The Spirit of Venice

By: Tatyana Kogut.

Venice is the capital of Veneto region in Italy. 421 is traditionally thought to be the date when the city was founded. This is the time when people started migrating from the coast to the lagoon island, trying to escape from the northern barbarians. The city is located 4 km from the mainland and 2 km from the open sea.

Venice occupies an archipelago of 118 small islands, connected by a vast net of numerous canals. The city's islands are connected by 400 various bridges, the main of which is Canale Grande (Great Canal), 3,8 km long and 70 km wide. The canal divides the city into three parts, connected by three bridges: Rialto Bridge, Ponte dei Scalzi and the Ponte dell'Accademia. After there were several huge industrial zones built on the mainland, the level of water has been rising, that is why floods are a common thing for local citizens. The city slowly deeps into water.

Travelers think of Venice as of a huge fairytale ship, swimming out from the sea. The city has never been rebuilt. Like in past, Venice and its grand and shabby palaces, romantic canals, narrow streets and fascinating squares enchant the whole world. Its air is still filled with the wisdom of past generations.

Every year there is a traditional carnival organised in Vienna. During the whole week people celebrate the arrival of spring. In past, those who come to the carnival had to wear masks. Nowadays this beautiful tradition is still followed. Not only tourists, but also artists and celebrities come to the city to take part in its festivities.

The heart of Venice is St Mark's Square. Birds on the square, elegant window glasses, cafe musicians create an eternal festive atmosphere. There is St Mark's Basilica standing here. The basilica was built to commemorate Saint Mark the Evangelist, whose relics were stolen by the Venetians from Alexandria. There is campanile located next to it - a copy of the original building, which collided in the beginning of the 20th century. Another tower - Torre Dell'Orologio - is adorned with two bronze statues depicting Moors. One more building adjacent to the square is Piazzetta and its two wonderful columns. One of the columns is adorned with a winged lion - the symbol of Venice.

Doge's Palace used to be the magnificent residence which contained offices of local political institutions. Nowadays there is a museum located in this building. The palace is connected with the prison. Once a person was condemned, he went to the prison along a bridge, which got the name of the Bridge of Sighs. The only prisoner who managed to escape from here was Casanova.

Grand Canal, "the city's greatest street," spans through the whole Venice. This magnificent road is fringed with palaces, built in 13th - 18th centuries. The palaces represent all varieties of styles: Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque. There are boats riding along the canal - this is the only mode of public transport working in Venice. But of course, a ride on gondola along the city's narrow streets is more romantic.

Also don't miss excellent Peggy Guggenheim Collection, with works of modern art, and a souvenir market by the Rialto Bridge. Venice is also renowned for its excellent fish cuisine, cosy restaurants and bars.

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