Magical Venice

The beginnings
It is difficult to reconstruct the foundation of Venice with an exact date. With the fall of the Roman Empire and the invasion by the Huns and Germans from the north, many inhabitants of today's Veneto took refuge in the lagoon in search of protection. The first settlements were built on the islands of Torcello, Murano and Lido (then Malamocco). In 697 the first doge was appointed under the protection of the Eastern Roman Empire. He initially lived on Lido di Venezia, trying to unite the islands antagonize. However, when Pippin, son of Charles the Great, occupied the lagoon and destroyed Malamocco, the enemy islands merged and founded a new city on the central group of islands along the Rivus Altus (Rivo Alto, ie today's Rialto) - thus was born the Venice we know.

The rise of Venice to the queen of the Adriatic
In 812 Venice became a Byzantine province - under the protection of the Eastern Roman Empire, the city was able to develop very calmly. In 828 Venetian traders stole the mortal remains of the evangelist Marco d´Alessandria. Thus a patron was found for the city and his symbol, the winged lion, became the emblem of Venice from that moment on. Living on the water, the Venetians were excellent navigators and excellent traders. Thanks to the support of Byzantium, which opened all ports to the Venetians, the city of the lagoon quickly developed into a commercial power that gained an exceptional state of well-being. Following the flourishing trade, Venice finally became the largest financial center in Europe. Thanks to a powerful military fleet, Venice was able to conquer Friuli, Istria and Dalmatia step by step. In addition, he exploited the fourth crusade in the Holy Land to attack his one-time protector, the Eastern Roman Empire, and occupied Constantinople. With the conquest of Byzantium, Venice was the mistress of the Greek islands of the Aegean sea. Many artistic treasures, including horses on St Mark's Basilica, were imported to Venice. In 1381 he managed to defeat the sworn enemy, Genoa, near Chioggia and from that moment on the ducal republic dominated the entire eastern Mediterranean area. Venice itself grew rapidly and with 150,000 inhabitants became the third largest city in Europe after Paris and Naples. Thus was born a European power - the queen of the Adriatic.

Venezia    The queen of the Adriatic  

Decline of a proud maritime power
With 3,900 trading ships and 15,000 navigators, Venice dominated trade in the Mediterranean area. Inside the state a particular stability reigned and apart from the hinterland not well equipped, this maritime power did not have to fear any danger. Without delay, a large part of the hinterland was later conquered; Padua, Vicenza and Verona were gradually integrated into the Venetian empire. It reached its greatest expansion and therefore the peak of its power with the conquest of Cyprus. In 1453 the situation began to change after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans. Venice was involved in a war against the Turks which lasted 300 years. In the same period, with the discovery of America, the commercial center moved from the Mediterranean area to that of the Atlantic. New great powers were born in Europe and Venice slipped more and more into political isolation. In the League of Cambrai, Austria, France and Spain formed an alliance against the Republic of Venice. Despite the last great success in the naval battle of Lepanto against the Turks, the Venetian empire began to crumble from all angles. After two cruel plague epidemics (1575 and 1630) and further wars against the Ottomans, Venice decided to abandon its possessions in the Mediterranean area to concentrate on the defense of its properties around the lagoon.

Venice: From modern times to today
Towards the end of the eighteenth century Venice experienced a cultural flowering, but politically it was a shadow of itself. When Napoleon arrived in front of the lagoon in 1797, the city surrendered without a fight. Napoleon sacked the city and gave it shortly after to the Austrians who integrated Venice into the Habsburg Empire until 1866. The Austrians modernized the city of the lagoon and connected it for the first time to the mainland via the railway bridge. In 1866 the Habsburgs withdrew from Venice and entrusted the city of the lagoon to the new Kingdom of Italy. Poverty and economic decline characterized the following years. Only after the First World War, the port moved to Marghera, starting with the organization of heavy industry. With the development of modern tourism in the second half of the twentieth century, the renewed rise of Venice also began and has continued to this day. The question of whether this success story of Venice will continue into the future will largely depend on the way in which the environmental problems of the lagoon are solved.