Venice (/ˈvɛnɪs/ VEN-iss; Italian: Venezia, [veˈnɛttsja] (About this sound listen); Venetian: Venesia, [veˈnɛsja]) is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated across a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges, of which there are 400. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, and artwork. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a World Heritage Site.
In 2014, 264,579 people resided in Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico). Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), with a total population of 2.6 million. PATREVE is a statistical metropolitan area without any degree of autonomy.
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. 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."
The Republic of Venice 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, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. The City State of Venice is considered to have been the first real international financial center which gradually emerged from the 9th century to its peak in the 14th 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. After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Republic was annexed by the Austrian Empire, until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, following a referendum held as a result of the Third Italian War of Independence. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi. Venice has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world as of 2016. The city is facing some major challenges, however, including financial difficulties, erosion, pollution, subsidence and an excessive number of tourists in peak periods.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Venice has a Humid subtropical climate (Cfa), with cool winters and very warm summers. The 24-hour average in January is 3.3 °C (37.9 °F), and for July this figure is 23.0 °C (73.4 °F). Precipitation is spread relatively evenly throughout the year, and averages 748 millimetres (29.4 in).
Venice is an important tourist destination for its celebrated art and architecture. The city gets up to 60,000 tourists per day (2017 estimate). Estimates as to the annual number of tourists vary from 22 million to 30 million. This creates overcrowding and environmental problems in its canal ecosystem. By 2017, UNESCO was considering the addition of Venice to its "In-Danger" list which includes historical ruins in war-torn countries. To reduce the number of visitors that are causing irreversible changes in Venice, the agency supports limiting the number of cruise ships as well as creating a full strategy for a more sustainable tourism.
Cruise ship passing bacino San Marco
Cruise ships access the port of Venice through the Giudecca Canal.
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. In the 19th century, it became a fashionable centre for the "rich and famous", often staying or dining at luxury establishments such as the Danieli Hotel and the Caffè Florian. It continued being a fashionable city in vogue right into the early 20th century. In the 1980s, the Carnival of Venice was revived and the city has become a major centre of international conferences and festivals, such as the prestigious Venice Biennale and the Venice Film Festival, which attract visitors from all over the world for their theatrical, cultural, cinematic, artistic, and musical productions.
Today, there are numerous attractions in Venice, such as St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, the Grand Canal, and the Piazza San Marco. 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. The Cruise Venice Committee has estimated that cruise ship passengers spend more than 150 million euros (US $193 million) annually in the city according to a 2015 report. Other reports, however, point out that such day trippers spend relatively little in the few hours of their visits to the city.
Venice is regarded by some as a tourist trap, and by others as a "living museum". Unlike most other places in Western Europe, and the world, Venice has become widely known for its element of elegant decay. 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 cruise tourism revenues with the protection of the city's fragile canals has seen the Italian Transport Ministry attempt to introduce a ban on large cruise ships visiting the city. The ban would have allowed only cruise ships smaller than 40,000-gross tons to enter Venice's Giudecca Canal and St Mark's basin. In January, a regional court scrapped the ban, but global cruise lines indicated that they would continue to respect it until a long-term solution for the protection of Venice is found. The city considered a ban on wheeled suitcases, but settled on banning hard wheels for cargo from May 2015. P&O Cruises has removed Venice from its summer schedule, Holland America moved one of its ships from this area to Alaska and Cunard is reducing (in 2017 and further in 2018) the number of visits by its ships. As a result, the Venice Port Authority estimates an 11.4 percent drop in cruise ships arriving in 2017 versus 2016, leading to a similar reduction in income for Venice.
Gondoliers on the Grand Canal
In addition to accelerating erosion of the ancient city's foundations and creating some pollution in the lagoon, 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. Having failed in its bid to ban oversized cruise ships, the city decided in mid 2017 to ban the creation of any additional hotels; currently there are over 24,000 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.) The city had already banned any additional fast food "take-away" outlets to retain the historic character of the city; this is another reason for freezing the number of hotel rooms. Less than half the millions of annual visitors stay overnight, however. Some locals are more aggressively lobbying for methods that would reduce the number of cruise ship passengers; their estimate indicates that there are up to 30,000 such sightseers per day at peak periods, while other concentrate their effort on promoting a more responsible way of visiting the city.
An unofficial referendum to ban the huge cruise ships was held in June 2017. More than 18,000 people voted at 60 polling booths set up by activists and 17,874 chose to favor the ban the ships from the lagoon. The population of Venice is around 55,000. The organizers of the referendum back a plan to build a new cruise ship terminal at one of the three entrances to the Venetian Lagoon. Passenger would be transferred to smaller boats to take them to Venice proper.
