Capital of Venetia.
Venice and its Lagoon
Location and site
Venice was built in the midst of a vast basin of brackish water that opens onto the Adriatic and the eastern Mediterranean and is exposed to the action of the sea. The 50,000 sq.km. site comprises the city’s historic centre, as well as its entire lagoon and its islands, the three ports, the basins and the fishing beds.
The plan of Venice developed around its principal waterway, the Grand Canal, and is made up of a combination of sinuous forms that follow the meandering of the lagoon and rectilinear forms that cross at right angles. Numerous small squares were created in front of the churches.
Eastern and Western influences can be found in Venice’s colours, materials (marble, stone and brick) and architectural forms. The resultant play between exhuberance and sobriety, along with its numerous masterpieces, make Venice unique. The moving rapport between its waterways and its stones makes it at the same time fascinating and exciting.
An unforgettable landscape, the Venice lagoon houses one of the most important concentrations of masterpieces in the world. (II) Venice exerted a considerable influence on the development of monumental arts in the trading posts and commercial ports of the Serrinissime Republic. Afterwards, it was a school thanks to its painters. (II) Venice bears a testimony to itself as it survives with its thousands of monuments. (III) Venice offers a complete typology of medieval architecture that responds to specific urban requirements. (IV) The lagoon constitutes, within the Mediterrranean area, an example of a semi-lacustrine habitat that is vulnerable. (V) Venice is associated with the universal history of mankind. (VI)
- Venice began as a city of refuge for Roman citizens seeking the protection of the Byzantines from Lombard invasions.
- The city developed on the Rialto islands between 810 and 825. The basilica was constructed in 828; it occupies the site where the vestiges of Saint Mark had been placed.
- The links between Venice and the Emperor of the East facilitated the establishment of the Dalmatian Empire. At the end of the 10th century, when Venice was an independent ally of Byzantium, the city continued to establish a network of trading posts on the other side of the Mediterranean. In the context of the Crusades, it also founded trading posts at Sidon in 1102 and in Tyre in 1123. At the end of the 13th century, Venice was at the peak of its power.
- The Turkish takeover of Constantinople in 1453 constituted a threat to the maritime empire of Venice. Despite this first setback, the city’s economic prosperity was maintained and its urban landscape took shape during the 16th century.