Venice / Italy
Venice is a city in the north-east of Italy, whose historical center is located on several islands in the lagoon of Venice. On the run from the Lombards, the population of the region retreated to the lagoon islands in the 6th century. An independent republic of the city was formed in the 11th century under the leadership of the Doge, and Venice, in the interests of its Oriental trade, began to subject the coasts of Istria and Dalmatia. During the Crusades, a Venetian colonial empire developed, which extended to Asia Minor. In the fifteenth century, Venice had 200,000 inhabitants and had a huge trade and war fleet. In the 17th century, the city was finally defeated by the Turkish power and in 1797 the state of Venice was abolished by French troops. In 1866 Venice became part of Italy.
The buildings of Venice have been built in the lagoon on millions of wooden piles, and the traffic takes place on 160 canals, especially the Grand Canal. The historical buildings of the city are constantly threatened by floods (Acqua Alta). On the St. Mark's Square the average water is about 100 days a year. A sluice system at the harbor entrances will protect the city from the recurring floods. Completion is scheduled for 2011. Venice is ranked 1st on the UNESCO list of protected cultural monuments in Europe.
Center of the city are St. Mark's Square and the adjoining Piazzetta with Saint Mark's Basilica (9th century), the Doge's Palace (14th / 15th century. Century), the Bridge of Sighs and the 99-m-high campanile. Other attractions of the city are the numerous palaces, over 100 churches, museums and art collection, and the Rialto Bridge (16th century). The city is famous for its Carnival and is the venue for the international festival for contemporary art, music and film (Biennial).