Do you want to know more about Venice before heading there on your next holiday? We are here to tell you some facts about this beautiful and one of the most famous cities in the world. As we mentioned before on our blog, Venice is one of the best places to visit in Italy for couples
besides being a destination full of history and culture. Check out nine facts about Venice that you probably didn’t know:
#1 Did you know that Venice is made of mini-islands?
To be, precise 117 islands! All connected by almost 400 bridges over 150 canals.
#2 Venice was once a refuge
It all began in 452, when residents of the Italian Northeast, living in Padua and Treviso, took shelter in the islands of a large freshwater lagoon, to escape attacks from the Germanic tribes that put an end to the Roman Empire.
#3 Have you heard about the Republic of Venice?
Venice was once a very powerful European country. Due to its strategic geographical position, Venice greatly profited from commerce in the Adriatic and the eastern Mediterranean, becoming, the main commercial power of Europe from the thirteenth century onwards. But when Vasco da Gama discovered another navigation route to the Indies, Venice began to lose importance and suffer defeats in endless wars. In 1797, it ended up being conquered by Napoleon and, in 1866, came to be part of the kingdom of Italy.
#4 Pay attention to Venetian bridges
As we already told you, there’re almost 400 bridges in Venice. Here’s something you probably didn’t know: there are many private bridges! Actually, there is a total of 72 private bridges in the city. Some belong to the Church and others to residents.
#5 It takes time to become a gondolier
For many years, the license to become a gondolier was issued by the Municipal Authority and this license could be handed from father to son.
Nowadays if you want to do this job, you’ll need to go to the gondola schools, where you must learn a foreign language (they need to be ready for the many tourists), the History of Venice and History of Venetian art. After passing a competitive exam, you will follow a professional gondolier as a trainee, from 6 to 12 months, after that you will take a practical examination and only then you will become a real gondolier.
Gondolas allow you to see Venice from a completely different perspective and if you want this experience, check out or private gondola ride.
#6 Venice is sinking
Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn how to swim before heading to this destination. But you should know that studies show that Venice is subsiding by about 1 to 2 mm per year (0.04 to 0.08 inches per year). This is caused by global warming that is making the sea levels rise faster than they should and because some buildings don’t have the proper foundations and are slowly subsiding into the waters.
#7 Why are all gondolas black?
A long time ago you could see colorful and decorated gondolas, but now they’re all black. This rule began after noble families started decorating their gondolas to show their wealth and power and started competing with each other to see who had the prettiest one.
So in 1609 the Senate decided to put an end to this competition and made sure that all gondolas were the same. They chose to have all of them painted entirely in black.
#8 The narrowest street in Venice
Did you know that Venice had one of the narrowest streets in the world? The street Calle Varisco is just 53cm wide. It’s a great place to go to and take unusual pictures.
#9 Another fact about Venice, they have a great Carnival!
Carnival was created so that the population had a moment to enjoy a time of games and public entertainment. It was also a chance for the Venetians, especially nobles, to “abandon” their own identity. During Carnival whoever wore a mask had their entire face covered, anyone could be anyone.
The masks and costumes try to reproduce the style of the nobles who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries or the characters of Commedia Dell’Arte such as Harlequin, Columbina or Pierrot.
This is an annual festival and events often last for two to three weeks before the actual Carnival day.
Now that you’ve learned these facts about Venice, how about getting to know the city a little better? With Veditalia you can explore the city, skip-the-line in monuments and learn more facts about Venice – Enjoying top insight from your English-speaking officially-licensed guide.
Also, if you want to know where and what to eat in Venice, read our article about places to eat in Italy.