Venice, the capital of the Veneto region, has a population of more than 270,000, according to the latest census. It is located in the north-east of Italy on numerous small islands in the Venetian Lagoon.
The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”.
The “City of Bridges”, as it is usually called, stretches along the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers.
Out of the 270,000 inhabitants, about 62,000 live in the historical center, or city of Venice, about 176,000 live in the mainland or “Terraferma”, behind the lagoon, in locations like Mestre and Marghera, and all others live on islands throughout the lagoon (there are about 100 islands around Venice).
Also known as a famous place for sweethearts, lovers, artists and poets, Venice is a magical city, which stretches across numerous small islands. It is often refered to as the city of “gondole”, which are the means of transportation used to cross the numerous canals passing through the city.
The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wooden piles. Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. The foundations rest on plates of Istrian limestone placed on top of the piles, and buildings of brick or stone sit above these footings. The piles penetrate a softer layer of sand and mud until they reach a much harder layer of compressed clay.
Submerged by water, in oxygen-poor conditions, wood does not decay as rapidly as on the surface.
Most of these piles were made from trunks of alder trees, a wood noted for its water resistance.The alder came from the westernmost part of today’s Slovenia (resulting in the barren land of the Kras region), in two regions of Croatia, Lika and Gorski kotar (resulting in the barren slopes of Velebit) and south of Montenegro. Larch is also used in the production of Venice turpentine.
Venice is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world for its celebrated art and architecture. The city has an average of 50,000 tourists a day. Each year the city is visited by over 20 million of tourists. It is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities.