The world is full of wonderful places. Some became so owing to the doings of nature, others, to those of mankind. From the beginnings of recorded history the civilisations which preceded us did all they could to create and amaze. Not all achieved results of the same level, but those which did succeed have left an indelible mark on the history of mankind. Venice, the art city par excellence, has survived its glorious and astonishing past so that we should not forget what man is capable of creating.
Everything in Venice is both unique and extraordinary. The historic centre, one of the largest in the world, consists of 118 small islands separated by navigable canals and linked to each other by more than 400 bridges. There are no cars here: boats and the romantic gondolas are the main means of transport. Water and architecture have combined to create something of incalculable fascination. For more than a millennium, this has inspired and seduced generations of artists from all over the world, and will no doubt continue to do so.
But, like many great stories, the history of this extraordinary city began by chance. Or almost.
In the fifth century AD, during the barbarian invasions, small communities from the nearby mainland were forced to seek refuge in the islands of the lagoon. Shortly afterwards the community came under the control of the Exarchate of Ravenna, part of the Byzantine Empire. It was in this period that the character of the future Serenissima began to be forged.
As time passed, Venice acquired more power. Its privileged position enabled it to become one of the main commercial exchanges between East and West and when, in the IX century, Ravenna fell into the hands of the Lombards, Venice was able to secure independence from Byzantium and begin its unstoppable rise.
Over the centuries it established relations with most of the known world, and turned itself – both commercially and militarily – into one of the most powerful maritime forces of its day. It also became a hugely prolific cultural and artistic centre.
Today the entire historic centre and lagoon are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The photographic gallery offers a visual journey of just a part of what makes this city unique. Many of the photographs are accompanied by a brief description, giving the reader further information.
Venice, March 23 2018