Venice, the City of Islands

History of Venice


When you picture Italy, one of two images likely pop into your head; either a rolling countryside and vineyard or the colorful, bustling canals of Venice. Walking along the streets of Venice or taking a ride in a gondola, you might imagine what it was like to be here a hundred years ago at the turn of the 19th century. All the advancements being made with technology, all the unique restaurants you could have dined in, and the art that was being created at the time. What you might not imagine is a group of over a hundred marshy islands that existed before they were connected and made habitable with the Venice canals' construction. 


During the 5th century, Italy experienced many invasions that drove residents from the larger cities to distant parts of the country. These refugees inhabited the islands of Venice, finding the muddy waters kept away any unwanted intruders. As the population grew, the need to create connections between the islands became a necessity. So, the residents got to work digging areas to make the canals and draining water to form larger land stretches. Once the canals were excavated properly, they began driving wooden stakes into the mud and lining the banks with planks of wood and stone pieces. However, the construction wasn't the only incredible aspect of these canals! 


Since the islands lacked lagoons and forests, and therefore trees to chop for wood, all the wood had to be imported on ships from distant areas. This meant hundreds of trees had to be broken down and packed onto ships, unloaded onto the marshy islands, and then distributed along the canals. The organization that had to occur both before and during the canal construction process is astonishing to imagine. In addition, the wood was likely from what is now known as Montenegro, Slovenia, and Croatia. Therefore, there had to be friendly relationships between Venice's new citizens and the residents of these areas where they acquired their wood. It's impressive to imagine the resilience and patience that these new Venetians must have had to be able to accomplish all this work!


Another remarkable feature of the Venice canals is that the wood has been underwater for thousands of years and has yet to rot! This is likely due partially to the type of wood that was used but also because of the water conditions. Another main reason is the oxygen-poor waters in the canals. Both the lack of oxygen and the type of wood used helped provide time for the wood to turn into an almost stone state due to the salt and minerals the water holds. Without this perfect combination, Venice could have been totally different! 


In addition to learning about the impressive history of the Venice canals' construction, there are also a few noteworthy facts. Such as, the canals are a total of 26 miles! The canals have a water depth of anywhere from 1.5 meters to 17 meters, although most of the canals are on the lower side. The canals make up the main form of transportation for Venetians and tourists alike. There is also a main 'road' called the Grand Canal, which is always bustling with traffic- from gondolas to water taxis. The Grand Canal runs for two miles in length and stretches across approximately 225 feet! The Grand Canal also offers Venice's drainage and access into the Adriatic Sea.


Your Must-See Architecture


Along with allowing yourself time to get lost in Venice's beauty, there are a few specific landmarks you should try to fit into your visit. The first of these being the Grand Canal which has been the main 'street' in Venice for hundreds of years! There are plenty of shops to pop into to, offering one-of-a-kind works of art, particularly in the form of Murano glass


After shopping, simply hop on the ferry and take in the architecture from the water's perspective. While on the Grand Canal, make sure you stop by the Rialto Bridge, which was originally the only way to cross the Grand Canal! Experts suggest getting a gondola to float down the canal, but there are also more cost-effective public transportation options that will get you the same views. 


Another must-see area in Venice is St. Mark's Square, where, similar to Grand Canal, you'll find many famous buildings. A few of the most noteworthy stops will be right in the square's center and include St. Marks's Basilica, St. Mark's Campanile, and Doge's Palace. Make sure you don't miss out on the delicious food the square has to offer! Ristorante La Caravella offers a delicious seasonal menu and offers a dreamy and luxurious atmosphere. Or check out Ristorante Quadri and enjoy a wide range of Italian dishes while overlooking the square- Quadri even received a Michelin star in 2012! 


Whether you're searching for the perfect Italian meal, a unique piece of Italian art to take home, or just want to be immersed in the rich history of Venice, we can assure you you won't be disappointed. Make sure to check out Tesori's unique collection of Murano glass to bring Venice to you!