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City (pop., 2008 est.: 268,993), capital of Veneto region, northern Italy. Built on a lagoon, Venice encompasses some 118 islands, the whole 90-mi (145-km) perimeter of the lagoon, and two industrial mainland boroughs. Refugees from northern invasions of the mainland founded settlements in the 5th century that were built uniquely on islands as protection against raids. Venice was a vassal of the Byzantine Empire until the 10th century. Beginning with control of a trade route to the Levant, Venice emerged from the Fourth Crusade (1202–04) as ruler of a colonial empire which included Crete, Euboea, the Cyclades, the Ionian Islands, and footholds in Morea and Epirus. In 1381 it defeated Genoa after a century-long struggle for commercial supremacy in the Levant and eastern Mediterranean. In the 15th century, with the acquisition of neighbouring regions, the Republic of Venice became an extensive Italian state. It gradually lost its eastern possessions to Ottoman Turks, with whom Venice fought intermittently from the 15th to the 18th century; it gave up its last hold in the Aegean in 1715. The republic dissolved and the territory was ceded to Austria in 1797. Incorporated into Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy in 1805, it was restored to Austria in 1815. A revolt against Austria (1848–49) eventually resulted in Venice being ceded to Italy in 1866. It suffered little damage during World War II, but flooding along its many miles of canals caused severe damage in 1966. The waters of the lagoon rise and flood the city on a regular basis, complicating efforts to preserve its architecture, which includes Italian, Arabic, Byzantine, and Renaissance forms. There are some 450 palaces and homes of major historic importance in Venice. Notable among its 400 bridges is the Bridge of Sighs (built c. 800) and among its churches St. Mark's Basilica. Most of the city's workers find employment in tourism and related industries, though Venice also plays a key market role within the vibrant economic system of the Veneto region.
Variants of VENICE
Venice Italian Venezia
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Venice, visit Britannica.com.