Venice is a tourist, commercial, and industrial center. The tourist trade is stimulated by many annual festivals, including ones devoted to painting, motion pictures, drama, and contemporary music. The Venice Biennale, which exhibits various kinds of modern art every other year, has been held there since 1895. Manufactures include lace, jewelry, flour, and Murano glass, and the city is a center for shipbuilding. Porto Marghera, the modern port of Venice (founded in the 1920s), located on the mainland, is a major shipping facility and also has considerable industry.
The center of animation in Venice is St. Mark's Square and the Piazzetta, which leads from the square to the sea. On the square are St. Mark's Church; the Gothic Doges' Palace (14th-15th cent.), from which the Bridge of Sighs (c.1600) leads to the former prisons; the Old and New Law Courts (16th-17th cent.); the campanile (325 ft/99 m high; built in the 10th cent.; rebuilt after it collapsed in 1902); the Moors' Clocktower (late 15th cent.); the elegant Old Library (1553); St. Moses' Church; and the twin columns supporting the statues of St. Theodore stepping on a crocodile and of a winged lion of St. Mark (the emblem of Venice). On an island facing the Piazzetta is the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (1566-1610) and on a nearby tip of land is the Church of Santa Maria della Salute (17th cent.).
Among the city's numerous other points of interest are the churches of Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari (with paintings by Titian), San Zanipolo (1234-1430), and San Zaccaria (with a Madonna by Bellini); the Academy of Fine Arts, with fine paintings by Bellini, Carpaccio, Mantegna, Giorgione, Veronese, and others; the Scuola di San Rocco, with a series of paintings by Tintoretto; the Scuola degli Schiavoni, with paintings by Carpaccio; and the palaces Ca' d'Oro (1440; late Gothic), Rezzonico (1680), and Pesaro (1710; baroque). The fashionable beach resort of Lido di Venezia is on a nearby island.
With Istria, Venice formed a province of the Roman Empire. In the 6th cent. refugees fleeing the Lombard invaders of N Italy sought safety on the largely uninhabited islands. The communities organized themselves (697) under a doge [Lat. dux=leader]. Favorably situated for handling seaborne trade between East and West, the communities grew, and by the 9th cent. they had formed the city of Venice.
The city secured (10th cent.) most of the coast of Dalmatia, thus gaining control of the Adriatic, and began to build up its eastern empire, obtaining trade and other privileges in the ports of the eastern Mediterranean. The influence of the Middle East, particularly Byzantium, which characterizes much Venetian art and architecture, is most clearly expressed in Saint Mark's Church (rebuilt 1063-73), located on the city's principal square. In 1204 the doge, Enrico Dandolo (see under Dandolo, family), led the host of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades) in storming Constantinople. Strategic points in the Ionian, the Aegean, and the E Mediterranean were taken, notably Crete (1216). The great traveler Marco Polo represented the enterprising spirit of Venice in the 13th and 14th cent.Queen of the Seas
After defeating (1380) its rival Genoa in the War of Chioggia, Venice was indisputably the leading European sea power; its sea consciousness was expressed in the symbolic marriage ceremony of the doges with the Adriatic, celebrated with great pomp on the huge gilded gondola, the Bucentaur. All citizens shared in the prosperity, but the patrician merchants obtained political privileges. Membership in the great council, which by then had replaced the general citizenry as an electorate in the election of the doges, became restricted to an oligarchy. In reaction to an unsuccessful conspiracy in 1310, the Council of Ten (see Ten, Council of) was instituted to punish crimes against the state. The Ten, by means of a formidable secret police, acquired increasing power, and the doge became a figurehead.
In the 15th cent. Venice, known as the "queen of the seas," reached the height of its power. The city engaged in a rich trade, especially as the main link between Europe and Asia; all Venetia on the mainland was conquered; and Venetian ambassadors, creators of the modern diplomatic service, made the power of the city felt at every court of the known world. The arsenal (founded 1104; rebuilt in the 15th and 16th cent.), where ships were built, was one of the world's wonders.
