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In this context, the writings of the Anglican divine William Bedell are particularly illuminating. Venice was threatened with the interdict on a number of occasions and twice suffered its imposition.
The second, most noted, occasion was in , by order of Pope Paul V. The newly invented German printing press spread rapidly throughout Europe in the 15th century, and Venice was quick to adopt it.
By , Venice was the printing capital of the world; the leading printer was Aldus Manutius , who invented paperback books that could be carried in a saddlebag.
His Aldine Editions included translations of nearly all the known Greek manuscripts of the era. Venice's long decline started in the 15th century, when it first made an unsuccessful attempt to hold Thessalonica against the Ottomans when they started to attack — It also sent ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks After Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmed II , he declared the first of a series of Ottoman-Venetian wars that cost Venice much of its eastern Mediterranean possessions.
Even more decisive than the Columbian exchange and the beginning of Atlantic trade following Christopher Columbus's voyage of was Vasco da Gama 's first voyage of —99, which opened a sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope and destroyed Venice's monopoly.
France, England, and the Dutch Republic quickly followed Spain and Portugal, but Venice's oared galleys were at a disadvantage when it came to traversing the great oceans, and therefore Venice was left behind in the race for colonies.
The Black Death devastated Venice in , and once again between and However, the Venetian empire remained a major exporter of agricultural products, and until the midth century, a significant manufacturing center.
During the 18th century, Venice became perhaps the most elegant and refined city in Europe, greatly influencing art, architecture, and literature.
But the Republic lost its independence when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice on 12 May during the War of the First Coalition.
Napoleon was seen as something of a liberator by the city's Jewish population. He removed the gates of the Ghetto and ended the restrictions on when and where Jews could live and travel in the city.
Venice became Austrian territory when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio on 12 October The Austrians took control of the city on 18 January Venice was taken from Austria by the Treaty of Pressburg in and became part of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy.
It was returned to Austria following Napoleon's defeat in , when it became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.
In a revolt briefly re-established the Venetian republic under Daniele Manin , but this was crushed in In , after the Third Italian War of Independence , Venice, along with the rest of the Veneto, became part of the newly created Kingdom of Italy.
During the Second World War , the historic city was largely free from attack, the only aggressive effort of note being Operation Bowler , a successful Royal Air Force precision strike on the German naval operations in the city in March The targets were destroyed with virtually no architectural damage inflicted on the city itself.
Venice sits atop alluvial silt washed into the sea by the rivers flowing eastward from the alps across the Veneto plain, with the silt being stretched into long banks, or lidi , by the action of the current flowing around the head of the Adriatic Sea from east to west.
Subsidence , the gradual lowering of the surface of Venice, has contributed—along with other factors—to the seasonal Acqua alta "high water" when much of the city's surface is occasionally covered at high tide.
Those fleeing Barbarian invasions who found refuge on the sandy islands of Torcello, Iesolo, and Malamocco, in this coastal lagoon, learned to build by driving closely spaced piles consisting of the trunks of alder trees, a wood noted for its water resistance, into the mud and sand,   until they reached a much harder layer of compressed clay.
Building foundations rested on plates of Istrian limestone placed on top of the piles. Between autumn and early spring, the city is often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic.
Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city.
In , to defray the cost of flood relief, Venice introduced what could be considered the first example of a " stamp tax ". At first, this was to be a temporary tax, but it remained in effect until the fall of the Republic in Shortly after the introduction of the tax, Spain produced similar paper for general taxation purposes, and the practice spread to other countries.
During the 20th century, when many artesian wells were sunk into the periphery of the lagoon to draw water for local industry, Venice began to subside.
It was realized that extraction of water from the aquifer was the cause. The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the s.
However, the city is still threatened by more frequent low-level floods—the Acqua alta , that rise to a height of several centimetres over its quays—regularly following certain tides.
In many old houses, staircases once used to unload goods are now flooded, rendering the former ground floor uninhabitable. In May , Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi inaugurated the MOSE Project Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico , an experimental model for evaluating the performance of hollow floatable gates; the idea is to fix a series of 78 hollow pontoons to the sea bed across the three entrances to the lagoon.
According to a spokesman for the FAI :. If the barriers are closed at only 90 cm of high water, most of St Mark's will be flooded anyway; but if closed at very high levels only, then people will wonder at the logic of spending such sums on something that didn't solve the problem.
