On the marshy Venetian Lagoon, between the mouths of Rivers Po and Piave lies the UNESCO listed World Heritage Site called the city of Venice. Over the centuries of its existence, the city has been referred to as "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals". But how did the city start to eventually become Italy's top tourist destination? Below is a brief history of the city.
It is thought that the original dwellers of the city of Venice originated from the surrounding cities of Padua, Aquileia, Treviso, Altino and Concordia. They are thought to be refugees who were running away from the regular Germanic and Hun invasions that had grown rampant with the crumble of the Roman Empire.
2. Under the Lombards
In year 166 through 168, the city's center (present day oderzo) was destroyed by the Quadi and Marcomanni. Later, the Visogoths were to take over the Roman fortifications in the 5th century and just 50 years later, they were also replaced by the Huns led by Attila. The most enduring conqueror after this was Lombards who organized the Roman/Byzantine territory as the Exarchate of Ravenna.
3. Venice Decline
The Lombards ruled the city of Venice up to 15th century when the city started to decline in influence. Trying to assert its influence, it tried, unsuccessfully to take Thessalonica from the Ottoman Turks. Apparently, the decline was made worse when Portugal became the main intermediary of trade between the East and Europe. The influence of Venice came to a halt when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the city in 12 May 1797 during the First Coalition.
4. Changes in Sovereignty
Due to the Treaty of Campo Formio signed by Bonaparte, Venice changed sovereign from Kingdom of Italy to Austria and back between 1797 and 1866.
5. World War II
During the Second World War, the city was occupied by the German soldiers but when Germany was about to be defeated, the New Zealand troops under Freyberg of the Eighth army relieved the city from the Germans and was handed back to Italy. Hopefully, this will be the final and last war in/and for Venice.
Today, Venice is a major tourist destination that boasts of scenic ancient buildings, and romantic hotspots.
If you have never visited Venice, I daresay that you have not seen the best of Europe. This city represents the top cream of the European hospitality...it is a must visit during a European tour.