The decline of Venice can be dated from the fall (1453) of Constantinople to the Turks, which greatly reduced trade with the Levant, or from the discovery of America and of the Cape of Good Hope route to Asia, which transferred commercial power to Spain and other nations to the west of Italy. The effects were not felt immediately, however, and Venice continued its proud and lavish ways. In the Italian Wars, it challenged both the emperor and the pope; the League of Cambrai, formed (1508) by Pope Julius II to humble Venice, merely resulted in a few minor losses of the city's territory; the naval victory of Lepanto (1571) gave Venice renewed standing by undoing Turkish sea power.
The Renaissance marked the height of Venice's artistic glory. Architects like the Lombardo family, Jacopo Sansovino, and Palladio, and the Venetian school of painting, which besides its giants—Titian and Tintoretto—also included Giovanni Bellini, Jacopo Palma (Palma Vecchio), and Veronese, gave Venice its present aspect of a city of churches and palaces, floating on water, blazing with color and light, and filled with art treasures. Freedom of expression was complete except to those who actively engaged in politics; the satirist Aretino, the "scourge of princes," chose Venice as his place of residence, and John of Speyer, Nicolas Jenson, and Aldus Manutius made the city a center of printing.Decline of Venice to the Present
The fall of Cyprus (1571), Crete (1669), and the Peloponnesus (1715; see Greece) to the Turks ended Venetian dominance in the E Mediterranean. Although the dramatist Goldoni and painters such as Tiepolo and Canaletto still made Venice the most original artistic city of 18th-century Italy, they represented to some extent the decadence that accompanied the city's commercial and military decline. Politics in 18th-century Venice was aristocratic and stagnant. When, in 1797, Napoleon I delivered Venice to Austria in the Treaty of Campo Formio, the republic fell without fighting. During the Risorgimento, however, Venice played a vigorous role under the leadership of Daniele Manin; having expelled the Austrians in 1848, it heroically resisted siege until 1849. In 1866, Venice and Venetia were united with the kingdom of Italy.
Since the 1950s, the city increasingly has been swamped by periodic floods, in part because it is sinking. Increased air pollution from cars and industrial smoke has contributed to the deterioration of the ancient buildings and works of art, and the high phosphorus and nitrogen content of the lagoon has stimulated algal growth, which has depleted marine life. Such environmental problems have led to a steady depopulation of Venice to the mainland over the past several decades. A major international aid program, begun in the mid-1960s by UNESCO, has searched for ways to preserve Venice; several government studies of Venice's problems have also been undertaken. In 1988, engineers began testing prototypes for a mechanical barrage, or sea gate, which could be raised in time of flooding to close the lagoon, and construction of system of sea gates began in 2003.
See P. G. Molmenti, Venice (tr., 6 vol., 1906-8); A. Tenenti, Piracy and the Decline of Venice, 1560-1615 (tr. 1967); M. Andrieux, Daily Life in Venice in the Time of Casanova (tr. 1972); O. Logan, Culture and Society in Venice, 1470-1790 (1972); W. H. McNeill, Venice: The Hinge of Europe, 1081-1797 (1974, repr. 2009); D. Howard, The Architectural History of Venice (1980); J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice (1982); J. Morris, The World of Venice (rev. ed. 1985); M. Tafuri, Venice and the Renaissance (1989); J. Pemble, Venice Rediscovered (1995); G. Wills, Venice: Lion City (2001).
