Almost every city possesses a special street, but for Venice, it’s the Grand Canal, one of the most beautiful ‘streets’ in the world. It's a thoroughfare of water that contains opulent palaces and religious buildings, such as Santa Maria della Salute, of which the foundation is built on more than a million wooden supports. The Grand Canal is the lagoon city’s main street and winds its way over almost 4 kilometres.
It is its bridges that give Venice its distinctive character. Built on 12,000 posts, the Rialto Bridge has always been the city’s centre of commerce.
In the 5th century, the Hun invaded and destroyed the fishing villages along the Adriatic coast, their inhabitants seeking refuge on the islands of the lagoon. Built on 118 islands, the ‘City On The Sea’ gradually began to develop. Trade flourished and Venice eventually became the Mediterranean’s leading sea power. Its merchants became incredibly rich and well knew how to display their wealth. A Sea Republic developed and the Piazza San Marco became the centre of the lagoon city. The first Doge was elected, and today, his palace is evidence of the power and magnificence of this bygone era.
Nearly 2,500 pillars of granite and marble support the walls of the city’s largest and most famous cathedral, the Basilica Di San Marco and the many palaces that are located on the banks of the Grand Canal are further examples of Venetian power and influence.
Venice is a city made of stone and water, a powerful, old and proud city that has withstood the test of time.
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.