Facts, figures and bizarre things about Venice
Read on to discover the most amazing facts, figures and bizarre things about the beautiful city of Venice.
OK, so here you are: getting ready to come to visit Venice, the Serene city of Europe, the great Dame of the Water!
You have booked your holiday, your luggage is ready, your passport is up to date, you have got your map and guide to Venice.
So now, why don’t you take a few minutes to read a few facts and figures about this beautiful and unique city. Some you might know, some might be new information for you.
Sit down, drink your coffee and find out about those things on Venice which you might not know.
Facts and figures on Venice
Did you know that…..
1- The City of Venice (Comune di Venezia) is made out of:
- the Historic centre (the actual island which is not one island, but many little ones connected together);
- the islands of Lido-Murano–Burano and some more little ones;
- the areas of Mestre, Marghera, Chirignago, Favaro Veneto.
The Historic City counts a little less than 54,000 inhabitants (data from 2017) the rest of the city counts about 207,000 inhabitants (2014). So make sure you know if your hotel in Venice is located in the area most suitable for you.
2- Venice is not only a city, it is also a province with 44 comuni (towns). The Metropolitan City of Venice counts around 853,000 inhabitants.
4- The metropolitan area of Venice and Padova (Padua) together counts nearly 1,600,000 inhabitants.
5- The Historic city is divided in six quarters called Sestrieri: Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, Castello and San Marco.
6- Nearly 3,000,000 people visit Venice every year, mainly during the summer.
7- 117 islands form the main Historic Centre and they are nearly all connected by bridges.
8- There are more than 430 bridges in Venice, all of which have a name relating to their function, their history or some particular event, which might have taken part on the bridge or nearby. .
9- Venice is built on wood piles (massive tree trunks brought down from the Dolomites during the Venetian Republic). These poles are immersed completely into the sea bed and water, and by a process of mineralization they become as hard as rock, therefore the Venetian were able to build solid structures on them.
10- The climate is Humid Tropical, that is humid winters and very hot humid sticky summers.
Did you know that…..
1- The legend says Venice was founded by the population of Altino, Aquileia and Grado. who escaped from the Barbarians, around the year 569 AD. But new findings are proving that some population were already living on the island long, before that period. It seems some settlements were there even before the birth of Christ.
2- Venice elected its first Doge in 697 AD, his name was Paulicio Anafesto. The last Doge was Ludovico Manin who was in charge until 1797, the year Napoleon conquered Venice. There have been 120 Doges in all the history of the City, some good, some bad, but always elected by the Republic.
4- The Republic of Venice lasted for over 1000 years and its territories reached Istria, Dalmatia, parts of Greece, Cyprus, Turkey. Its trading routes spanned up to China and India, thanks to Marco Polo.
5- The arch-enemy of Venice was always its rival Genoa, with which Venice fought a fierce war for many years, for the control of the trading routes.
6- The first Ghetto was created in the city in 1516 and the people living in it had to wear a yellow badge, to show that they were Jews (doesn’t this reminds us of something?).
It seems that the word Ghetto derives from the word Getto, which in Venetian means to throw-jet. The island of the Ghetto was originally the area of metal foundries, therefore the word comes from the action of throwing the metal into the casts.
7- In the years 1575-1577 and in the year 1630 there were two major epidemic plagues which decimated the city. Venice remembers those days even now with two main celebrations:
The Redentore is celebrated on the third weekend of July to commemorate the end of the plague in 1577. In this occasion the Venetians built a church on the island of the Giudecca, called Il Redentore and designed by Palladio.
During the celebration a bridge of boats is prepared to allow pilgrims to walk from Venice direct onto the church.
Santa Maria della Salute was also built to commemorate the end of the plague in 1630.
It was designed by a student of Palladio, Longhena. Like on the day of the Redentore, a votive bridge of boats is built on 21st November of each year, to allow pilgrims to visit the church.
8- Marco Polo was born in Venice on 1254. He was a merchant and became famous for his travels to Asia and China and for reporting about life in those countries in a book, called the Milion, written allegedly during his imprisonment in Genoa, together with the writer Rustichello.
He opened the Silk Route. He died back in Venice in 1324. You can still see where he lived in Venice, near Teatro Malibran.
9- Giacomo Casanova was born in 1725 in Venice and became famous for being a seducer and a libertine. In natural fact he was a philosopher, a mathematician, a musician, a lawyer, a gambler, a spy, an alchemist.
An old Venetian legend says he never died. This is another of the tales you can hear in the Ghost tours of Venice.
10- Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678. He is one of Italy’s greatest composer. He composed over 400 works, but the most famous is Le Quattro Stagioni (the four seasons). He died in Venice in 1741.
Did you know that…..
1- For the first time ever in history the word Glasses is mentioned and this happens in Venice. In 1284 the regulation of the Crystal Glass Masters of Venice says that the oglarios (very similar to the word occhiali, Italian for glasses) must be made of the best crystal and not with cheap glass.
2- The word Ciao comes from Venice. It comes from the words Sciavo Tuo, that in Venetian means Schiavo Tuo, Italian for Your Slave. This was the term used by people to greet one another in a courteous way.
3- In 1474 in Venice there used to be a law to cover the rights of the makers of inventions. This was the first law giving exclusive rights for limited periods to inventors in general, so it was the first patent law.
4- In 1678 the first woman in the world to get a university degree was a Venetian woman called Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia. She got her degree at the University of Padova.
5- At the beginning of 1700 some documents mention the use of a very short skirt in Venice. Women used to wear a very short skirt, which let their legs bare, but they wrapped them in fascinating white tights. The first ever mini-skirt!
6- The First Italian to move and live in New York was a Venetian sailor man named Carlo Alberti, back in 1635.
7- More than 1,385,000 people from the region of Veneto emigrated to North and South America at the beginning of the 20th century.
8- In Venice people speak Venetian, a local dialect: a mix of original Venetian and Volgar Latin, but many words come also from French, German, Spanish etc. This is due to the invasion by the French and then by the Austrian and by the fact that Venice was the centre of the commercial trade in the 16th century.
I hope you enjoyed all this fun facts….now come to Venice and truly enjoy the city!
And don’t forget to book a Food Tour in Venice!
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