Anyone who has ever traveled to Venice will tell you that the place is full of magic. The endless canals, the extravagant hotels, and some of the most beautiful cathedrals are all to be found in this ancient port city.
Venice is a fascinating place for many other reasons. In a moment, you’ll learn some of the most interesting facts about the Queen of the Adriatic.
Venice has more bridges and canals than almost any other city
Let’s talk statistics for a moment. There are 417 bridges in Venice, 72 of which are private. How’s that possible? These bridges belong to local mansions and are used by residents only.
But this leaves you with precisely 345 bridges to explore. The widest among them is Rialto Bridge; the longest, Ponte Della Constituzione; and the shortest, Ponte del Diavolo.
These are far too many bridges for you to explore during a single weekend visit. Couple that with 177 canals and 350 gondolas, and you’ll need at least a week in town to become familiar with this intricate net of aquatic surroundings.
Venice is home to the first casino ever
Casino di Venezia (or Ridotto), located in a wing of Palazzo Dandolo, was the first establishment of its kind, and after being opened in 1638, it quickly started attracting hordes of action-hungry travelers, especially during the carnival season.
The casino experience has changed quite a bit since those early days. It used to be an aristocratic pastime enjoyed in opulent venues. But nowadays, with the advent of modern technology, game designers try to spice up age-old classics like poker or blackjack and make them available to a broader audience on mobile devices.
However, the fact remains that the provenance of these and other games goes all the way back to 1638, when “a little house for gaming” was first established in Venice.
Venice has one of the most magnificent carnivals in the world
The tradition originated in the 11th century, and now it’s more popular than ever. The grand celebration lasts for two to three weeks around February and pulls crowds from all around the globe.
If you’re into a boisterous party like this, prepare to wear one of the famous Venetian masks that’ll enable you to hide your identity and mingle freely with whoever you want.
It’s interesting that since 1608, it was prohibited to wear masks outside the carnival season. This was to stop would-be criminals from hiding their identities from the authorities.
Those who ignored this proscription faced up to two years in prison, a public beating, or being bound to a pillar of shame.
Venice is home to a classy annual film festival that attracts international movie stars
The Venice Film Festival or Mostra Internazionale di Arte Cinematografica di Venezia is the oldest (non-competitive) event of this type in the world. The first edition was held in 1932, and since then, it takes place between August and September each year.
But it’s much more than merely a film festival. It’s a celebration of the arts, with a sharp focus on modern architecture, visual arts, dance, music, and theatre.
The event is frequently visited by some of the biggest names in the show business, including George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
That’s no surprise since canals here turn into floating red carpets, and movie producers vie for the coveted ‘Golden Lion’ award that’s inspired by the symbol of Venice itself.
These are just a couple of fascinating facts about Venice, otherwise known as the City of Masks and The Floating City. The history of the city goes as far back as 421 AD when the first church was built on the islet of Rialto. Since then, the town has evolved