Ladder to the Sky. The World According to Garp. The Splendor Before the Dark. Ways to Hide in Winter. Horsemen of the Sands. The Hotel New Hampshire. The Travelling Cat Chronicles. Via these 10 nuggets of fact, for starters. Sacca Fisola, for example, was built by human hands in the Sixties, by adding landfill to a patch of saltmarsh adjacent to Giudecca.

It is linked to said very-much-real island by bridge — and is largely residential. True, if you look at a map of Europe, Venice is very much Italian. But the curiosities of its construction hide an international secret. The wooden piles on which the city was famously built — hard nuggets of alder which were driven down through layers of sand and mud into the compressed clay which underpins the city — were sourced from the Karst region of what is now Slovenia, and from forests further south in what are now Croatia and Montenegro.

These supports have done their job with sturdy water-resistant efficiency for centuries. Even so, Venice is notoriously sinking by up to 2mm every year. You can also blame two different winds, the Sirocco and the Bora, which blow north and north-east respectively up the torso of the Adriatic, funnelling waves into the Venetian Lagoon.

The result can be remarkably picturesque if inconvenient for anyone who lives in the city — liquid lying low, even prettily, on the surface of the Piazza San Marco. But equally, high tide can bring bad tidings. The highest documented acqua alta was on November 4 ; a fearsome cm of sea-breach. But these deluges have been occurring for as long as Venice has existed.

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Either way, Venice has at least a millennium and a half of history under its belt. Enough for 5 to have become a reality. It seems impossible to imagine in this era of global super-states and embittered elections, but Venice was once one of the most powerful players on the European stage. Between the end of the seventh century and , it was the Republic of Venice Repubblica di Venezia — an economic powerhouse which forged a mercantile empire in the Adriatic and the eastern Mediterranean.

Its wealth and prestige were largely based on trade and negotiation, but it was not averse to building fortifications to protect its interests. France, England and the Dutch Republic followed. Venice's oared galleys were at a disadvantage when it came to traversing the great oceans, and therefore Venice was left behind in the race for colonies. The Black Death devastated Venice in and once again between and However, the Venetian empire was a major exporter of agricultural products, and until the midth century, a significant manufacturing center.

During the 18th century, Venice became perhaps the most elegant and refined city in Europe, greatly influencing art, architecture and literature. Napoleon was seen as something of a liberator by the city's Jewish population, although it can be argued they had lived with fewer restrictions in Venice. He removed the gates of the Ghetto and ended the restrictions on when and where Jews could live and travel in the city. The Austrians took control of the city on 18 January But Venice was taken from Austria by the Treaty of Pressburg in and became part of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy ; however it was returned to Austria following Napoleon's defeat in , when it became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.

In and , a revolt briefly re-established the Venetian Republic under Daniele Manin. During the Second World War , the historic city was largely free from attack, the only aggressive effort of note being Operation Bowler , a successful Royal Air Force precision strike on the German naval operations in the city in March The targets were destroyed with virtually no architectural damage inflicted on the city itself.

Subsidence , the gradual lowering of the surface of Venice, has led to the seasonal Acqua alta when much of the city's surface is occasionally covered at high tide. The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wooden piles. Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. The foundations rest on plates of Istrian limestone placed on top of the piles, [39] and buildings of brick or stone sit above these footings. The piles penetrate a softer layer of sand and mud until they reach a much harder layer of compressed clay. Submerged by water, in oxygen-poor conditions, wood does not decay as rapidly as on the surface.

Most of these piles were made from trunks of alder trees, [40] a wood noted for its water resistance. The city is often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring. Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city. In , to defray the cost of flood relief, Venice introduced what could be considered the first example of a ' stamp tax '.

At first, this was to be a temporary tax, but it remained in effect until the fall of the Republic in Shortly after the introduction of the tax, Spain produced similar paper for general taxation purposes, and the practice spread to other countries. During the 20th century, when many artesian wells were sunk into the periphery of the lagoon to draw water for local industry, Venice began to subside.

It was realized that extraction of water from the aquifer was the cause. The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the s. However, the city is still threatened by more frequent low-level floods called Acqua alta , "high water" that creep to a height of several centimetres over its quays, regularly following certain tides. In many old houses, the former staircases used to unload goods are now flooded, rendering the former ground floor uninhabitable.

In May , Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi inaugurated the MOSE project Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico , an experimental model for evaluating the performance of hollow floatable gates; the idea is to fix a series of 78 hollow pontoons to the sea bed across the three entrances to the lagoon. When tides are predicted to rise above centimetres, the pontoons will be filled with air, causing them to float and block the incoming water from the Adriatic Sea.

Category: Venice Stories

The project is not guaranteed to be successful and the cost has been very high, according to a spokesman for the FAI similar to a National Trust. And pressure will come from the cruise ships to keep the gates open. The whole pensolon municipality is divided into 6 boroughs.

One of these the historic city is divided into six areas called sestieri: Each sestiere was administered by a procurator and his staff. Now, each sestiere 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 sestieri. The sestieri are divided into parishes — initially 70 in , but reduced under Napoleon and now numbering just These parishes predate the sestieri , which were created in about 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 center, 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. 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.

