11 fun facts about Venice that will definitely surprise you
Venice. A spectacular city of many faces, knows by various names: “The Floating City”, “City of Canals”, “Serenissima”, “City of Bridges”, “City of Masks”, “Queen of the Adriatic”.
With its 16 centuries of history, winding labyrinth of picturesque canals, colorful architecture, endless maze of tiny streets, and historical palazzos, Venice has always been a city full of stories and secrets.
We’ve summed up for you some of the most intriguing Fun Facts Venice.Keep reading 👇
#1 City of Bridges
Venice is so well-known for its bridges: there are around 400 of them in the city, of which 72 are, in fact, private.
#2 Did Someone Say “Gondola”?
All in all, there are about 400 gondolas (they’re 11 m long and weigh around 600 kg) and 400 gondolieri in Venice. Do you think that’s extreme? Well, at some point in the past, the number of gondolas was around 10,000 since they were used for goods’ and public transportation.
Another fun fact is that there’s, actually, only one official woman gondolier! After almost 1.000 years of being an exclusively male business, a gondolier’s daughter, Giorgia Boscolo, became Venice’s first licensed gondoliera around 2010.
Want to hear another little interesting fact? Venetian historic gondolas have to be painted completely black by law with a view to reduce the competition among the city’s gondoliers.
#3 A Captivating Mosaic of Islands
The “island” of Venice is a striking mosaic of 118 tiny islands. The city rests on 118 islands, each with distinct landmarks and characteristics, separated by 150 canals. While strolling around, you feel like Venice consists of uninterrupted land, not of separate islands. Many of them are weaved together through a series of 400 footbridges, and others, such as the incredibly famous Burano and Murano are further out in the lagoon and only accessible by water taxi/ boat. Nowadays, breathtaking Venice and its islands are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
#4 On Zero Wheels
No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to spot any kind of wheels in the heart of Venice, since gondolas and boats take the place of cars, and the canals themselves replace the streets. Did you also know that it’s illegal to cycle, skateboard or roller-skate in Venice? Whoever breaks that law, they have to pay a fine.
#5 Once an Independent Empire
The independent Republic of Venice lasted for more than a thousand years, from 697 AD until 1797 AD. During its peak in the 14th century, the Venetian empire ruled all the way to Crete and much of the Balkan coastline.
#6 Famous Venetians
Venice is known for many things, like its local history of lace making and blown glass production, but was also the birthplace of many world-famous people.
- Marco Polo was born in 1254 in Venice in a mercantile family and is one of the most famous explorers who traveled to the Far East with his epic journey there lasting 24 years.
- Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678, the greatest composer of Italian Baroque music and the musical genius behind the 4 violin concerti known as “The Four Seasons”, among many others.
- Giacomo Casanova was born in 1725 in a family of Venetian theater actors had a chameleon-like ability to transform his self as a priest, soldier, spy, and many more. He later became the symbol of seduction via his autobiography where he detailed his 120 female conquests; no wonder that “Casanova” is synonymous to the word “womanizer” since the 19th century up until today.
#7 Behind Venetian Masks
One of the most interesting Fun Facts Venice: Venetian masks, dating back to the 13th century, have been a symbol of the city and its festivities, especially because of and during the Venetian Carnival. However, they actually have a more than 1000-year-old history: they were used as a means of concealing people’s true identities during any illicit or illegal activity that wasn’t approved by the Church. Or they were worn for romantic encounters, a fact which led to them being made illegal in Venice. These interesting face-coverings became so popular in the 17th and 18th centuries by the elite that the government had to restrict their usage.
#8 The Narrowest Roads in the World
While strolling around in Venice, you’ll find yourself pleasantly lost among the world’s narrowest streets which twist and turn like a real labyrinth. Calletta Varisco is just 53 cm wide and is named after the Varisco family, a group of silk workers who lived in the 15th century. You’ll have no luck with your GPS here. Enjoy the city in an old-school way.
#9 Quarantine was “Born” in Venice
Back in the day while Venice was spreading as an empire via sea trade, ships docking in the city were also bringing with them many illnesses and viruses. In order to prevent massive disease outbreaks, ships were demanded to remain offshore for 40 days; in Italian 40 is quaranta, so that’s where we got the word “quarantine” from.
#10 Sinking City
This Venice fun fact is, actually, no fun at all. Venice’s dangerous position which is getting worse is well-known, nowadays, and well-documented. According to research, the city is sinking by 1-2 mm every year, due to climate change and the shifting of Adriatic plates upon which the city sits and is slowly moving towards extinction.
Almost 50 years ago, frequent flooding started happening, so in 1973 the Italian government passed a law to recognize Venice’s vulnerability and urgent need to be protected from tremendous environmental disasters. Officials have established a barrier system, the so-called “MOSE” (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico), consisting of 78 gates that can be raised so as to hold back tides.
#11 MEININGER Goes to Venice
It’s official, we have a brand-new hotel opening in Venice soon: the MEININGER Venezia Mestre. The ideal accommodation for those of you who want to explore the magnificent city of Venice while staying within your budget. Dive into the comfort zone of our modern amenities, like free Wi-Fi, 24h-reception, a guest kitchen, and so much more. Choose the MEININGER Venezia Mestre, the best place to stay in Venice, where the perfect location is combined with affordable prices and contemporary comforts.
Mestre is on the mainland, so, in other words, you’ll find around our hotel very affordable services as well as convenient public transport connections to the heart of Venice even at night. Welcome to the MEININGER Venezia Mestre.