According to tradition, #Venice formally came into existence at the stroke of noon on the 25th March, 421 A.D. But, it wasn't until around 450 A.D. that large numbers of people decided to settle permanently in the lagoon after the fall of the #roman #empire.
The arrival of Attila the Hun, and the devastation his forces caused on the mainland were enough to help the inhabitants finally realize that to try to continue to live on the mainland was no longer possible. In fact, many of the #refugees found their new lives in the lagoon more congenial than they had expected.
#Living in a #refuge that was both uneviable and inaccessible; where there enemies lacking both #ships and a #knowledge of sea could not follow; the #geographical isolation of these early Venetians enabled them to enjoy an indepedence from the successive upheavals by which #Italy was now being shaken.
Early Venetians lived like #sea #birds, their land secured only by osier and wattle. The one great wealth that the Venetians enjoyed was the fish and salt from the lagoon, which gave them the power to purchase those things that they did not possess.
For nearly 1400 years, the two or three miles of shallow water separating Venice from mainland Italy, had not only protected Venice from invaders but effectively isolated the Venetians from the Italian political life.
Untouched by the papalist and imperialist warfare, feudalism and territorial squabbles; they fixed there attention towards the East and the rich markets of the Levantine and Constantinople. And so began the great mercantile empire of the Venetian Republic.
A #city built from fear, was soon to be heralded as the most dazzlingly #beautiful city in the #world. While the Florentines were regarded as great thinkers, the Venetians should be regarded as great doer's. For they alone conquered the malaria-ridden swamps to build a city from nothing. #history #travel