Venice is a city in north-east Italy. In Italian, it is called Venezia and it is the capital city of the region of Veneto. The nickname of Venice is la Serenissima - 'the Very Serene One'. It is also known as la Regina dell'Adriatico - the Queen of the Adriatic.
It is built on around 120 little islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea - il Mar Adriatico. The lagoon is called la Laguna di Venezia (the Venetian Lagoon). The little islands are connected by over 400 bridges. The roads are canals filled with a mixture of salt water and fresh water.
In the image above, you can see the tall structure called St. Mark's Bell Tower. It belongs to la Basilica di San Marco - St. Mark's Basilica. It is situated in the main square of Venice: la Piazza San Marco.
In Italian the bell tower is called il Campanile di San Marco. It stands almost 100 metres high and is the tallest building in Venice.
St. Mark (San Marco) is the patron saint of Venice.
At the top of the bell tower's spire there is a statue of the Archangel Gabriel. In Italian, he is called San Gabriele Arcangelo.
The bell tower is considered to be the symbol of Venice. For that reason, it has a nickname: il Padrone di Casa, meaning 'the owner of the house' or 'the landlord'.
Two interesting facts:
1. Originally, the bell tower was used as a lighthouse and watch tower.
2. In 1902, the bell tower collapsed and was reduced to rubble. It was re-built according to its original design.
Below is an old photo showing the rubble after the collapse of the bell tower in 1902.
Due to the fact that the roads are canals, Venice is the largest car-free residential area in the world! This proves that it is possible for a modern city to function without the existence of cars and lorries! The main canal of Venice is called il Canal Grande - the Grand Canal (below).
A traditional way to travel in Venice is by a boat called una gondola. The person who rows una gondola is called un gondoliere.
La gondola is made of wood, painted black and is hand-made. The reason why they are black is because the original method to preserve the wood involved coating it in black pitch or tar. This substance is called la pece in Italian.
Another traditional way to travel is in a waterbus known as un vaporetto. This type of boat is the public transport in Venice. If you need a taxi then it is un taxi acqueo. Examples of un vaporetto and un taxi acqueo can be seen in the image below.
One of the most famous bridges in Venice is called the Bridge of Sighs. In Italian - Il Ponte dei Sospiri. (Pictures below) It is believed that the bridge was given this name because it led to a prison and the prisoners would 'sigh' as they walked across it.
According to a tradition and belief of Venice, if two partners kiss as they pass under the Bridge of Sighs in a gondola at sunset whilst the bells of San Marco are ringing, they will have eternal love and happiness together!
Images: The Bridge of Sighs. In Italian - Il Ponte dei Sospiri.