Veneto (Latin Venetia, Venetian Vèneto), is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 4.8 million, and its capital is Venice. Once the native land of the Venetian Republic, Veneto is today among the wealthiest and most industrialized regions of Italy. It is also the most visited region of Italy, with about 60 million tourists every year (2007). Besides Italian, most inhabitants speak Venetian, which derives from the ancient language of the Veneti, a people residing in the coast of the north Adriatic, after whom the region, the province and the city are named. In modern times Veneto was the site of the greatest Italian victory of World War I, the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, at which the last of the invading Austrian Empire was finally defeated.
Veneto is an irregularly-shaped region of Italy situated on the north shore of the Adriatic Sea, northeast of the Po river, comprising a northeast section of the lower Po Valley. It extends northward through the mountains to a short border with the country of Austria. Starting on the south and proceeding clockwise Veneto is surrounded by the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto Adige, the country of Austria, and the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Its north-south dimension is 210 km (130 mi) from the Austrian border to the mouth of the Po and its east-west dimension is 195 km (121 mi) from the eastern shore of Lake Garda on the west to the mouth of the river Tagliamento on the east.
Veneto is the eighth largest region in Italy, with a total area of 18,398.9 km2 (7,103.9 sq mi), which is the sum of the territories of each of the 581 constituent communi, according to statistics summarized by the Regione del Veneto Department for Statistics for 2007. The latter agency distinguishes
* the mountains (montagna): 5,359.1 km2 (2,069.2 sq mi), 117 communi;
The plains predominate. Of the seven provinces of the region, Padova had the greatest density, with 424.81 persons per km2 and 2268.58 in the city of Padova. The namesake city of Venice had a moderate density of 646.71. The province of least density was Belluno (58.08), which is the most mountainous. All areas are the flat, or map approximations, as no method exists of measuring three-dimensional terrain area. The figures of different measuring agents vary. The Department of Statistics figures are not necessarily the most accurate.
Veneto's terrain is divisible into four areas: the northern Alpine zone, the hill zone, the lower plain and the coastal territory. 29% of its surface is mountainous (the Carnic Alps, eastern Dolomites and Venetian Prealps), while 57% is covered by a plain extending from the mountains to the Adriatic sea, broken only by the hill regions of Colli Berici, Colli Euganei, Colli Asolani and Montello, which constitute the remaining 14% of the territory. Several rivers traverse the region: the Po, Adige, Brenta, Bacchiglione, Livenza, Piave, and Tagliamento. The eastern shore of the largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda, is in Veneto. The coastline covers approximately 200 km (120 mi), of which 100 km (62 mi) are beaches.
The northern border is on a mountainous crest, which is not a single ridge, but instead forms a chain of distinct massifs separated by valleys. The Dolomites contain the highest alpine peaks. The most well-known of the individual rocky outcrops are the Marmolada:the highest, at 3,342 m (10,960 ft); the Tofane, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and the Pale di San Martino.
The Venetian Prealps are composed of minor ranges of between 700 m (2,300 ft) and 2,200 m (7,200 ft). A distinctive characteristic of this chain are the cave formations, including caves, chasms and sink holes; for example, the Spluga della Preta, situated in the Monte Lessini chain in the province of Verona, has an explored depth of 985 m (3,230 ft), the deepest cave in Italy. Fossil deposits are also abundant there.
The hills of the Lake Garda, the Colli Lessini, Colli Berici, Colli Euganei, and the hills of Treviso separate the mountainous regions from the plains. They are dotted with castles and aristocratic houses. The hills, particularly adapted for viniculture, are also covered with vineyards producing high quality wines.
The Venetian plain is subdivided into the higher plain (gravel-strewn and not very fertile) and the lower plain (rich in water sources and arable terrain). The lower plain is both a mainstay of agricultural production and the urban magnet of the region.
On the coast is the Venetian Lagoon: flat terrain with ponds, marshes and islands. The Po Delta to the south features sandbars and dunes along the coastline. The inland portion contains cultivable land recently reclaimed by a system of canals and dikes. Fish ponds have been created there as well. The delta is a stopping-point for migratory birds.
