The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
St Mark Plaza and the famous campanille. To the right, a small connecting structure is the Bridge of Sighs. The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice out the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built, and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals.
|Our ship the Costa Atlantica coasting between the islands of Venice|
Train Station foreground. Public transportation is provided by the water bus and by private water taxis. Running through most of the city, it "starts" from the lagoon near the train station, makes a large S-shape through the central districts, the "sestiere" of Venice, and ends at the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, near Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square), with an average depth of five meters.