This study day explores the building of Venice, from her origins to the current efforts to protect her from the waters of the Venetian Lagoon.
Venice is a city like no other. Today she is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations and a World Heritage Site. But she has also been one of the world’s most brilliant trading nations, a great maritime power whose sailors and explorers crossed the globe, while her merchants, painters and musicians (not to mention courtesans), set standards of luxury and pleasure unknown elsewhere.
In this study day we look at the architecture and fabric of the city, rising from unpromising mud-flats in a murky lagoon and overcoming remarkable technological challenges, to become one of the most beautiful and powerful nations of Renaissance Europe. We’ll also consider how she survived when her power base collapsed, transforming herself into a city of pleasure and becoming a playground for the rich until, with Napoleon’s dissolution of the thousand-year old Venetian Republic, the city fell into a long decline.
But that is by no means the end of the story. Over recent decades Venice has once again faced invading armies and insidious dangers – but this time the armies are made up of tourists and the dangers come from the waters of her own lagoon. We’ll look at some of the ways in which she has tried to cope and at the ideas put forward by world scientists to halt her gradual descent beneath the waves.