Venetian History

Venetian history and origins are somewhat obscured before the first couple of centuries AD. Most historians do however agree that the original population of people that showed up in the lagoons of present-day Venice were refugees fleeing Roman cities such as Padua and Altino to escape unrelenting invasions by Germanic tribes and the Huns. The history of Venice Italy is largely the story of refugees seeking protection in the lagoons away from the unprotected countryside, whose ancestors would go on to help shape one of the most dominant city states in the Middle Ages. Facts about Venice Italy point to 421 AD as the traditional founding date for the city, coinciding with the construction of San Jacopo on the islet of Rialto, the first church to be built in the area.

Venetian History
Venetian History

The course of Venetian history was forever altered when the Roman Empire was sacked by the Lombards in 568, leaving a young Venice to deal with factions from the East with which they did not have previous relations. The history of Venice Italy shows us that it was during this time that Venice began to establish itself as a preeminent power in terms of defending the Adriatic as well as using water channels as routes for commerce and trade. Indeed, the Venetians would come to trade heavily with countries from the East.

There are some interesting facts about Venice Italy that help us understand how it was that this small city state that was founded in a lagoon came to be a force that at one time employed some 30,000 sailors that controlled over 3,000 boats. They elected their first leader, Ursus, in the early part of the eighth century. Ursus became the first Doge (or essentially, governor) of Venice. Later, Duke Agnello Particiaco would move the seat of government from Malamocco to Rialto, the location of present-day Venice, and generally, higher ground. It was around this time that Venice history sees the construction of the legendary St. Mark’s Basilica, a famous church with a 40-square-foot altar that is studded with thousands of jewels. It is often referred to as the Church of God.

In 810, Nicephorus and Charlemagne came to an agreement to wrap Venice into the fold of the Byzantine Empire. Venetian history was greatly affected by this auspicious agreement, as support from the Byzantine Empire mean that Venice had the means to grow and expand, and also that when the Byzantine Empire weakened, the door would be opened for independence and a greater degree of autonomy. Some of the most impressive facts about Venice Italy are the ones that describe how quickly and efficiently Venice used its strategic relationships and geographical positioning to grow itself into a formidable power.

After centuries of growth and expansion, and dominance in the areas of trade by sea and land, especially to the countries of the East, the facts about Venice Italy become more dismal. The Ottomans struck a decisive blow to the strength of the city state when Venice attempted to defend Thessalonica for a long and wearing seven-year war. Plague would later inflict immeasurable damage on the population until things settled back down in the later part of the seventeenth century, when Venice would begin to recover its losses and take up its place as an important hub for transport of goods and for patronage of the arts.

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