The hour average in January is 3. Precipitation is spread relatively evenly throughout the year, and averages millimetres The whole comune red in the Metropolitan City of Venice. The legislative body of the municipality is the City Council Consiglio Comunale , which is composed of 45 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually [ clarification needed ] to the mayoral elections.

The executive body is the City Committee Giunta Comunale , composed of 12 assessors nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor. Venice was governed by center-left parties from the s until the s, when the mayor started to be elected directly. Its region Veneto has long been a conservative stronghold, with the coalition between the regionalist Lega Nord and the center-right Forza Italia winning absolute majorities of the electorate in many elections at communal, national, and regional levels.

After a corruption scandal that forced the center-left mayor Giorgio Orsoni to resign, Venice voted for the first time in June for a conservative directly elected mayor: Each Borough is governed by a Council Consiglio and a President, elected contextually [ clarification needed ] to the city Mayor.

The urban organization is governed by the Italian Constitution art. The Boroughs have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics environment, construction, public health, local markets and exercise the functions delegated to them by the City Council; in addition, they are supplied with autonomous funding to finance local activities. Mainland terraferma , annexed with a Royal Decree, in , to the municipality of Venezia:. After the elections, five of the six boroughs are governed by the Democratic Party and its allies, and one by the center-right mayoral majority.

Venice's economy has changed throughout history. Although there is little specific information about the earliest years, it is likely that an important source of the city's prosperity was the trade in slaves, captured in central Europe and sold to North Africa and the Levant. Venice's location at the head of the Adriatic, and directly south of the terminus of the Brenner Pass over the Alps, would have given it a distinct advantage as a middleman in this important trade.

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance , Venice was a major center for commerce and trade, as it controlled a vast sea-empire, and became an extremely wealthy European city, a leader in political and economic affairs and a centre for trade and commerce. Other ports such as Genoa , Pisa , Marseille , Ancona and Dubrovnik were hardly able to make any competition to the well organized transportation of pilgrims from Venice. This all changed by the 17th century, when Venice's trade empire was taken over by other countries such as Portugal, and its naval importance was reduced.

In the 18th century, then, it became a major agricultural and industrial exporter. The 18th century's biggest industrial complex was the Venice Arsenal , and the Italian Army still uses it today even though some space has been used for major theatrical and cultural productions, and spaces for art. Today, Venice's economy is mainly based on tourism, shipbuilding mainly done in the neighboring cities of Mestre and Porto Marghera , services, trade and industrial exports.

The city is facing financial challenges. The declining native population affects the character of the city as an October National Geographic article pointed out in its subtitle: The Italian government will be responsible for losses from any uncollectible loans from the now-closed banks. Venice is an important tourist destination for its celebrated art and architecture. Estimates as to the annual number of tourists vary from 22 million to 30 million. To reduce the number of visitors that are causing irreversible changes in Venice, the agency supports limiting the number of cruise ships [66] [67] as well as creating a full strategy for a more sustainable tourism.

Tourism has been a major sector of Venetian industry since the 18th century, when it was a major center for the Grand Tour , with its beautiful cityscape, uniqueness, and rich musical and artistic cultural heritage. It continued being a fashionable city in vogue right into the early 20th century. The Lido di Venezia is also a popular international luxury destination, attracting thousands of actors, critics, celebrities, and mainly people in the cinematic industry.

The city also relies heavily on the cruise business. Venice is regarded by some as a tourist trap, and by others as a "living museum". The competition for foreigners to buy homes in Venice has made prices rise so high that numerous inhabitants are forced to move to more affordable areas of Veneto and Italy, the most notable being Mestre. The need to balance the jobs produced by cruise tourism with the protection of the city's historic environment and fragile canals has seen the Italian Transport Ministry attempt to introduce a ban on large cruise ships visiting the city.

A ban would have allowed only cruise ships smaller than 40,gross tons to enter the Giudecca Canal and St Mark's basin. As a result, the Venice Port Authority estimated an The city also considered a ban on wheeled suitcases , but settled on banning hard wheels for cargo from May In addition to accelerating erosion of the ancient city's foundations and creating some pollution in the lagoon, [48] [74] cruise ships dropping an excessive number of day trippers can make St.

Marks Square and other popular attractions too crowded to walk through during the peak season.


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Government officials see little value to the economy from the "eat and flee" tourists who stay for less than a day, which is typical of those from cruise ships. Having failed in its bid to ban oversized cruise ships from the Giudecca canal, the city switched to a new strategy in mid, banning the creation of any additional hotels; currently, there are over 24, hotel rooms. The ban does not affect short-term rentals in the historic center which is causing an increase in rent for the native residents of Venice.

Some locals were aggressively lobbying for new methods that would reduce the number of cruise ship passengers; their estimate indicated that there are up to 30, such sightseers per day at peak periods, [65] while others concentrate their effort on promoting a more responsible way of visiting the city. More than 18, people voted at 60 polling booths set up by activists and 17, chose to favor the ban on ships from the lagoon.

