Venice is located in the northeastern part of Italy, it is the capital of Veneto region. Venice is situated across a group of 117 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges. These are located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, 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.
The name of the city 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 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. 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.
St. Mark's Square
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is Venice on parade, where everyone comes to see and be seen. It is Venice's only square with the title of "piazza" - the rest are called "campo." Life has revolved around this piazza since the days of the Republic, when it was a market as well as the center of civic and religious life. Considered one of the finest squares in the world and certainly Venice's prime attraction, it is surrounded on three sides by the stately arcades of public buildings and on the fourth, by Basilica di San Marco's riot of domes and arches and the soaring St. Mark's campanile. The lines waiting to enter the basilica, which is by far the most popular attraction in Venice, may seem intimidating, but you can skip these by joining a tour. No obstruction mars the vast stone-paved expanse of St. Mark's Square, where the only traffic is Venetians, tourists, and the ever-present pigeons.
St Mark's Campanile
The campanile of St. Mark’s is an imposing square plan tower about 99 metres high, crowned by a spire that was once a lighthouse for shipping. It is the prototype of all the campaniles of the lagoon area. It was first built in the 12th century on the site of what was probably a watchtower and rebuilt in its current form early in the 16th centurywith the addition of a belfry and with the spire faced in copper and topped by a sort of rotating platform with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel which functioned as a weathercock.
Of the five original bells only the largest remains. The others, now replaced, were destroyed when the tower collapsed in 1902. From the belfry loggia there is a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city and the lagoon. Against the base of the campanile is the balcony built by Jacopo Sansovino between 1537 and 1549 and decorated with marbles and bronzes .
The Doge's Palace (Italian: Palazzo Ducale) is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
The Canal Grande snakes through the city of Venice in a large S shape, traveling from the Saint Mark Basin on one end to a lagoon near the Santa Lucia rail station on the other. This ancient waterway measures 3,800 meters long and ranges from 30 to 90 meters wide. In most places, the canal is approximately 5 meters deep. The canal is an ancient waterway, lined with buildings - about 170 in all - that were mostly built from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
Most were constructed by wealthy Venetian families. The majority of the city's traffic cruises up and down the canal, be it private boats, vaporetti (water buses), water taxis or the famous gondolas. Foot traffic gathers around three famous bridges that cross the canal: the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte Degli Scalzi, and the Ponte dell'Accademia. A fourth, modern (and controversial) bridge was recently added not far from the Scalzi bridge: the Calatrava Bridge.