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Venice is built on 117 small islands that are separated by 150 canals. People cross the canals by many small bridges. They can also be taken for rides along the canals in a type of boat called a gondola. The buildings in Venice are very old and attractive, and tourists come from all over the world to see them and the canals. This has made Venice one of the most famous cities in the world. The most famous sights are the Rialto Bridge, St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace.
There are problems with transit and sewage in Venice, but it is still the most popular tourist attraction in northeast Italy. Every year the city sinks a few centimeters because the ground is made from mud. Eventually the city will be completely underwater, but that will take years. Because of this the Italian government is building the MOSE Project, a state-of-the-art defense against the sea water flooding, that will safely protect Venice forever.
The city was founded by people from the greater Veneto region as a refuge from the Barbarian invasions, when the Roman Empire fell. During the Middle Ages, Venice slowly grew to be an important commercial city. Around the year 1000 AD the Republic of Venice started to create an empire in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It lasted until 1797, when it was annexed by Napoleon's France, it then changed hands a few times, becoming a part of Austria two different times, before becoming part of Italy during the Italian unification. Venice deeply influenced the Venetian, Istrian and Dalmatian coasts for one thousand years.
Venice started to lose population after its conquest by Napoleon, but with the unification of Italy the city returned to be an important city. It is actually one of the most visited places on Earth by tourists from all around the globe.
There are several ways to get around in Venice. The most common is the gondola, and also the vaporetto, which is a water bus and carries lots of people around the canals. There are also motoscafi, motonavi and traghetti (ferries). You can use a motorboat, catch a taxi, or walk.
- John Rigby Hale. Renaissance Venice (1974) (ISBN 0-571-10429-0)
- Lane, Frederic Chapin. Venice: Maritime Republic (1973) (ISBN 0-8018-1445-6)
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