Cinema, media, and popular culture
See also: Venice in media
Venice has been the setting or chosen location of numerous films, games, works of fine art and literature (including essays, fiction, non-fiction, and poems), music videos, television shows, and other cultural references.
Examples of films set or at least partially filmed in Venice include:
The Comfort of Strangers (1990)
The Italian Job (2003)
Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice (1971)
Three James Bond films: From Russia with Love, Moonraker, and Casino Royale (2006)
The Tourist (2010)
Summertime (1955), starring Katharine Hepburn
Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now
The Wings of the Dove
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
A Little Romance
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Dangerous Beauty (1988), the biography of Veronica Franco, the 16th century beauty
Penguins of Madagascar
Pokémon: Heroes (2005), is set in a city based on venice but called differently and has slightly different sights. (they are practically the same)
Blame it on the Bellboy
The city is the setting for parts of such video games as Assassin's Creed II and Tomb Raider II. It has also served as inspiration for the fictional city of Altissia, in Final Fantasy XV. The city also serves as a setting for The House of the Dead 2.
In literature and adapted works
The city is a particularly popular setting for essays, novels, and other works of fictional or non-fictional literature. Examples of these include:
Casanova's autobiographical History of My Life,
Ben Jonson's Volpone (1605–6),
Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti crime fiction series and cookbook, and the German television seriws based on the novels
Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven (1982),
Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Chosen (historical fantasy or alternate history) A large portion of the novel takes place in a city known as La Serenissima. It is an alternative-history version of Venice, complete with masquerades, canals and a Doge.
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (ca. 1596–1598) and Othello,
Philippe Sollers' Watteau in Venice, and
Additionally, Thomas Mann's novella, Death in Venice (1912), was the basis for Benjamin Britten's eponymous opera.
The city has been the setting for music videos of such songs as Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Dear Prudence" .
See also: Venetian Gothic architecture, 8th International Architecture Exhibition, 9th International Architecture Exhibition, 10th International Architecture Exhibition, and 11th International Architecture Exhibition
The Baroque Ca' Rezzonico.
La Fenice operahouse in the city.
Venice has a rich and diverse architectural style, the most prominent of which is the Gothic style. Venetian Gothic architecture is a term given to a Venetian building style combining use of the Gothic lancet arch with Byzantine and Ottoman influences. The style originated in 14th-century Venice, where the confluence of Byzantine style from Constantinople met Arab influence from Islamic Spain. Chief examples of the style are the Doge's Palace and the Ca' d'Oro in the city. The city also has several Renaissance and Baroque buildings, including the Ca' Pesaro and the Ca' Rezzonico.
Main article: Music of Venice
See also: Venetian polychoral style, Music of Veneto, and Venetian School (music)
The city of Venice in Italy has played an important role in the development of the music of Italy. The Venetian state – i.e., the medieval Maritime Republic of Venice – was often popularly called the "Republic of Music", and an anonymous Frenchman of the 17th century is said to have remarked that "In every home, someone is playing a musical instrument or singing. There is music everywhere."
During the 16th century, Venice became one of the most important musical centers of Europe, marked by a characteristic style of composition (the Venetian school) and the development of the Venetian polychoral style under composers such as Adrian Willaert, who worked at St Mark's Basilica. Venice was the early center of music printing; Ottaviano Petrucci began publishing music almost as soon as this technology was available, and his publishing enterprise helped to attract composers from all over Europe, especially from France and Flanders. By the end of the century, Venice was known for the splendor of its music, as exemplified in the "colossal style" of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, which used multiple choruses and instrumental groups. Venice was also the home of many noted composers during the baroque period, such as Antonio Vivaldi, Ippolito Ciera, Giovanni Picchi, and Girolamo Dalla Casa, to name but a few.
Its splendid architecture, artworks, landscapes, gondolas, the alternance of high and low tides, the reflections of light and colors, and the unusual daily scenes in a city living on water, make of Venice and its islands a paradise for photographers both professionals and amateurs. Fulvio Roiter has probably been the pioneer in artistic photography in Venice, followed by a number of authors whose works are often reproduced on postcards, thus reaching a widest international popular exposure.
It can be argued that Venice produced the best and most refined rococo designs. At the time[when?], Venice was in trouble. It had lost most of its maritime power, was lagging behind its rivals in political importance, and society had become decadent, with nobles wasting their money in gambling and partying. But Venice remained Italy's fashion capital, and was a serious contender to Paris in terms of wealth, architecture, luxury, taste, sophistication, trade, decoration, style, and design. Venetian rococo was well known as rich and luxurious, with usually very extravagant designs. Unique Venetian furniture pieces 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 (poor lacquer), in which allegories and images of social life were painted. Lacquerwork and Chinoiserie were particularly common in bureau cabinets.
