The first settlers of the Venice area were the Ligurians who established themselves on the Euganei hills, followed by the Trojans escaping from their town, and the Venetians coming from the Slavic countries. The Lagoon extended from Ravenna to the outlet of the Timavo River and Emperor Augustus exploited it as a commercial route connecting Ravenna, Altino and Acquileia. During the whole Roman Empire, the lagoon was little inhabited, but was used as a holiday resort for noblemen of that time. There were small ports for inland navigation and small settlements of fishermen.
The first real settlement of the lagoon happened after a terrible sea-quake which destroyed Medoaco, situated on the outlet of the Brenta River between Malamocco and the Canale dei petroli. Today in Malamocco’s Church in Venice there is a big picture showing Christ and the Madonna of Marina, both made of wood, which were found in the sea after the tragedy. It was at Rialto that the old maritime captains handed over command of the city to the first Doge, Paolo Luciano Anafesto.
The Doges palace remains one of Venice’s most impressive sites, but Venice has many many more. From the world famous piazza di San Marco, to the Basilica and the Clock tower, onto the famous Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners inhaled fresh air for the last time, as they passed under on their way to be incarcerated. On another island lies the cemetery of San Michele, where Venetians are buried, while another island is entirely devoted to glass-blowing, resulting in the famous Venetian glass. Cats and pigeons abound in Venice, which is best discovered either on board a boat, or by wandering the back alleyways through the old Jewish quarter. Venice comes most alive in Spring of every year, when Carnival takes over the city and the citizens parade in gowns and masks, exalting in the beauty of their city.