During the Middle Ages, Venice was the most powerful trading metropolis in the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean and also a mystical place with a fascinating charisma.
Several times a year, the sea penetrates the city and overflows onto the Piazza San Marco in which the Basilica, with its Oriental and Byzantine influences, is an impressive sight.
Famous personalities, such as Casanova and Cagliostro lived in Venice and their decadent lives made a unique contribution to the city’s historic reputation.
Standing proudly above the Grand Canal is the world famous Rialto Bridge, that is supported by 12,000 pillars and measures 48 metres long and 22 metres wide.
The most prosperous of the city’s families erected their palaces on the city’s canal banks and the foundations of these buildings are supported by thousands of pillars. They also donated lavishly furnished churches and promoted the arts, thus artists such as Giorgione and Tizian became world famous.
In earlier times, gravediggers traveled on black veiled gondolas to the small island of San Michele. Flickering lights on wooden poles still illuminate the way to the island cemetery. The humidity of the soil forced the Venetians to bury their dead in the honeycombed alcoves of cemetery walls.
During carnival time, the city takes on a special charm when, for ten days prior to Lent, enchanting, colorful costumes and masks dominate the lagoon city. During carnival, the melancholic splendor of past centuries awakes and each year the extravagant spectacle attracts large numbers of tourists from all over the world.
For mystical delight with a good serving of history, Venice is without equal!
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.