“Venice! Is there a city more admired, more celebrated, more sung by poets, more desired by lovers, more visited and more illustrious? Venice!
Is there a name in human languages that has made us dream more than this? ”
This is what Guy de Maupassant praised in describing the “Queen of the Adriatic”, the capital of the Serenissima Republic of Venice for more than a millennium and one of the four Maritime Republics.
Its urban planning and the artistic heritage preserved in it constitute a unicum in the world panorama; not for nothing, together with its lagoon, Venice was declared, in 1987, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO “for the uniqueness and singularity of its cultural values, consisting of a historical, archaeological, urban, architectural, artistic and of exceptional cultural traditions, integrated in an environmental, natural and extraordinary landscape context.
Venetian symbol par excellence is Piazza San Marco, defined as one of the best squares internationally, especially for its architecture.
In this urban jewel, there are two of the most important buildings in the city: the Basilica of San Marco and the Doge’s Palace.
The Basilica has been the city’s cathedral since 1807, nicknamed “Golden Church” for its artistic, historical and cultural richness, it was built in 828 to house the relics of San Marco.
It is unknown who designed it; the only trace of this “unknown architect” is the basrelief of an oriental sage, presumably Greek since those who built the basilica were of Greek nationality.
A few steps from San Marco, in the area of Punta della Dogana, there is another Basilica, less known but of great symbolic importance: it is the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, built in the 17th century as a thank you to the Virgin for having freed the city of the plague.
The second building in Piazza San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, represents an exception: its Gothic architecture differs from the vast majority of the city’s historic medieval buildings.
Considered the custodian of Venetian history, it has always been the home of the Doges.
Venice has a long tradition for opera.
The Teatro La Fenice dates back to 1637. The name, which refers to the mythological bird, who at his death, manages to rise from his ashes, wants to indicate precisely the ability of the Theater itself to be reborn several times following various disasters such as the two fires of 1836 and 1996.
Here some of the most important premieres in the history of music made their debut and there were performances by artists such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi.
Right from 1996 and up to today, the Gran Teatro becomes the setting for the New Year’s Concert, as well as important opera, symphonic seasons and the International Festival of Contemporary Music.
Venice is known for its particular characteristic of being a city on the water; the most important watercourse is the Grand Canal which winds for 4 km through the historic center, dividing it into two parts. Called “canalazzo” by the Venetians, it is the main axis for public transport, namely the vaporetti and the more classic gondolas.
Venetian bridges, 354 in total, are the only way to cross the Grand Canal. The most famous is the so-called Ponte dei Sospiri; built in wood in 1181, the name derives from the sighs that the prisoners exhaled as they were led to prisons.
The fame of the most famous bridge is disputed with that of Ponte Rialto; immortalized in numerous works of art, it was built in the twelfth century, but not in the form in which we can admire it today.
A fundamental part of the Venetian landscape is the Venice lagoon, the largest in the Adriatic. Numerous are the islands that are part of it, but the islands of Burano deserve a particular mention for the bright colors of its houses and for the creation of lace and Murano, home of the art of blown glass.