The climate changes significantly between one area to another. Continental on the plains, the climate is milder along the Adriatic coast, around Lake Garda and in the hilly areas. The lowlands are often covered by thick fog. Precipitations are scarce (750 mm. /year) next to river Po River, more abundant (750-1,100 mm./year) at higher altitudes; the highest values (up to 3,200 mm./year) are recorded in the Bellunese Prealps, near Pasubio and on the Asiago plateau.
Between the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C., the region was inhabited by the Euganei. According to ancient historians, the Veneti (sometimes called the Paleoveneti), came from Paphlagonia in Asia Minor at the time of the Fall of Troy, led by prince Antenor, a comrade of Aeneas. In the 7th-6th centuries B.C. the local populations of Veneto entered into contact with the Etruscans and the Greeks. Venetic culture reached a highpoint during the 4th century B.C. These ancient Venetians spoke Venetic, an Indo-European language akin to, but distinct from Latin and the other Italic languages. Meanwhile, the Venetians prospered through their trade in amber and were well-known for their breeding of horses. Este, Padua, Oderzo, Adria, Vicenza, Verona, and Altino became centers of Venetic culture. However, over time, the Venetians began to adopt the dress and certain other customs of their Celtic neighbors.
The Tetrarchs were the four co-rulers who governed the Roman Empire as long as Diocletian's reform lasted. Here they are portrayed embracing, in a posture of harmony, in a porphyry sculpture dating from the 4th century, produced in Asia Minor, located today on a corner of St Mark's Basilica in Venice.
During the third century B.C., the Veneti, together with the Cenomani Celts on their western border, sided with the Romans, as Rome expanded and struggled against the Insubres and Boii (Celts). During the Second Punic War (218 B.C. – 202 B.C.), the Venetians even sent a contingent of soldiers to fight alongside the Romans against Hannibal and the invading Carthaginians and Venetians were among those slaughtered at the Battle of Cannae (216 B.C.). In 181 B.C., a Roman triumvirate of Publius Scipio Nasica, Caius Flaminius, and Lucius Manlius Acidinus led three thousand families, mainly from Samnium but supplemented by native Veneti, to found a Latin colony at Aquileia as a base to protect the territory of the Venetians from incursions of the hostile Carni and Histri. From then on, Roman influence over the area increased. Thus, in 169 B.C. more colonizing families were sent from Rome to Aquileia. In 148 B.C. the Via Postumia was completed connecting Aquileia to Genua. In 131 B.C., the Via Annia joined Adria to Patavium to Altinum to Concordia to Aquileia. Gradually, the Roman Republic transformed its alliance with the Venetians into a relationship of dominance. After the 91 B.C. Italic rebellion, the cities of the Veneti, together with the rest of Transpadania, were granted partial rights of Roman citizenship according to the Lex Pompeia Transpadanis. Later in 49 B.C., by the Lex Rubria de Gallia Rome granted full Roman citizenship to the Veneti. The Via Claudia was completed in 46 B.C. and connected Altinum, Tarvisium, Feltria and Tridentum (modern Trent). From Tridentum it continued northwards to Pons Drusus and southwards to Verona and Mutina (modern Modena). After the Battle of Philippi (42 B.C.), which ended the Roman Civil War, the lands of the Veneti, together with the rest of Cisalpine Gaul, ceased to be a province and the territory of the Veneti, which included modern Friuli, became region X (Venetia et Histria) of a new entity named Italia (Italy). Aquileia became its capital. Meanwhile, under the Pax Romana, Patavium (modern Padua) became one of the most important cities of northern Italy. Other Venetic cities such as Opitergium (modern Oderzo), Tarvisium (modern Treviso), Feltria (modern Feltre), Vicetia (modern Vicenza), Ateste (modern Este), and Altinum (modern Altino) adopted the Latin language and the culture of Rome. Thus, by the end of the first century A.D., Latin had finally displaced the original Venetic language.
