I. Facts about Venice: How it Became an Important City in Italy
- Venice originated during the mid 400s.
- The structure of Venice was created out of necessity. The population had to escape a barbarian invasion. The city’s unique landscape would make it harder for invaders to infiltrate (as Venice is really a large archipelago).
- From the 1300s until the 1500s, Venice’s Republic was the most powerful force in the Mediterranean region.The territories of this Republic encompassed a large area. Terra Firma, Dalmatia and many other countries were under the Republic’s domain.
- The history of Venice abruptly changed during 1797, when the Republic yielded to Napoleon’s forces.
The Campoformio Treaty was the result of this yield. Veneto, Histra & Dalmatia were all released to Austria. For the next 60 years, the countries remained under their rule.
II. Facts about Venice: How Did the City Get Built?
- Venice sits on an archipelago, which is basically a group of small islands. The city has 118 islands altogether.
- The city was not actually built on the islets. Instead, its structures are supported by a series of wooden platforms. These platforms are secured by additional structures placed in the sea. Why did the Venetians do this? The lands themselves were not strong enough to support a regular building.
- As such, there are millions of ’piles’ underneath the Venetian lagoon.
During 1663, there was a book that detailed how the Venetians built their buildings.
This process was not easy. One of the region’s most famous churches took over two years to build. An astounding 1,106,657 piles were needed to complete its construction. These piles were 11.2 feet long.
III. Facts about Venice: Important Figures
- Venice contains approximately 7,000 chimneys. They come in 10 different styles and shapes.
- As for their bell towers, there are 170 of them. In Venetian culture, bell towers were a very important form of communication. San Marco is one of the tallest.
- San Marco is 275 feet tall.
Sadly, the tower collapsed in 1902. No humans were hurt in the accident, but there was causality with the caretaker’s cat. Nevertheless, the tower was rebuilt to look exactly like it did when it was first constructed.
- Venice has 177 canals and over 400 bridges.
- The Grand Canal is the region’s largest. Possessing a unique S-shape, the canal splits the city in half.
- Three of the city’s bridges have been around since ancient times: Rialto, Accademia and the Scalzi (which is also known as the Ferrovia).These bridges seem sturdier than some of the more modern bridges constructed in the city. Consider the Calatrava which is only four years in age. It is already starting to decay.
- Venice is divided by quarters. There are six altogether.
- The city has 350 gondolas.
- Each year the town receives 18 million tourists. This equates to approximately 50,000 visitors each day.
IV. Facts about Venice: The City’s Problems
- Depopulation remains one of the most serious issues facing Venetian society. The number of individuals residing in the city’s historic area is 61,000 less than it was in 1966. Some experts believe that Venice may become a ghost town as early as 2030. It would only get traffic from visitors.
- The reasons why Venice suffers with depopulation include the following:
- In 1966 there was a flood which promoted a mass escape. Sixteen apartments were simply abandoned.
- Despite its ingenious design, the town is slowly sinking.
- The homes are expensive to maintain. Some of them are also in poor condition.
- The increasing cost of Venetian real estate limits the ability of the average citizen to buy a home. Instead, rich foreigners or corporations are taking residence.
- This is the saddest result of depopulation. Small businesses cannot compete against the larger corporations, which are foreign to begin with. As such, some of the city’s culture is getting lost.
It is truly a Catch-22 problem. Tourists themselves sleep in Mestre because the prices are too high in the main city. As for the citizens, the high prices keep them from enjoying their own land. This makes tourism both a blessing and a curse for Venice.
V. Facts About Venice: The Acqua Alta
- The Acqua Alta is the Venetian term for ’high water.’ To tourists, the water is attractive, but for native Venetians, it is a very annoying problem.The Acqua Alta occurs during November and December. It is the result of tidal activity.
- To fight against the Acqua Alta, Venice has created ’Mose’ a special engineering project. The Mose is simply a system of barriers. In addition to being moveable, these barriers are able to lift themselves up when a tide exceeds a certain point. This keeps water from flooding a nearby town.