Fashion and shopping
Luxury shops and boutiques along the Rialto Bridge.
In the 14th century, many young Venetian men began wearing tight-fitting multicoloured hose, the designs on which indicated the Compagnie della Calza ("Trouser Club") to which they belonged. The Venetian Senate passed sumptuary laws, but these merely resulted in changes in fashion in order to circumvent the law. Dull garments were worn over colourful ones, which then were cut to show the hidden colours resulting in the wide spread of men's "slashed" fashions in the 15th century.
Today, Venice is a major fashion and shopping centre, not as important as Milan, Florence, and Rome, but on a par with Verona, Turin, Vicenza, Naples, and Genoa. Roberta di Camerino is the only major Italian fashion brand to be based in Venice. Founded in 1945, it is renowned for its innovative handbags featuring hardware[clarification needed] by Venetian artisans and often covered in locally woven velvet, and has been credited with creating the concept of the easily recognisable status bag. Many of the fashion boutiques and jewelry shops in the city are located on or near the Rialto Bridge and in the Piazza San Marco. There are Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna flagship stores in the city. If shopping for venetian and Italian food specialties and wine you can head to Mascari or Casa del Parmigiano near Rialto and I Tre Mercanti flagship store near Piazza San Marco.
Main articles: Venetian cuisine and Venetian wine
Hot chocolate was a fashionable drink in Venice during the 1770s and 1780s.
Venetian cuisine is characterized by seafood, but also includes garden products from the islands of the lagoon, rice from the mainland, game, and polenta. Venice is not known for a peculiar cuisine of its own: it combines local traditions with influences stemming from age-old contacts with distant countries.[clarification needed] These include sarde in saór (sardines marinated to preserve them for long voyages); bacalà mantecato (a recipe based on Norwegian stockfish and extra-virgin olive oil); bisàto (marinated eel); risi e bisi, rice, peas and (not smoked) bacon; fegato alla veneziana, Venetian-style veal liver; risòto col néro de sépe (risotto with cuttlefish, blackened by their ink); cichéti, refined and delicious tidbits (akin to tapas); antipasti (appetizers); and prosecco, an effervescent, mildly sweet wine.
In addition, Venice is known for the golden, oval-shaped cookies called baicoli, and for other types of sweets, such as: pan del pescatore (bread of the fisherman); cookies with almonds and pistachio nuts; cookies with fried Venetian cream, or the bussolài (butter biscuits and shortbread made in the shape of a ring or of an "S") from the island of Burano; the galàni or cróstoli (angel wings); the frìtole (fried spherical doughnuts); the fregolòtta (a crumbly cake with almonds); a milk pudding called rosada; and cookies called zaléti, whose ingredients include yellow maize flour.
The dessert tiramisu is generally thought to have been invented in Treviso in the 1970s, and is popular in the Veneto area.
Main article: Venetian literature
Book printed by Aldus Manutius.
Venice has long been a source of inspiration for authors, playwrights, and poets, and at the forefront of the technological development of printing and publishing.
Two of the most noted Venetian writers were Marco Polo in the Middle Ages and later Giacomo Casanova. Polo (1254–1324) was a merchant who voyaged to the Orient. His series of books, co-written by Rustichello da Pisa and titled Il Milione provided important knowledge of the lands east of Europe, from the Middle East to China, Japan, and Russia. Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) was a prolific writer and adventurer best remembered for his autobiography, Histoire De Ma Vie (Story of My Life), which links his colourful lifestyle to the city of Venice.
Venetian playwrights followed the old Italian theatre tradition of Commedia dell'arte. Ruzante (1502–1542), Carlo Goldoni (1707–1793), and Carlo Gozzi (1720–1806) used the Venetian dialect extensively in their comedies.
Venice has also inspired writers from abroad. Shakespeare set Othello and The Merchant of Venice in the city, as did Thomas Mann with his novel, Death in Venice (1912). The French writer Philippe Sollers spent most of his life in Venice and published A Dictionary For Lovers Of Venice in 2004.
The city features prominently in Henry James' The Aspern Papers and The Wings of the Dove. It is also visited in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited and Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Perhaps the most known children's book set in Venice is The Thief Lord, written by the German author Cornelia Funke.