And pressure will come from the cruise ships to keep the gates open. On 13 November , Venice was flooded when waters peaked at 1.
The city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro , blamed the floods on climate change. The chambers of the Regional Council of Veneto began to be flooded around 10 pm, two minutes after the council rejected a plan to combat global warming.
At the same time, the city is sinking, the result of tectonic plates shifting below the Italian coast. Those factors together, along with the more frequent extreme weather events associated with climate change, contribute to floods.
Henk Ovink , an expert on flooding, told CNN that, while environmental factors are part of the problem, "historic floods in Venice are not only a result of the climate crisis but poor infrastructure and mismanagement".
On 3 October , the MOSE was activated for the first time in response to a predicted high tide event, preventing some of the low-lying parts of the city in particular the Piazza San Marco from being flooded.
According to the Köppen climate classification , Venice has a mid-latitude, four season humid subtropical climate Cfa , with cool winters and hot, humid summers.
The hour average temperature in January is 3. Precipitation is spread relatively evenly throughout the year, and averages millimetres During the most severe winters, the canals and parts of the lagoon can freeze, but with the warming trend of the past 30—40 years, the occurrence has become rarer.
The city was one of the largest in Europe in the High Middle Ages , with a population of 60, in AD ; 80, in ; and rising up to ,—, in In the mid s the city's population was ,, and by almost , In , there were , people residing in the Comune of Venice the population estimate of , inhabitants includes around 60, in the historic city of Venice Centro storico , , in Terraferma the mainland ; and 31, on other islands in the lagoon ; Minors ages 18 and younger were This compared with the Italian average of The average age of Venice residents was 46 compared to the Italian average of In the five years between and , the population of Venice declined by 0.
The largest immigrant groups include: 5, 2. Venice is predominantly Roman Catholic Since , the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci in Venice has become the see of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta and Exarchate of Southern Europe , a Byzantine-rite diocese under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There is also a historic Jewish community in Venice. The Venetian Ghetto was the area in which Jews were compelled to live under the Venetian Republic.
The word ghetto , originally Venetian , is now found in many languages. Shakespeare 's play The Merchant of Venice , written in the late 16th century, features Shylock , a Venetian Jew.
The first complete and uncensored printed edition of the Talmud was printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberg in During World War II , Jews were rounded up in Venice and deported to extermination camps.
Since the end of the war, the Jewish population of Venice has declined from to about The whole comune red in the Metropolitan City of Venice.
Palazzo Corner is the seat of the Metropolitan City of Venice. Palazzo Ferro Fini is the seat of the Regional Council of Veneto. The legislative body of the Comune is the City Council Consiglio Comunale , which is composed of 36 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, contextually to the mayoral elections.
The executive body is the City Administration Giunta Comunale , composed of 12 assessors nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor.
Venice was governed by centre-left parties from the early s until the s, when the Mayor started to be elected directly. Its region, Veneto , has long been a conservative stronghold, with the coalition between the regionalist Lega Nord and the centre-right Forza Italia winning absolute majorities of the electorate in many elections at local, national, and regional levels.
The current Mayor of Venice is Luigi Brugnaro , a centre-right independent businessman who is currently serving his second term in office. Each borough is governed by a council Consiglio and a president, elected every five years.
The urban organization is dictated by Article of the Italian Constitution. The boroughs have the power to advise the Mayor with nonbinding opinions on a large spectrum of topics environment, construction, public health, local markets and exercise the functions delegated to them by the City Council; in addition, they are supplied with autonomous funding to finance local activities.
The Historic city of Venice is divided into six areas called sestieri :. The six fingers or phalanges of the ferro on the bow of a gondola represent the six sestieri.
The sestieri are divided into parishes — initially 70 in , but reduced under Napoleon , and now numbering just These parishes predate the sestieri , which were created in about Each parish exhibited unique characteristics but also belonged to an integrated network.
Each community chose its own patron saint, staged its own festivals, congregated around its own market center, constructed its own bell towers, and developed its own customs.
Other islands of the Venetian Lagoon do not form part of any of the sestieri , having historically enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy.
Each sestiere has its own house numbering system. Each house has a unique number in the district, from one to several thousand, generally numbered from one corner of the area to another, but not usually in a readily understandable manner.
