The spectacular city of Venice with its many faces and names boasts of an endless maze of small streets, colourful architecture, a winding labyrinth of scenic canals, historical palazzos, and 16 centuries of history.
Venice is a city filled with stories and interesting secrets. Here are ten surprising facts about Venice and its lagoon.
1. Bridges Abound in Venice
You can see bridges anywhere you go in Venice. The city has approximately 400 bridges, 72 of which are private.
2. An Independent Empire in the Past
Venice’s independent republic lasted from 697 AD to 1797 AD for over a thousand years. The Venetian empire during its pinnacle in the 14th century ruled most of the Balkan coastline and as far as Crete.
3. No Wheels in the City
Don’t be surprised if you don’t see any type of wheels in the heart of the city. Boats and gondolas are used instead of cars, with the canals replacing the streets. It is also illegal to skateboard, rollerskate, or cycle in Venice.
4. 118 Islands Make Up Venice
Venice is made up of 118 islands connected by more than 170 canals and around 400 bridges. The city is found in the Venetian Lagoon which is named a world heritage site.
5. Only 3 or 4 New Gondoliers are Licensed Annually
While everyone knows about the gondolas of Venice, not all people know that a professional license is required for one to become a gondolier. A gondolier course is available after many centuries of handing down the profession from father to son.
But only 3 to 4 new licenses are granted annually. The course consists of 400 hours of training to develop the skills required as well as an apprenticeship with a professional gondolier. The candidates also need to study and pass the exam on the landmarks and history of Venice.
6. A City Built on Logs
Believe it or not, Venice is constructed above millions of petrified logs that were driven deep into the ground. These logs were mostly from water-resistant Alder trees. These were transported to Venice by boat from different countries like Croatia and Slovenia.
7. Venice is Sinking
It is revealed that Venice is subsiding by approximately 1 to 2 mm a year. It is because of both natural and manmade causes. Natural causes include the Adriatic plates where Venice sits getting driven out to the sea, while manmade causes are the continued water extraction from the city for the past century.
8. Venetians Paraded a Casket All Over Venice
Venetians held a fake funeral in 2008 for raising awareness of the declining number of residents who live in Venice full-time. They paraded a casket on three gondolas all over the city but nothing much changed after the protest.
9. Venetians are Not Fans of Cruise Ships
Venetians hate cruise ships because these bring tons of pollution, displace 90,000 tonnes of water that damages the lagoon, and bring an extra 30,000 passengers a day during peak season that don’t even spend a lot of money in Venice.
10. Venice is Shaped Like a Fish
Since the early times, Venice constructions had to tackle salty air, sand, mud, and water. They managed to construct a cemented ground that has been holding on for years by developing a smart system of building stilts and using waste material, bricks, and mud to prevent water leaks. But during its creation, the city took on the shape of a fish when viewed from above!