City (pop., 2004 est.: 271,663), capital of Veneto region, northern Italy. Built on a lagoon, Venice encompasses some 118 islands, the whole 90-mi (145-km) perimeter of the lagoon, and two industrial mainland boroughs. Refugees from northern invasions of the mainland founded settlements in the 5th century AD that were built uniquely on islands as protection against raids. Venice was a vassal of the Byzantine Empire until the 10th century. Beginning with control of a trade route to the Levant, Venice emerged from the Fourth Crusade (1202–04) as ruler of a colonial empire which included Crete, Euboea, the Cyclades, the Ionian Islands, and footholds in Morea and Epirus. In 1381 it defeated Genoa after a century-long struggle for commercial supremacy in the Levant and eastern Mediterranean. In the 15th century, with the acquisition of neighbouring regions, the Republic of Venice became an extensive Italian state. It gradually lost its eastern possessions to Ottoman Turks, with whom Venice fought intermittently from the 15th to the 18th century; it gave up its last hold in the Aegean in 1715. The republic dissolved and the territory was ceded to Austria in 1797. Incorporated into Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy in 1805, it was restored to Austria in 1815. A revolt against Austria (1848–49) eventually resulted in Venice being ceded to Italy in 1866. It suffered little damage during World War II, but flooding along its many miles of canals caused severe damage in 1966. The waters of the lagoon rise and flood the city on a regular basis, complicating efforts to preserve its architecture, which includes Italian, Arabic, Byzantine, and Renaissance forms. There are some 450 palaces and homes of major historic importance in Venice. Notable among its 400 bridges is the Bridge of Sighs (built circa 800) and among its churches St. Mark's Basilica. Most of the city's workers find employment in tourism and related industries, though Venice also plays a key market role within the vibrant economic system of the Veneto region.
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Venice is a district in western Los Angeles, California. It is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, which features performers, fortune-tellers and vendors. Throughout the summer months, the boardwalk is actively entertaining, and this tradition continues on weekends in the winter. It is an important tourist attraction in Southern California, and has retained its popularity in part because it is an attractive location for walking and bicycling. . It was home to early Beat poets and artists in Los Angeles. Its area codes are 310 and a 424 overlay. Its ZIP Code is 90291.
Venice of America was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town, west of Los Angeles. He and his partner Francis Ryan had bought two miles (3 km) of oceanfront property south of Santa Monica in 1891. They built a resort town called Ocean Park on the north end of the property, which was soon annexed to Santa Monica. After Ryan died, Kinney and his new partners continued building south of Navy Street in the unincorporated territory. After the partnership dissolved in 1904, Kinney built on the marshy land on the south end of the property. His intent was to create a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy.
When Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905, Kinney had dug several miles of canals to drain the marshes for his residential area, built a 1200-foot-long pleasure pier with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall, constructed a hot salt-water plunge, and built a block-long arcaded business street with Venetian architecture. Tourists, mostly arriving on the "Red Cars" of the Pacific Electric Railway from Los Angeles and Santa Monica, then rode Venice's miniature railroad and gondolas to tour the town. But the biggest attraction was Venice's mile-long gently sloping beach. Cottages and housekeeping tents were available for rent.
The town grew in population, annexed adjacent housing tracts, and changed its official name from Ocean Park to Venice in 1911. The population (3119 residents in 1910) soon exceeded 10,000, and drew 50,000 to 150,000 tourists on weekends.
Attractions on the Kinney Pier became more amusement oriented by 1910, when a Venice Scenic Railway, Aquarium, Virginia Reel, Whip, Racing Derby and other rides and game booths were added. Since the business district was allotted only three one-block-long streets, and the City Hall was more than a mile away, other competing business districts developed. Unfortunately, this created a fractious political climate. Kinney, however, governed with an iron hand and kept things in check. But when he died in November 1920, Venice became harder to politically govern. With the amusement pier burning six weeks later in December 1920, and Prohibition (which had begun the previous January), the town's tax revenue was severely affected.
The Kinney family rebuilt their amusement pier quickly in order to compete with Ocean Park's Pickering Pier, and the newly built Sunset Pier. When it opened it had two roller coasters, a new Racing Derby, a Noah's Ark, a Mill Chutes, and dozens of other rides. By 1925 with the addition of a third coaster, a tall Dragon Slide, Fun House and Flying Circus aerial ride, it was the finest amusement pier on the West Coast. Several hundred thousand tourists visited on weekends. In 1923 Charles Lick built the Lick Pier at Navy Street in Venice, adjacent to the Ocean Park Pier at Pier Avenue in Ocean Park. Another pier was planned for Venice in 1925 at Leona Street (now Washington Street).
