Venice

When The Goths were looting and burning their way southwards to Rome in 421AD,the people of the Veneto sought refuge among the wild and uninhabited islands of their marshy coast. There they formed villages, and from the ashes of the Roman past rose the city of Venice.

Early settlements built the Rialto Bridge, or called "high bank". The Rialto is the Exchange of Venice, where Venetian gentlemen and the merchants meet twice a day. Rialto was made with brick adorned with wider side walk or called open galleries.

The winged lion of St. Mark is a familiar sight when travelling in the Veneto. It is a symbol of Venetian authority. Why a lion? according to legend, two or three ambitoious chamber of commerce types from Venice stole the remains of St. Mark, the Apostle from his tomb in Alexandria, Egypt. After corssing the Mediteranean and cruising up the Adriatic, the graverobbers reached Venice and handed their cargo over to the Doge. The local religious and civic authorities quickly elected St. Mark as Venice's patron saint, and the apostle's traditional symbol, a winged lion - became the logo of the Venetial Republic.

Four bronze horses on the great gate, made of Corinthian metal and fully as great as the life. Some say they were casted by Lysippus about 300BC, some say that the Romans made them when Hiero King of Syracuse conquered the Parthians and placed them in a certain arch. They were brought to Venice around 1206.

Mosaics, the domes, walls and floor of the basilica are over 40,000 sqft gleaming golden mosaics, dating from 12th century from the east. The techinques wer adopted by Venetian craftmen, who gradually took over the decoration, combinating Byzantine inspiration with western influences.

Among variousVenetian Masks, the sinister carnival garb has its origin, it is based on the medieval doctor's beaked face-protector and black gown worn as a precaution against plague.

The Well was the source of the fresh water supply. Rainwater was channelled through pavement grilles into a clay-lined cistern filled with sand to act as a filter. Decorated wellhead indicates the importance of a reliable water supply, strict laws protected the purity of the source. One time in history, contaminated well water caused plague in Venice. and this accidence inspired Thomas Mann for one of his famous novel "death in Venice".