Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Venice: an Incantato Favorite

Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can be truly described as unique. Surviving against all odds on a series of low mud banks in the Adriatic Sea, this northeastern Italian city has been called the gateway to the Orient - or, in the case of the San Marino Chamber Choir, a gateway to Slovenia, Croatia and your Performance Tour 2013.
Venice became an independent Byzantine providence in the 10th century and in 1204 it gained significant wealth and power through the trading routes between the East and the West. During the Middle Ages, the city was able to expand its influence throughout the Mediterranean all the way to present-day Istanbul. This immense wealth was celebrated in the art and architecture around the city that can still be seen today. 
The riches of St. Mark's alone demonstrate Venice's great position in the world from the 12th to the 14th centuries. However, the city finally fell to Napoleon in 1797 and joined the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
In the last 200 years of Venice's history, little has been altered as so many of the historical sights are still admired today. 
One of the most famous sights is the Rialto Bridge, which offers beautiful views of the Canal Grande and marks the heart of the city. This area was one of the first in Venice to be inhabited and it remains one of the city's busiest and most bustling areas. Completed in 1591, this bridge was the only means of crosse the Grand Canal until 1854, when the Accademia bridge was built. 
Described by Napoleon as the most elegant drawing room in Europe, the other favorite in Venice is the Piazzo San Marco with two of the city's most important historic sights: the Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale. Founded in the 9th century, the Palazzo once served as the home to Venice's rulers and to the offices of State. The Basilica, once the doge's private chapel, was built on a Greek cross plan and crowned with five massive domes. Today, it is a magnificent example of an Eastern and Western architectural blend. 


1 comment:

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    According to John Julius Norwich, the traditional first doge of Venice, Paolo Lucio Anafesto, was actually Exarch Paul, and his successor, Marcello Tegalliano, Paul's magister militum (General; literally, "Master of Soldiers.") In 726 the soldiers and citizens of the Exarchate rose in a rebellion over the iconoclastic controversy at the urging of Pope Gregory II. The Exarch was murdered and many officials put to flight in the chaos. At about this time, the people of the lagoon elected their own leader for the first time, although the relationship of this ascent to the uprisings is not clear. Ursus would become the first of 117 "doges" (doge is the Venetian dialect development of the Latin dux ("leader"); the corresponding word in English is duke, in standard Italian duce.) Whatever his original views, Ursus supported Emperor Leo's successful military expedition to recover Ravenna, sending both men and ships. In recognition, Venice was "granted numerous privileges and concessions" and Ursus, who had personally taken the field, was confirmed by Leo as dux and given the added title of hypatus (Greek for "Consul".)
    Suitcases, backpacks and extra-size bags are not allowed into the Basilica, you can deposit them for free before your entrance at the Ateneo San Basso, next to the Basilica.

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