It is no possible to imagine Venice without its lagoon. Probably Venice would lose a good part of its fascination and charming if the lagoon has not been there. For this reason Venice and its lagoon has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, this city-state governed the Mediterranean basin, and was one of the world's most important economic and political centres, known also by the name of 'La Serenissima'. From the ninth to the twelfth century Venice developed into a city state (an Italian thalassocracy or Repubblica Marinara, the other three being Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi). Its strategic position at the head of the Adriatic made Venetian naval and commercial power almost invulnerable. The city became a flourishing trade center between Western Europe and the rest of the world (especially the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world).
The heart of Venice is St. Mark's Square, in addition to St. Mark's Basilica, the cathedral of Venice, the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power from the 11th century on, the building was known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro ("church of gold").
The Doge's palace, in typical gothic-venetian style, was in the past the residence of the Doge of venice; now is one of the most important museum in the world.
Venice is more than ever a city devoted to art, in all its forms. Historic art can be seen in its numerous museums, which display the most beautiful original works of art by the artists who gave a major contribution to the history of art. Venice is also known as the "City of lovers" because the absence of cars allows people to take long and serene walks, reached only by the sound of water washing the shores.
The romanticism par excellence? A nice tour in gondola through Venice's waterways and passing under the famous Bridge of Sighs or Rialto Bridge!
Do not forget to visit La Fenice Theater, Saint Mark's Clock, the several monumental palaces, the museums and the isle of Murano, known for its glass making, particularly lampworking.
The highest point of the year in Venice is the Carnival, with ten days of celebrations, dancing, music and fun, featuring thousands of masked characters dressed in fabulous costumes based on sumptuous eighteenth century clothes or just on the imagination, while the historic buildings are the venues for exclusive parties.
Venice is still a cultural centre of primary importance. The Biennial art exhibition has been hosting major art exhibitions since 1895, and is now a laboratory for artistic training and production, consisting of various sections - Architecture and Visual Arts (which alternate every two years) and Film, Dance, Music, and Theatre, which take place every year, with a packed schedule of events.
In September the spotlight falls on the Film Festival, which takes place on the Lido, and rivals Hollywood, Cannes, and Berlin for importance.