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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.
Another famous bridge is the Rialto Bridge. (Below). In Italian it is called il Ponte di Rialto and it crosses the Grand Canal - il Canal Grande.
Below you can see an image of a normal, small bridge. How fascinating to open your window or door onto a street of water!
Venice produces beautiful, coloured glass. It is made in the part of the city called Murano.
This glass is world-famous and is called Murano glass - il vetro di Murano. All kinds of items are made with it: vases, beads, ornaments, chandeliers, etc.
There is a museum dedicated to the local glass. The museum is called il Museo del Vetro.
Image: a street monument in Venice made from Murano glass. It has been made to look like fire.
The city of Venice is also famous for its Carnevale celebrations each year. This is a festival that takes place in the period just before Lent. People dress up in costumes and masks.
In this image, you can see a woman dressed for Carnevale, standing in front of la Basilica di San Marco.
The Venetian Lagoon and the historic centre of Venice are both listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Italian, this status is called: un Sito Patrimonio Mondiale dell'Umanità.
Unfortunately, Venice has always been at risk of flooding (allagamento) by high tides known as acqua alta. The city is slowly sinking. When a flood is predicted, alarms ring out across the city to warn the people. They are called le sirene di allertamento. The alarm begins with a siren to alert everyone. Next, there is an alarm bell that rings like a code. There are four different codes: the alarm will ring with one note for the least severe warning, or it will ring with two, three or even four notes for the worst flooding.
Click on the button below to hear a recording of the siren followed by the alarm bell ringing four times to warn of the worst flooding.
The problem is becoming worse due to climate change and the rising sea level. This means that the beautiful, historic buildings could be lost. The image below shows the centre of Venice under water in November 2019 during a period of devastating floods. It is so sad to see the city in this way.
We must all help to save la Serenissima from being lost forever.
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