For the amusement of the public, Kinney hired aviators to do aerial stunts over the beach. One of them, movie aviator and Venice airport owner B.H. DeLay, implemented the first lighted airport in the United States on DeLay Field (previously known as Ince Field). He also initiated the first aerial police in the nation, after a marine rescue attempt was thwarted. DeLay also performed many of the world's first aerial stunts for motion pictures in Venice.
By 1925, Venice's politics became unmanageable. Its roads, water and sewage systems badly needed repair and expansion to keep up with its growing population. When it was proposed that Venice be annexed to Los Angeles, the board of Trustees voted to hold an election. Those for annexation and those against were nearly evenly matched, but many Los Angeles residents, who moved to Venice to vote, turned the tide. Venice became part of Los Angeles in October 1925.
Los Angeles had annexed the Disneyland of its day, and proceeded to remake Venice in its own image. They felt the town needed more streets for automobiles, not canals, and paved the bulk of them in 1929 after a protracted three-year court battle led by canal residents. They wanted to close Venice's three amusement piers, but had to wait until the first of the tidelands' leases expired in 1946.
In 1929, oil was discovered south of Washington Street on the Venice Peninsula. Within two years, 450 oil wells covered the area and drilling waste clogged the remaining waterways. It was a short-lived boom, that provided needed income to the community, which suffered during the Great Depression. The wells produced oil into the 1970s.
Los Angeles had neglected Venice so long that, by the 1950s, it had become the "Slum by the Sea." With the exception of new police and fire stations in 1930, the city spent little on improvements after annexation. The city did not pave Trolleyway (Pacific Avenue) until 1954 when county and state funds became available. Cheap rents for run-down bungalow housing attracted predominantly European immigrants (including a substantial number of Holocaust refugees), and young counterculture artists, poets and writers. The Beat Generation hung out at the Gas House on Ocean Front Walk and at Venice West Cafe on Dudley. Police raids were frequent during that era.
Venice and neighboring Santa Monica were hosts for a decade to the Pacific Ocean Park (POP), an amusement and pleasure-pier built atop the old Lick Pier and Ocean Park Pier by CBS and the Los Angeles Turf Club (Santa Anita). It opened in July 1958. They kept the pier's old roller coaster, huge airplane ride and historic carousel, but converted its theaters and smaller pier buildings into sea-themed rides and space-themed attractions designed by Hollywood special-effects people. Visitors could travel in space on the Flight to Mars ride, tour the world in Around the World in 80 Turns, go beneath the sea in the Diving Bells or at Neptune's Kingdom, take a fantasy excursion into the Tales of the Arabian Nights on the Flying Carpet ride, visit a pirate world at Davy Jones' Locker, or visit a tropical paradise and its volcano by riding a train on Mystery Island. There were also thrill rides like the Whirlpool (rotor whose floor dropped out), the Flying Fish wild mouse coaster, an auto ride, gondola ride, double Ferris wheel, safari ride, and an area of children's rides called Fun Forest. Sea lion shows were performed at the Sea Circus.
Since attendance at the seaside park was too low to operate during the winter, and there was competition from Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Marineland, it was sold after two seasons to a succession of owners, who let the park deteriorate. And since Santa Monica was redeveloping the surrounding area for high-rise apartments and condos, it became difficult for patrons to reach the park. It was forced into bankruptcy in 1967. After the park suffered a series of arson fires beginning in 1970, its rotting structure was demolished by 1974. Another aging attraction in the 1960s was the Aragon Ballroom that had been the longtime home of The Lawrence Welk Show & the Spade Cooley Show, and later the Cheetah Club where rock bands like the Doors, Blue Cheer & many other top bands of the time, performed. It burned in the 1970 fire. The district around POP is known as Dogtown, which was home to pioneering skateboarders the Z-Boys, as profiled in the documentary film, Dogtown and Z-Boys.Little known is that POP pier ended in Santa Monica, where Ocean Park meet the beach.
Producer Roger Corman owned a production facility, the Concorde/New Horizons Studio, on Main Street for many years, in which a large number of his films were shot. This facility was torn down to build lofts.
