Venice: The Floating City
For a millennium, Venice has provided inspiration for artists and writers. This coveted city is made up of 118 islands linked by 453 bridges. Each corner of town exhibits individual architectural magnificence, the city combining as one to form a spectacular theatrical stage set.
Beautiful churches adorn the banks of the Grand Canal as she snakes her way through the city. This main artery is at the centre of a myriad of canals running throughout the town.
The lifeblood of Venice is its tourism, a magnet for over 12 million visitors a year. Catering for this influx of visitors, the cities population of 70,000 people continue their daily lives, working the bars, cafes and restaurants.
Despite all this however, it seems that Venice is slowly sinking at the rate of approximately 2 inches every century. Terrible floods in 1966 caused much doom mongering and many people feared that Venice was about to be taken off the map.
The threat to remove funding for vital restoration projects gave serious cause for concern and prompted an urgent response to save the city. It was feared imminent flooding could completely destroy the city; preventative measures were high priority.
The efforts of the past two decades have had considerable success. Reduced pollution, shipping and the restoration of natural sandbanks have all contributed to the cause.
The first settlers of Venice were those fleeing the Barbarians around 400 AD. To create solid foundations for their buildings they drove timber into the mud and began creating a community for their people.
The city’s emblem, the winged lion, derived from Saint Mark the Evangelist. The first significant church of Venice was built in the ninth century to house the relics of Saint Mark, and his emblem was soon adopted.
Venice’s trade brought great wealth and prosperity to the city and for many centuries it continued to grow. The city thrived on its colonies and invested its riches wisely. Churches and palaces became commonplace, as were museums to house many newly acquired works of art.
For the past couple of centuries however, the obvious lack of development space meant the city found it difficult to advance further. Wars with Turkey were a drain on the resources and so Venice was content to consolidate.
Despite this, Venice does not rest on its laurels. Every visit offers something new, a fresh experience to take home. Each region of the city has an individual charm, giving the sense there is always something special around each corner.
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