In 166 A.D. the Quadi and Marcomanni invaded Venetia. It was the first invasion of the barbarians. In the fifth century, both Alaric the Goth and then Attila and the Huns devastated the area. Attila laid siege to Aquileia and turned it into a ruin in 452 A.D. Many of the mainland inhabitants sought protection in the nearby lagoons which would become Grado in the east and Venice more to the west. On the heels of the Huns came the Ostrogoths who not only invaded, but also settled down in the region. During the mid-sixth century, Justinian reconquered Venetia for the Eastern Roman Empire. An Exarch was established at Ravenna while a military tribune was set up in Oderzo. Byzantine rule would not last long. Starting in 568 A.D, the Lombards crossed the Julian Alps. These invaders subdivided the territory of Venetia into numerous feuds ruled by Germanic dukes and counts (essentially creating the division of Veneto from Friuli). The invasion provoked another wave of migration from the mainland to the Byzantine controlled coast and islands. In 667, A.D. the Lombards conquered the Byzantine base at Oderzo and took possession of practically all of Veneto (and Friuli) except for Venice and Grado. The 36 Lombard duchies included Ceneda, Treviso, Verona, and Vicenza. A reminder of Lombard rule can be seen in the place names beginning with the word Farra.
As the barbarians were interested in the wealth of the mainland, part of the Venetian population sought refuge on some of the isolated and unoccupied islands in the lagoon, from which the city of Venetiae or Venice was born. After a period of Byzantine domination in 8th century, Venice became an independent maritime Republic ruled by its elected doge. The Republic became a commercial superpower and its influence lasted through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In fact, the Venetian Republic enjoyed 1100 years of uninterrupted influence throughout the Mediterranean. By the 16th century, the Venetian Republic dominated over Veneto, Friuli, parts of Lombardy and Romagna, Istria, Dalmatia, the Ionian Islands of Corfu, Cefalonia, Ithaca and Zante. From the 13th to 17th centuries it held the island of Crete and from the mid-15th to mid-16th century, the island of Cyprus. Venetian mainland holdings led to Venetian involvement in European and in particular, Italian politics. Cities had to be fortified, one impressive example being Palmanova in Friuli. However, the wise rule and prosperity brought by the Serenissima made the cities of the terra firma willing subjects. Eastern Islands served as useful ports for Venetian shipping. However, as the Ottoman Empire grew more powerful and aggressive, Venice was often put on the defensive. Ottoman control of the eastern Mediterranean and the discoveries of sea routes to Asia around Africa and of the Americas had a debilitating effect on the Venetian economy.
In 1797, Napoleon invaded the territory of the Venetian Republic. Overwhelmed by more powerful forces, Doge Ludovico Manin resigned and retired to his villa at Passariano in Friuli and the thousand year old Republic disappeared as an independent state. This proved very unpopular in the mainland cities where sympathies were strong with the Republic of Venice. By the Treaty of Campoformio signed on October 17, 1797 part of the Venetian mainland was handed over to Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire and a western part was annexed to the French backed Cisalpine Republic. The territory soon reverted back to Napoleon in 1801. However, after his ultimate defeat in 1814, the Congress of Vienna handed Veneto over to the Austrian Empire, the successor state to the Holy Roman Empire still ruled by Francis. Thus, Veneto would remain under Austrian rule, except for some cities which declared their independence in 1848, until it was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
After the Third War of Independence and a controversial referendum Veneto was annexed to Italy. In an effort to Italianize the population, the Venetian language was not officially recognized and public servants were recruited from other regions. Due to uneven economic development reducing many to poverty, the 19th century and the first half of the 20th became a period of emigration. Millions of Venetians left their homes and their native land to seek opportunites in other parts of the world. Many settled in South America, especially in the Rio Grande do Sul region, in Brazil; others in Australia; Canada; and the United States of America. After World War II, many Venetians emigrated to Western European countries.
Government and politics
Veneto is a presidential representative democracy. The President of the Region, colloquially nicknamed Governor or even Doge, in remembrance of Venice's glorious tradition, is also the head of the regional government. Legislative power is exerted by the Regional Council, the local parliament. The statute, i.e. the regional constitution, was promulgated on May 22, 1971. Even though it recognizes the inhabitants as a 'people' (i.e. a distinct people from the Italian people), the region is not granted a form of autonomy comparable to that of the neighbouring regions Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. This is the reason why many municipalities have held referendums in order to be united to these regions.
Traditionally a very Catholic region, Veneto was once a stronghold of the Christian Democracy. Nowadays it is a stronghold of the centre-right coalition, which has governed the region since 1995, under President Giancarlo Galan, formerly affiliated to Forza Italia and now to The People of Freedom. The governing coalition is also composed of the Liga Veneta–Lega Nord and the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats.