Many of Venice's houses have their principal entries from pedestrian-only streets, and have house numbers on these footpaths. (Automobile access is by alleys in the rear). However, like much of Los Angeles, Venice is also well-known for traffic congestion. It lies away from the nearest freeway, and its unusually dense network of narrow streets was not planned for the demands of modern traffic. Mindful of the tourist nature of much of the district's vehicle traffic, though, its residents have successfully fought numerous attempts to extend the Marina Freeway (SR 90) into southern Venice.
Venice Beach is understood to include the beach, the promenade that runs parallel to the beach ("Ocean Front Walk" or just "the boardwalk"), Muscle Beach, the handball courts, the paddle tennis courts, Skate Dancing plaza, the numerous beach volleyball courts, the bike trail and the businesses and residences that have their addresses on Ocean Front Walk.
Along the southern portion of the beach, at the end of Washington Boulevard, is the Venice Fishing Pier. A concrete structure, it first opened in 1964, but was closed in 1983 due to El Niño storm damage, only reopening in the mid-1990s. On December 21, 2005, the pier again suffered damage when waves from an unusually big northern swell caused the part of the pier upon which the restrooms was located to fall into the ocean. The pier remained closed until May 25, 2006, when it was reopened after an engineering study concluded the pier was structurally sound.
The Venice Breakwater is an acclaimed local surf spot in Venice, located north of the Venice Pier and Lifeguard Headquarters, and south of the Santa Monica Pier. This spot is sheltered on the north by an artificial barrier, the breakwater, consisting of an extending sand bar, piping, and large rocks at its end.
This spot has differing breaks depending on swell intensity, swell direction, tide and time of the day. However, with intense swells such as those of the winter of 2005/2006, Breakwater boasts a clean right.
The Venice Shoreline Crips and the Latino Venice 13 gang, which are under a shaky truce, continue to remain active in Venice. The Venice White Boys, another gang, disappeared decades before the 2000s. By 2002, numbers of gang members in Oakwood were reduced due to gentrification and increased police presence. According to a Los Angeles City Beat article, by 2003, many Los Angeles Westside gang members resettled in the city of Inglewood .
Near the end of the 20th century, gentrification has greatly altered Oakwood. Although still a primarily Latino and African-American neighborhood, the neighborhood is in flux. According to Los Angeles City Beat, "In Venice, the transformation is....obvious. Homes are fetching sometimes more than $1 million, and homies are being displaced every day." Author John Brodie challenges the idea of gentrification causing change and commented "...the gunplay of the Shoreline Crips and the V-13 is as much a part of life in Venice as pit bulls playing with blond Labs at the local dog park. Xinachtli, a Latino student group from Venice High School and subset of MEChA, refers to Oakwood as one of last beachside communities of color in California. Chicanos and Latinos comprise over 50% of Venice High School's student body as of 2007.
A housing project, Lincoln Place, was built nearby by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to accommodate GI's returning from the war and in need of affordable housing. It later came to house working class families. Lincoln Place is currently in the midst of an extensive legal battle between past and present tenants and the owner, AIMCO. The developer, which acquired the property in 2003, plans to demolish it and build a mixed-use condominium and retail structure on the site. Only 13 tenants remain, all of them elderly or disabled.
Venice has always been known as a hangout for the creative and the artistic. In the 1950s and 60s, Venice became a center for the Beat generation. There was an explosion of poetry and art. Major participants included Stuart Perkoff, John Thomas, Frank T. Rios, Tony Scibella, Lawrence Lipton, John Haag, Saul White, Robert Farrington and Philomene Long.