The poet Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827), born in Zante, an island that at the time belonged to the Republic of Venice, was also a revolutionary who wanted to see a free republic established in Venice following its fall to Napoleon.
Venice also inspired the poetry of Ezra Pound, who wrote his first literary work in the city. Pound died in 1972, and his remains are buried in Venice's cemetery island of San Michele.
Venice is also linked to the technological aspects of writing. The city was the location of one of Italy's earliest printing presses, established by Aldus Manutius (1449–1515). From this beginning Venice developed as an important typographic center and even as late as the 18th century was responsible for printing half of Italy's published books.
Art and printing
Main article: List of painters and architects of Venice
See also: Venetian School (art)
An 18th-century view of Venice by Venetian artist Canaletto.
Venice, especially during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and Baroque periods, was a major centre of art and developed a unique style known as the Venetian School. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Venice, along with Florence and Rome, became one of the most important centres of art in Europe, and numerous wealthy Venetians became patrons of the arts. Venice at the time was a rich and prosperous Maritime Republic, which controlled a vast sea and trade empire.
By the end of the 15th century, Venice had become the European capital of printing, being one of the first cities in Italy (after Subiaco and Rome) to have a printing press after those established in Germany, having 417 printers by 1500. The most important printing office was the Aldine Press of Aldus Manutius, which in 1499 printed the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, considered the most beautiful book of the Renaissance, and established modern punctuation, the page format and italic type, and the first printed work of Aristotle.
In the 16th century, Venetian painting was developed through influences from the Paduan School and Antonello da Messina, who introduced the oil painting technique of the Van Eyck brothers. It is signified by a warm colour scale and a picturesque use of colour. Early masters were the Bellini and Vivarini families, followed by Giorgione and Titian, then Tintoretto and Veronese. In the early 16th century, there was rivalry in Venetian painting between the disegno and colorito techniques.
Canvases (the common painting surface) originated in Venice during the early Renaissance. These early canvases were generally rough.
In the 18th century, Venetian painting had a revival with Giovanni Battista Pittoni, Tiepolo's decorative painting and Canaletto's and Guardi's panoramic views. In the 19th century with Antonio Rotta.
Main articles: Venetian glass and Murano glass
A Venetian glass goblet.
Venice is known for its ornate glass-work, known as Venetian glass. It is world-renowned for being colourful, elaborate, and skilfully made.
Many of the important characteristics of these objects had been developed by the 13th century. Toward the end of that century, the center of the Venetian glass industry moved to Murano, an offshore island in Venice. The glass made there is known as Murano glass.
Byzantine craftsmen played an important role in the development of Venetian glass, an art form for which the city is well known. When Constantinople was sacked in the Fourth Crusade in 1204, some fleeing artisans came to Venice. This happened again when the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453, supplying Venice with still more glassworkers. By the 16th century, Venetian artisans had gained even greater control over the color and transparency of their glass, and had mastered a variety of decorative techniques.
Murano glass chandelier Ca' Rezzonico
Despite efforts to keep Venetian glassmaking techniques within Venice, they became known elsewhere, and Venetian-style glassware was produced in other Italian cities and other countries of Europe.
Some of the most important brands of glass in the world today are still produced in the historical glass factories on Murano. They are: Venini, Barovier & Toso, Pauly, Millevetri, Seguso. Barovier & Toso is considered one of the 100 oldest companies in the world, formed in 1295.
See also: Carnival of Venice and Venice Film Festival
Masks at Carnival of Venice.
The Carnival of Venice is held annually in the city, It lasts for around two weeks and ends on Shrove Tuesday. Venetian masks are worn.
The Venice Biennale is one of the most important events in the arts calendar. In 1895 an Esposizione biennale artistica nazionale (biennial exhibition of Italian art) was inaugurated. The activities of the Biennale were interrupted by the war in September 1942, but resumed in 1948.
The Festa del Redentore is held in mid July. It began as a feast to give thanks for the end of the plague of 1576. A bridge of barges is built connecting Giudecca to the rest of Venice, and fireworks play an important role.
The Venice Film Festival (Italian Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia) is the oldest film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata in 1932 as the Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica, the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. It is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals and is part of the Venice Biennale.
Foreign words of Venetian origin
Some words with a Venetian etymology include arsenal, ciao, ghetto, gondola, imbroglio, lagoon, lazaret, lido, Montenegro, and regatta. The name "Venezuela" is a Spanish diminutive of Venice (Veneziola). Many additional places around the world are named after Venice, e.g., Venice, Los Angeles, home of Venice Beach; Venice, Alberta in Canada; Venice, Florida, a city in Sarasota County; Venice, New York.