- Venice dates back to the year 400, and was founded in its unique location out of necessity, due to barbarian invasions encroaching from land on the north and east
- Venice is made up of 118 islands connected by over 400 foot bridges
- Venice was not built directly onto these islands, but rather on wooden platforms entrenched in the sea bed by thousands of wooden piles
- 50,000 tourists visit Venice each day, almost dwarfing the number of true residents (60,000)
- Venice has 150 canals, the biggest is the S-shaped Grand Canal which flows through the centre of the city
- There are 400 gondoliers in Venice. Only 3 to 4 gondolier licences are issued annually. Applicants must pass a rigorous exam after extensive training on the geography of Venice's many canals. (I imagine it to be bit like London cabbies' the Knowledge, but on the water).
- There are 3 ancient bridges over the Grand Canal: the Rialto, Accademia, and Scalzi
- Venice is sinking by 1-2 millilitres each year. Acqua alta (high water) is a problem for the city, especially in November and December. A big engineering project is currently under way to help prevent water from flooding the town.
Venice feels a little like a rabbit warren when you're walking around - the streets are narrow and seem to lead nowhere and everywhere all at once. My advice would be to ignore the signs, don't even try to not get lost, and just enjoy wandering and exploring.
|On one of the many footbridges|
|One of the many gondolas|
|On our way to the Rialto bridge|
|San Marco's Square|
|And the view from above...|
Everyone should visit Venice once in their lifetime. Yes, it can be incredibly crowded with tourists, especially from April onwards. Yet it is also incredibly beautiful, historic, and pretty amazing when you consider that a city literally built on the sea is still standing, (and looking great while doing it), over 1500 years later.