Prominent residents of Venice include actresses Julia Roberts, Kate Beckinsale, Lana Clarkson and Anjelica Huston, actors Tom Conway (brother of actor George Sanders), lived here in the 1960s, Nicolas Cage, Chaney Kley, Tim Meadows, Robert Hegyes, Michael T. Weiss, Fairuza Balk, Taylor Negron and musicians Perry Farrell, Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Saint John of Saint John and the Revelations, Joshua Kadison, John Lydon (who owns a sizeable amount of rental property in Venice), John Frusciante, Fiona Apple and Mike Muir and most of his Suicidal Tendencies bandmates. Filmmaker Tao Ruspoli and his wife, actress Olivia Wilde live in Venice. Architect Frank Gehry is a longtime resident who has bought a huge vacant lot on Harding Avenue in Venice where he plans to build his new personal residence.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. kept an apartment on the boardwalk during the 1990s. Harding Avenue is also where the Lennon Sisters of Lawrence Welk fame grew up. Jim Morrison lived in Venice for two years where he met Ray Manzarek to form the nucleus of The Doors. Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career began after becoming a regular bodybuilder at Venice's famous Gold's Gym, whose present facility claims to be "The Mecca of Bodybuilding." Restaurateur Wolfgang Puck has owned and operated noted eateries in the area since the 1990s. Other notables include actors Viggo Mortensen, Rutger Hauer, Bryan Callen, and Elijah Wood, and film directors Henry Jaglom and Paul Mazursky. For many years, pro wrestlers Hulk Hogan and Sting were announced as residing in Venice Beach as well. Standup comedians and street performers have proliferated in Venice, Wavy Gravy and Swami X being two of the more recent hippie busker alumni. Political contributions have been sent from homes in Venice from the actor Dennis Hopper and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. South Park creator Matt Stone lives in Venice as well. Harry Perry, the famous street entertainer, is one of the boardwalk's key performers. Photographer Helen K. Garber maintains a studio on Ocean Front Walk. Graffiti/Street Artist and painter Jean-Michel Basquiat lived in Venice in the 80's. Immature, an R&B group from the 1990's, used to perform on the boardwalk prior to becoming famous.
Venice is today a vibrant area of Southern California and it continues a tradition of progressive social change involving prominent Westsiders. The Venice Family Clinic is the largest free clinic in the country. The Venice Community Housing Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the economic, racial and social diversity of Venice and the surrounding area, provides affordable housing, economic and community development opportunities and needed social services to low income residents. Women in Recovery, Inc., a non-profit organization offering a live-in, 12-step program of rehabilitation for women in need, was founded by a longtime resident of Venice, Sister Ada Geraghty. Geraghty and her organization on Coeur D' Alene Avenue annually honor those who've made a difference in helping women overcome substance abuse problems. The 2006 honoree for Women in Recovery was Christopher Lawford; past honorees have included Jamie Lee Curtis, Angela Lansbury, and Anthony Hopkins.
The Los Angeles County Lifeguards safeguard of beach and of coastline, from San Pedro in the south, to Malibu in the north. Lifeguards also provide Paramedic and rescue boat services to Catalina Island, with operations out of Avalon and the Isthmus.
Lifeguard Division employs 120 full-time and 600 seasonal lifeguards, operating out of three Sectional Headquarters, located in Hermosa, Santa Monica, and Zuma beach. Each of these headquarters staffs a 24-hour EMT-D response unit, and are part of the 911 system. In addition to providing for beach safety, Los Angeles County Lifeguards have specialized training for Baywatch rescue boat operations, underwater rescue and recovery, swiftwater rescue, cliff rescue, marine mammal rescue and marine firefighting.
Venice is served by many Los Angeles Unified School District schools. The neighborhood is served by Coeur d'Alene Avenue Elementary School and Westminster Avenue Elementary School. Students go on to Mark Twain Middle School High school students attend Venice High School, which is actually in the neighborhood of Mar Vista.
Dozens of movies and hundreds of television shows have used locations in Venice, including its beach, its pleasure piers, the canals and colonnades, the boardwalk, the high school, even a particular hamburger stand. Various Venice venues are visible in this list of selected media:
Dan Wakefeild "Home Free"
Venice's Romance Charms Artists & Collectors: Venice's Reflective Canals, Cobblestone Streets and Unique Architecture Inspire Artists and Art-Lovers Alike. (Venice)
Apr 01, 2002; Venice was more than just a city to artist James McNeill Whistler. In a sense, it saved his life. In September 1879, the...