Venice's economy has changed throughout history. Although there is little specific information about the earliest years, it is likely that an important source of the city's prosperity was the trade in slaves, captured in central Europe and sold to North Africa and the Levant.
Venice's location at the head of the Adriatic, and directly south of the terminus of the Brenner Pass over the Alps, would have given it a distinct advantage as a middleman in this important trade.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance , Venice was a major center for commerce and trade, as it controlled a vast sea-empire, and became an extremely wealthy European city and a leader in political and economic affairs.
Other ports such as Genoa , Pisa , Marseille , Ancona , and Dubrovnik were hardly able to compete with the well organized transportation of pilgrims from Venice.
This all changed by the 17th century, when Venice's trade empire was taken over by countries such as Portugal, and its importance as a naval power was reduced.
In the 18th century, then, it became a major agricultural and industrial exporter. The 18th century's biggest industrial complex was the Venice Arsenal , and the Italian Army still uses it today even though some space has been used for major theatrical and cultural productions, and as spaces for art.
Today, Venice's economy is mainly based on tourism, shipbuilding mainly in Mestre and Porto Marghera , services, trade, and industrial exports.
The city is facing financial challenges. The declining native population affects the character of the city, as an October National Geographic article pointed out in its subtitle: "Residents are abandoning the city, which is in danger of becoming an overpriced theme park".
In June , Italy was required to bail out two Venetian banks—the Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca —to prevent their bankruptcies. The Italian government would be responsible for losses from any uncollectible loans from the closed banks.
Venice is an important destination for tourists who want to see its celebrated art and architecture. By , UNESCO was considering the addition of Venice to its "In-Danger" list, which includes historical ruins in war-torn countries.
To reduce the number of visitors, who are causing irreversible changes in Venice, the agency supports limiting the number of cruise ships   as well as implementing a strategy for more sustainable tourism.
Tourism has been a major part of the Venetian economy since the 18th century, when Venice—with its beautiful cityscape, uniqueness, and rich musical and artistic cultural heritage—was a stop on the Grand Tour.
Today, there are numerous attractions in Venice, such as St Mark's Basilica , the Doge's Palace , the Grand Canal , and the Piazza San Marco.
The Lido di Venezia is also a popular international luxury destination, attracting thousands of actors, critics, celebrities, and others in the cinematic industry.
The city also relies heavily on the cruise business. Venice is regarded by some as a tourist trap, and by others as a "living museum".
The competition for foreigners to buy homes in Venice has made prices rise so high that numerous inhabitants are forced to move to more affordable areas of Veneto and Italy.
The need to protect the city's historic environment and fragile canals, in the face of a possible loss of jobs produced by cruise tourism, has seen the Italian Transport Ministry attempt to introduce a ban on large cruise ships visiting the city.
A ban would have allowed only cruise ships smaller than 40,gross tons to enter the Giudecca Canal and St Mark's basin.
As a result, the Venice Port Authority estimated an Having failed in its bid to ban oversized cruise ships from the Giudecca Canal, the city switched to a new strategy in mid, banning the creation of any additional hotels.
Currently, there are over 24, hotel rooms. The ban does not affect short-term rentals in the historic center which are causing an increase in the cost of living for the native residents of Venice.
The city also considered a ban on wheeled suitcases , but settled for banning hard plastic wheels for transporting cargo from May In addition to accelerating erosion of the ancient city's foundations and creating some pollution in the lagoon,   cruise ships dropping an excessive number of day trippers can make St.
Marks Square and other popular attractions too crowded to walk through during the peak season. Government officials see little value to the economy from the "eat and flee" tourists who stay for less than a day, which is typical of those from cruise ships.
Some locals continued to aggressively lobby for new methods that would reduce the number of cruise ship passengers; their estimate indicated that there are up to 30, such sightseers per day at peak periods,  while others concentrate their effort on promoting a more responsible way of visiting the city.
More than 18, people voted at 60 polling booths set up by activists, and 17, favored banning large ships from the lagoon.
The population of Venice at the time was about 50, Passengers would be transferred to the historic area in smaller boats. On 28 February , the Venice City Council voted in favour of a new municipal regulation requiring day-trippers visiting the historic centre, and the islands in the lagoon, to pay a new access fee.
The extra revenue from the fee would be used for cleaning, maintaining security, reducing the financial burden on residents of Venice, and to "allow Venetians to live with more decorum".
