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Venice Collection

History Archive - Venice Collection

Venice or Venezia is a city of northern Italy. It is built upon a crowded cluster of islets in the lagoon of Venice, which is separated from a gulf of the Adriatic by a long and narrow sandbank, divided into a number of small islands by six narrow sea-passages. Inside of this sandbank and between it and the mainland, about four miles distant, is the lagoon, in some parts of which islets have formed, firm enough to be built upon and fertile enough to be cultivated. Here the city of Venice is built.

As the islands in many places afford no suitable foundations for buildings, the city is largely built upon piles or stone. In the vicinity of Venice the ebbing tide lays bare a great plain of mud, laced by a network of narrow channels from which the sea never retires, while at high water the whole surface is covered by the sea to the depth of one or two feet. The city of marble palaces seems to rise like a vision out of the sea. This alone suffices to make it at all times an object of fascination, but in summer and autumn, the season of the highest tides, when the grand place of St. Mark's is partially flooded, the city is marvelously beautiful, and must continue to be a place of interest so long as it stands.

The present population is 160,000. Although the many marshy islands extending along the northwestern shores of the Adriatic are known to have been used by the inhabitants of Venetia, one of the provinces into which Italy was divided by Constantine, as places of retreat from barbarian invasions as early as the 5th century, the first permanent settlement on the site of the present city cannot be traced farther back than the beginning of the 9th century.

The physical conditions with which the early inhabitants had to contend could hardly have been more unfavorable to the development of a great and prosperous city. The soil possessed no kind of mineral wealth, the thickets which diversified the surface of the barren marshes produced no valuable timber, good drinking-water was hardly to be obtained; yet it was here that the Venetians by their energy, their industry and their genius for commerce succeeded in establishing and maintaining their independence, in making other nations their tributaries, in sending their fleets to distant shores, in controlling the destiny of empires and in building up a naval power unique in history.

Venice may be said to have risen out of the ruins of the Roman empire and to have maintained its separate nationality through the middle ages and down to 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte entered the city, proclaimed the republic at an end and transferred her territory to Austria. In 1806 the city with the territory of Venetia was annexed to Italy by the treaty of Pressburg, but it was again transferred to Austria in 1814, under whose dominion it remained until 1866, when it was once more incorporated in the kingdom of Italy.

Consult Brown's Venice, McClellan's Venice and Oliphant's Makers of Venice.


The New Student's Reference Work (1914)

Available Books


Image Name
The Doorway of San Marco
The Armenian Monastery and the Lagoon
Courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale
The Campanile and the Piazza from Cook's Corner
The Campanile
View from the Gallery of San Marco
A Side Canal
View on the Grand Canal from San Angelo
San Giorgio
Riva Degli Schiavoni
Entrance of the Grand Canal
Title Page
Evening in the Piazzetta
A Venetian Bridge
View from Ca d'Oro
Corner of the Palazzo Dario
Palazzo Sanudo
Santa Maria della Salute
Traghettyo of S. Zobenigo, Grand Canal
S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
In the Piazza
The Palazzo Pesaro (Orfei), Campo S. Benedetto
The Dogana (with S. Giorgio Maggiore just visible)
The Grand Canal, showing S. Maria della Salute
S. Mark's from the Piazza. The Merceria Clock on the Left
Back Cover
The Colleoni Statue and SS. Giovanni e Paolo
Piazzetta, The Library
Bronze Well-Head by Alberghetti - The Courtyard of Palazzo Ducale
The Rio Torreselle and Back of the Palazzo Dario
A Palace Door
The Shadow of the Campanile
Front Cover
The Grand Canal from the Steps of S. Maria della Salute
Palazzo Rezzonico
The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower from Gallery of San Marco
Title Page
The Rialto Bridge from the Palazzo dei Dieci Savii
The Gondoliers' Shrine
The Horses of San Marco, looking North
The Horses of San Marco, looking South
The Dogana
View on the Grand Canal
View from the Dogana at Night
The Ponte di Paglia and the Bridge of Sighs, with a corner of the Doges' Palace and the Prison
Towards the Rialto San Angelo
Doorway of S. Maria della Salute
The Corner of the Old Library and the Doges' Palace


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