The population of Venice at the time was about 50, Passengers would be transferred to smaller boats to take them to the historic area. In November , an official Comitatone released a specific plan to keep the largest cruise ships away from the Piazza San Marco and the entrance to the Grand Canal. According to the officials, it will take four years in total to work on the project. However, a lobby group, ' No Grandi Navi ' No big Ships , argued that the effects of pollution caused by the ships can not be diminished. Some words with a Venetian etymology include arsenal , ciao , ghetto , gondola , imbroglio , lagoon , lazaret , lido , Montenegro , and regatta.

Venice is built on an archipelago of islands [1] formed by canals in a shallow lagoon, connected by bridges. Beyond the road and rail land entrances at the northern edge of the city, transportation within the city remains as it was in centuries past entirely on water or on foot. Venice is Europe's largest urban car-free area. Venice is unique in Europe, in having remained a sizable functioning city in the 21st century entirely without motorcars or trucks.

The classical Venetian boat is the gondola , plural: The traghetti are operated by two oarsmen; for some years there were seven such boats but by , only three remained. There are approximately licensed gondoliers in Venice in their distinctive regalia and a similar number of the boats, down from 10, that travelled the canals two centuries ago. Less well-known is the smaller sandolo. Its shape has evolved through the centuries, as documented in many well-known paintings. Its form, topped by a likeness of the Doge's hat, became gradually standardized, and was then fixed by local law.

It consists of six bars pointing forward representing the Sestieri of the city, and one that points backwards representing the Giudecca. Venice is a city of small islands, enhanced during the Middle Ages by the dredging of soils to raise the marshy ground above the tides.

The resulting canals encouraged the flourishing of a nautical culture which proved central to the economy of the city. Today those canals still provide the means for transport of goods and people within the city. The maze of canals threaded through the city requires the use of more than bridges to permit the flow of foot traffic. In , the city opened Ponte della Costituzione , the fourth bridge across the Grand Canal, connecting the Piazzale Roma bus terminal area with the Stazione Ferroviaria train station , the others being the original Ponte di Rialto , the Ponte dell'Accademia , and the Ponte degli Scalzi.

The main public transportation means are motorised waterbuses vaporetti which ply regular routes along the Grand Canal and between the city's islands. The only gondole still in common use by Venetians are the traghetti , foot passenger ferries crossing the Grand Canal at certain points without bridges. Other gondole target tourists on an hourly basis.

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Water taxis are also active. Lido and Pellestrina are two islands forming a barrier between the southern Venetian Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. In those islands, road traffic is allowed. There are bus services on islands and waterbus services linking islands with other islands Venice, Murano , Burano and with the peninsula of Cavallino-Treporti. The mainland of Venice is composed of 5 boroughs: Mestre is the center and the most populated urban area of the mainland of Venice.

There are several bus routes and two Translohr tramway lines. The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Venice, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 52 min. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 10 min, while Tram in Venice leaving Piazzale Roma.

Venice has regional and national trains, including trains to Florence 1h53 , Rome 3h33 , Naples 4h50 , Milan 2h13 and Turin 3h The Port of Venice Italian: Porto di Venezia is the eighth-busiest commercial port in Italy and is one of the most important in the Mediterranean concerning the cruise sector, as a major hub for cruise ships.

It is one of the major Italian ports and is included in the list of the leading European ports which are located on the strategic nodes of trans-European networks. In , 30,, tonnes passed through the port, of which 14,, was the commercial sector, and saw 1,, passengers. In , the port handled , containers. The airport is on the mainland and was rebuilt away from the coast. Public transport from the airport takes one to:. Some simply advertise flights to "Venice", while naming the actual airport only in small print.

It has a metre grass runway.

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The Venetian Rowing is a technique invented in the Venetian Lagoon which has the particularity to see the rower s , one or more, rowing standing looking forward. Today, the Voga alla Veneta is not only the way the Gondolier row tourists around Venice but also the way Venetians row for pleasure and sport. Many races called regata e happen throughout the year. The main football club in the city is Venezia F.


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Reyer currently plays in the Lega Basket Serie A. The men's team won the Italian Championships in , and Their arena is the Palasport Giuseppe Taliercio situated in Mestre. Luigi Brugnaro is both the president of the club and the mayor of the city. Venice is a major international centre for higher education.

Other Venetian institutions of higher education are: The city was one of the largest in Europe in the High Middle Ages , with a population of 60, in AD ; 80, in ; and rising up to ,—, in In the mid s the city's population was ,, and by almost , In , there were , people residing in Venice's comune the population estimate of , inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; around 60, in the historic city of Venice Centro storico ; , in Terraferma the Mainland ; and 31, live on other islands in the lagoon , of whom Minors children ages 18 and younger were This compared with the Italian average of The average age of Venice residents was 46 compared to the Italian average of In the five years between and , the population of Venice declined by 0.

The largest immigrant group came from other European nations: Romanians , the largest group: Venice is predominantly Roman Catholic There is also a historic Jewish community in Venice. The word ghetto , originally Venetian , is now used in many languages. The first complete and uncensored printed edition of the Talmud was printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberg in Since the end of the war the Jewish population of Venice has declined from to about