Venice, the great Italian city built on the Po River delta, must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Constructed around a network of canals rather than roads, this gem of old Europe is home to a dazzling array of palaces. Venice is around one and a half thousand years old and for many years was a city-state of great power and wealth after the models of Rome and Athens.
As well a center of political power Venice has always been hugely influential in the arts. There was even a distinct style of painting denoted by the name “The Venice School”. This was mainly prevalent during the mid fifteenth to the beginning of the seventeenth centuries and included such luminaries as Vivarini, Bellini and Mantegna.
This tradition is maintained today with Venice still supporting a thriving community of artists and also more modern artistic arts event such as the world renowned Venice Film Festival. It also home to many great collections of both modern and classical art including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of work by twentieth century artists working in Italy.
One aspect of the arts in which Venice can lay claim to occupy the premier position, is glass blowing. Although believed to have been originated by the Romans or Phoenicians, Venice has long been known as the home of glassblowing. Mainly centered on the Venetian island of Murano the glassblowers of Venice became famous for their intricate designs and also their secrecy to prevent the wholesale copying of their techniques.
For a millennium, Venice has provided inspiration for artists and writers. This coveted city is made up of 118 islands linked by 453 bridges. Each corner of town exhibits individual architectural magnificence, the city combining as one to form a spectacular theatrical stage set.
Beautiful churches adorn the banks of the Grand Canal as she snakes her way through the city. This main artery is at the centre of a myriad of canals running throughout the town.
The lifeblood of Venice is its tourism, a magnet for over 12 million visitors a year. Catering for this influx of visitors, the cities population of 70,000 people continue their daily lives, working the bars, cafes and restaurants.
Today you will find Venice a very busy and largely tourist friendly city. It can get crowded at the height of the season but the locals are generally helpful and friendly being used to the annual influx of tourists. Venice is one of the must see destinations in Europe and any time spent there will be richly rewarded with a feast of good food, great architecture and a fascinating artistic legacy.
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