The fee could be waived for certain types of travelers: including students, children under the age of 6, voluntary workers, residents of the Veneto region, and participants in sporting events.
The access fee was expected to come into effect in September ; but it was postponed, firstly, until 1 January , and then, again, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Having failed in its bid to ban oversized cruise ships from the Giudecca Canal, the Italian inter-ministerial Comitatone overseeing Venice's lagoon released an official directive in November to keep the largest cruise ships away from the Piazza San Marco and the entrance to the Grand Canal.
In , the United Nations warned the city that it may be placed on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger sites unless cruise ships are banned from the canals near the historic centre.
According to the officials, the plan to create an alternate route for ships would require extensive dredging of the canal and the building of a new port, which would take four years, in total, to complete.
However, the activist group No Grandi Navi No big Ships , argued that the effects of pollution caused by the ships would not be diminished by the re-routing plan.
On 2 June , the cruise ship MSC Opera rammed a tourist riverboat, the River Countess , which was docked on the Giudecca Canal, injuring five people, in addition to causing property damage.
The incident immediately led to renewed demands to ban large cruise ships from the Giudecca Canal,  including a Twitter message to that effect posted by the environment minister.
The city's mayor urged authorities to accelerate the steps required for cruise ships to begin using the alternate Vittorio Emanuele canal.
Nonetheless, the Italian government released an announcement on 7 August that it would begin rerouting cruise ships larger than tonnes away from the historic city's Giudecca Canal.
For the last four months of , all heavy vessels will dock at the Fusina and Lombardia terminals which are still on the lagoon but away from the central islands.
By , one-third of all cruise ships will be rerouted, according to Danilo Toninelli, the minister for Venice. Preparation work for the Vittorio Emanuele Canal needed to begin soon for a long-term solution, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
That plan was not imminent however, since public consultations had not yet begun. Over 1. In the 19th century, a causeway to the mainland brought the railroad to Venice.
Beyond these rail and road terminals on the northern edge of the city, transportation within the city's historic centre remains, as it was in centuries past, entirely on water or on foot.
Venice is Europe's largest urban car-free area and is unique in Europe in having remained a sizable functioning city in the 21st century entirely without motorcars or trucks.
The classic Venetian boat is the gondola , plural: gondole although it is now mostly used for tourists, or for weddings, funerals, or other ceremonies, or as traghetti sing.
The traghetti are operated by two oarsmen. For some years there were seven such boats; but by , only three remained.
There are approximately licensed gondoliers in Venice, in their distinctive livery, and a similar number of boats, down from 10, two centuries ago. Its shape has evolved through the centuries, as documented in many well-known paintings.
Its form, topped by a likeness of the Doge's hat, became gradually standardized, and was then fixed by local law. It consists of six bars pointing forward representing the sestieri of the city, and one that points backwards representing the Giudecca.
Venice's small islands were enhanced during the Middle Ages by the dredging of soil to raise the marshy ground above the tides.
The resulting canals encouraged the flourishing of a nautical culture which proved central to the economy of the city.
Today those canals still provide the means for transport of goods and people within the city. The maze of canals threading through the city requires more than bridges to permit the flow of foot traffic.
In , the city opened the Ponte della Costituzione , the fourth bridge across the Grand Canal, which connects the Piazzale Roma bus-terminal area with the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station.
The other bridges are the original Ponte di Rialto , the Ponte dell'Accademia , and the Ponte degli Scalzi. Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano ACTV is a public company responsible for public transportation in Venice.
The main means of public transportation consists of motorised waterbuses vaporetti which ply regular routes along the Grand Canal and between the city's islands.
Private motorised water taxis are also active. The only gondole still in common use by Venetians are the traghetti , foot passenger ferries crossing the Grand Canal at certain points where there are no convenient bridges.
Other gondole are rented by tourists on an hourly basis. The Venice People Mover is an elevated shuttle train public transit system connecting Tronchetto island with its car parking facility with Piazzale Roma where visitors arrive in the city by bus, taxi, or automobile.
The train makes a stop at the Marittima cruise terminal at the Port of Venice. Lido and Pellestrina are two islands forming a barrier between the southern Venetian Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea.
On those islands, road traffic, including bus service, is allowed. Vaporetti link them with other islands Venice, Murano , Burano and with the peninsula of Cavallino-Treporti.