Hotel Caorle - Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy, the
capital of the region Veneto, a population of 271,367 (census
estimate January 1, 2004). The name is connected with the people
known as the Veneti, perhaps the same as the Eneti. The meaning
of the word is uncertain. Connections with the Latin verb
'venire' (to come) or (Slo)venia are fanciful. A connection with
the Latin word venetus, meaning 'sea-blue', is possible.
While there are no historical records that deal directly with
the origins of Venice, the available evidence has led several
historians to agree that the original population of
Venice comprised refugees from Roman cities such as Padua,
Aquileia, Altino and Concordia (modern Portogruaro) 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
incola lacunae (lagoon dwellers).
From the ninth to the twelfth century Venice developed
into a city state (an Italian thalassocracy or
Repubblica Marinara, the other three being Genoa, Pisa, and
Amalfi). Its strategic position at the head of the Adriatic made
Venetian naval and commercial power almost invulnerable. The
city became a flourishing trade center between Western Europe
and the rest of the world (especially the Byzantine Empire and
the Islamic world). The Republic of Venice seized a number of
locations on the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200,
mostly for commercial reasons, because pirates based there were
a menace to trade.
Venices long decline started in the 15th century,
when it first made an unsuccessful attempt to maintain
Thessalonica against the Ottomans (1423-1430). It also sent
ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks
(1453). After the city fell to Sultan Mehmet II he declared war
on Venice. It lasted thirty years and cost Venice much of its
eastern Mediterranean possessions. Next, Spain discovered the
New World. Then Portugal found a sea route to India, destroying
Venices land route monopoly. France, England and Holland
followed them. Venices oared galleys could not traverse the
great oceans. It was left behind in the race for colonies.
The principal square of Venice is Piazza San Marco
(often known in English as St Mark's Square). The Piazza
originated in the 9th century as a small area in front of the
original St Mark's Basilica. It was enlarged to its present size
and shape in 1177, when the Rio Batario, which had bounded it to
the west, and a dock, which had isolated the Doge's Palace from
the square, were filled in. The rearrangement was for the
meeting of Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Frederick
Barbarossa. The Piazza has always been seen as the centre of
Venice. It was the location of all the important offices of the
Venetian state, and has been the seat of the archbishopric since
the 19th century. It was also the focus for many of Venice's
festivals. It is a greatly popular place in Italy even today.
Other points of interest nearby:
Caorle, the lagoon
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