When most people think ‘Venice’, they think of gondoliers steering narrow boats down narrow canals. Or maybe Carnival, the elaborately masked and costume festival springs to mind. But this city on the water is so much more.
Here are five facts about Venice that deserve to be better known.
- The Republic of Venice boasted one of the longest uninterrupted forms of government in Western history. Known as La Serenissima (the most serene), it lasted from 697 to 1797 – 1100 years. That remarkable feat inspired some of the Founding Fathers of America to study the Republic’s government.
- The famous Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), is the only square in the city that is called a Piazza. All other squares are Campo, Campiello, Piazzetta, or Piazzale. So if a local says “Ci vediamo in piazza!” which means “let’s meet in the square!”, you know they mean St. Mark’s Square.
- The oldest casino in the world is in Venice. The Casino di Venezia was first established in 1638, and by 1744, there were more than 120 open casinos.
- The Venice International Film Festival is Europe’s oldest movie festival and the second oldest in the world. It was first held in 1932, while the Oscars began in 1929. Organized by the Biennale di Venezia, the Venice International Film Festival remains one of the film world’s most prestigious and glamorous annual events.
- New Year in Venice wasn’t celebrated on 1st January but on 1st March, which was the start of spring. It represented the rebirth of life after the long winter. Traces of this remain in the names of the months of September, October, November, and December, respectively the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months starting from March. This New Year celebration, called Cao De ‘Ano, remained in place until 1797 when the Venetians moved to the system that we use today.
For part 2 go here
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