Venice, Italy is a Picture of Beauty and History. This is why Venice is one of the most popular cities in Italy.
The city of Venice Italy is best known for its many waterways that crisscross through this beautiful city and the Gondolas used to navigate them. Venice is especially recognized for its romantic reputation, one that it has developed from the sixth century. The Scenery of Venice Italy is truly beautiful but is also rich in history.
There is a popular myth that states that Venice was created by people that were fleeing Troy, however historians know that Venice was formed during the sixth Century CE after Italian refugees who were on the run from Germanic and Hun invaders then later the Lombards, sought refuge on the Venice islands, particularly on the lagoon.
Historians have proven that Venice became a settlement area in 600 CE The settlement grew so fast that Venice had its own Bishopric by the end of the seventh century. Soon enough, an outside ruler was appointed by the then Byzantine Empire to oversee the Venice settlement.
Over the centuries that followed, Venice slowly evolved and became a trading center that traded with both the Islamic nations and the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was a close friend to the merchant families in Venice.
This friendship saw that in the year 992 Venice was elevated to earn special trading rights with the empire, in return Venice expected Byzantine Empire sovereignty. The city continued to grow richer and in the year 1082 Venice gained its independence.
This independence didn’t in any way dampen the relationship with the Byzantine Empire. Venice retained trading advantages and Venice supported the empire with its every growing strong Navy. A government was coined and ruled by the once dictator Doge. The Doge government started with assistants who were named officials and later known as councils.
In the year 144 Venice became a commune.
Venice the Trading Kingdom
The 12th century was the century where Venice was engaged in trade war with the remainder of the Byzantine Empire. These wars spilled over into the 13th century. This is the century when Venice took the chance to create a physical trading empire.
Venice had arranged to transport a crusade to the Holy Land; however,the plan was botched when the crusaders didn’t play ball with the ruler of Venice. It was then that an heir of the deposed Byzantine emperor vowed to pay Venice and agreed to convert to Latin Christianity faith if he would be given the throne.
Venice was glad to support this move, the heir was unable to pay owed dues and refused to convert to Latin Christianity. The relationship soon soured and this led to the assignation of the new emperor.
The crusaders seized, captured and ended up sacking Constantinople. Venice went further to remove treasures and finally claimed Crete and huge areas of Greece as part of Venice. These areas were converted into Venetian outposts in the now large Venice Empire.
Venice engaged again in warfare with Genoa which was then a mighty and powerful Italian trading rival. The struggle between these two powerful trading lands spilled over to 1380 in the battle of Chioggia. This battle was won by Venice and soon after the empire restricted Genoa trade.
Venice was also frequently under attack and it came to a point where the empire had to be defended at all costs. As the struggle continued, Doge’s powers were slowly being minimized by the introduction of nobles.
Heavy talks led to the expansion of the Venetian area. By the 15th century the Venetians had targeted the Italian mainland by capturing Udine, Vicenza, Padua and Verona. The era from 1420 to 1450 marked the highest point for the Venetians as it had both massive wealth and power.
Venice began its long decline starting in the 15th century. Venice unsuccessfully defended Thessalonic to the Ottomans then Constantinople fell to the Turks. The Turks waged war on Venice for the next 30 years seizing most of Venice’s eastern Mediterranean lands.
From 1575 – 1577 Venice was attacked by yet another deadly invader. The Black Plague killed some 150,000 people, nearly one third of the population on Venice in these years.
The next big blow to Venice, Italy was the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the spice route to India by Portugal. The land route to India through Venice was no longer the preferred route and all the great trading nations took the spice route by sea.
In 1797 after Napoleon conquered Venice the city changed hands between Napoleons power and Austria several times. The city florished during these years becoming a center for arts, literature and architecture in Europe.
After Napoleon’s defeat in 1814 Venice’s rule changed hands several more times until 1866 when the 3rd Italian war of independence brought Venice into the Kingdom of Italy.
During World war II, Venice remained relatively unscathed. After World War II, Venice became and remains to this day one of the worlds biggest tourist destinations. Known for its beautiful architecture, canals, art, culture and food, Venice is one of the most popular travel destinations today.