Venice, Italy

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture, and its artworks.


The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon. Beginning in 166–168, the Quadi and Marcomanni destroyed the main center in the area, the current Oderzo. The Roman defenses were again overthrown in the early 5th century by the Visigoths and, some 50 years later, by the Huns led by Attila.


The last and most enduring immigration into the north of the Italian peninsula was that of the Lombards in 568, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire a small strip of coast in the current Veneto, including Venice.


The Roman or Byzantine territory was organized as the Exarchate of Ravenna, administered from that ancient port and overseen by a viceroy (the Exarch) appointed by the Emperor in Constantinople, but Ravenna and Venice were connected only by sea routes and with the Venetians’ isolated position came increasing autonomy.


In 751, the Lombard King Aistulf conquered most of the Exarchate of Ravenna, leaving Venice a lonely and increasingly autonomous Byzantine outpost. During this period, the seat of the local Byzantine governor was situated in Malamocco.


Settlement on the islands in the lagoon probably increased in correspondence with the Lombard conquest of other Byzantine territories as refugees sought asylum in the lagoon city.


Venetians attempt to free their land from the Hapsburg (1848). In 1860 the army of Giuseppe Garibaldi makes it possible for Italy to become a nation under the reign of the Savoia dynasty; Venice will join Italy in 1866 after the 3rd Independence War.


There is evidence for a settlement in 600 CE, and this grew, having its own bishopric by the end of the 7th century. The settlement soon had an outside ruler, an official appointed by the Byzantine Empire, which clung onto a part of Italy from a base in Ravenna.

Venice, Italy

Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

In 751, when the Lombards conquered Ravenna, the Byzantine dux became a Venetian Doge, appointed by the merchant families who had emerged in the town. The twelfth century saw Venice and the remainder of the Byzantine Empire engage in a series of trade wars, before the events of the early thirteenth century gave Venice the chance to establish a physical trading empire: Venice had agreed to transport a crusade to the ‘Holy Land’, but this became stuck when the crusaders couldn’t pay.


Then the heir of a deposed Byzantine emperor promised to pay Venice and convert to Latin Christianity if they put him on the throne. Venice supported this, but when he was returned and unable to pay or unwilling to convert, relationships soured and the new emperor was assassinated.


The crusaders then sieged, captured and sacked Constantinople. Many treasures were removed by Venice, who claimed a part of the city, Crete and large areas including parts of Greece, all of which became Venetian trading outposts in a large empire.


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