Veneto is my fatherland. Even if there exists a Republic of Italy, this abstract idea is not my Fatherland. We Venetians have travelled throughout the world, but our Fatherland, that for which we would fight if it were necessary to fight, is Veneto. When I see 'River sacred to the Fatherland' written on the bridges spanning the Piave, I am moved, not because I think of Italy, but rather because I think of Veneto.
A nationalist political movement gained prominence in Veneto during the 1970s and 1980s, demanding more autonomy for the region, or even independence, and promoting Venetian culture, language and history. This is the political background in which the Liga Veneta (Venetian League) was launched in 1980. Other Veneto nationalist parties such as Liga Veneta Repubblica and North-East Project emerged but they never touched the popularity of the Liga Veneta, which was a founding member of Lega Nord in 1991.
Nowadays Liga Veneta–Lega Nord traditionally scores considerable results in local and national elections. The mayors of Verona and Treviso are members of the party, as well as the Presidents of the Provinces of Treviso and Vicenza. In the 2008 general election Lega Nord reached 27.1% of the vote.
According to Robert Putnam, the 'institutional performance' of Veneto's regional government is higher than average in Italy, thus Veneto belongs to the part of Italy that Putnam names 'civic North'.
Veneto is divided into 7 provinces and 581 municipalities:
Source: ISTAT 2001
The region has about 4.8 million inhabitants, raning Veneto as the fifth most populated region in Italy. Veneto has one of the highest population densities amongst the Italian regions (265 inhabitants per km2 in 2008). This is particularly true in the provinces of Padua, Venice and Treviso, where the inhabitants per km2 are above 300. Belluno is the less densely populated province, with 57 inhabitants per km2.
Like the other regions of Northern Italy and Central Italy, though with a certain time lag, Veneto has been experiencing a phase of very slow population growth caused by the dramatic fall in fertility. The overall population has so far been increasing - though only slightly - due to the net immigration started at the end of the 1960s, after more than 20 years of massive exodus from the poorer areas of the region.
Nearly 3 millions of Venetians were forced to leave their country between 1861 and 1961 to escape poverty. Many emigrated to South America, especially Brazil. After World War II they moved to other European countries. Due to the impressive economic growth of the last two decades, Veneto has turned into a land of immigration and has been attracting more and more immigrants since the 1990s. In 2008 the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 403,985 foreign-born immigrants live in Veneto, equal to 8.3 % of the total regional population.
Veneto soon converted to Christianity. The region venerates as its patrons the second century bishop St. Hermagoras and his deacon St. Fortunatus, both of Aquileia and both marytrs. Aquileia became the metropolitan see of Venetia. Aquileia had its own liturgical rites which were used throughout the dioceses of Veneto until the later Middle Ages when the Roman Rite replaced the Aquileian Rite.
In 2004 over 95% of the population claimed to be Roman Catholic. The region of Veneto along with the regions of Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol form the ecclesiastical region of Triveneto under the Patriarchate of Venice. The Patriarchate of Venice is an archdiocese and metropolitan see of an ecclesiastical region which includes suffragan episcopal sees of Adria-Rovigo, Belluno-Feltre, Chioggia, Concordia-Pordenone, Padua, Treviso, Verona, Vicenza, and Vittorio Veneto. The Archdiocese of Venice was elevated to an honorary Patriarchate by the pope on October 8, 1457 when the Patriarchate of Grado was suppressed. The first patriarch of Venice was Laurence, a nobleman of the Giustiniani family. During the twentieth century the patriarchs were usually appointed cardinal, and three cardinal patriarchs, Giuseppe Sarto, Angelo Roncalli, and Albino Luciani were elected pope: Pius X, John XXIII, and John Paul I, respectively. The Patriarchate of Venice claims St. Mark the Evangelist as its patron. The symbol of the winged lion became the typical symbol of the Venetian Republic.
Traditionally the Veneto had been a poor agricultural region as well as a land of mass emigration. Since the 1970s Veneto has seen an impressive development, thanks to the so called Veneto development model - characterised by a wide export-oriented entrepreneurship in traditional sectors and a strong social cohesion - making it actually the third richest region in terms of total GDP (€139 billion) after Lombardy and Lazio.
Geography and historical events have determined the present social and economic structure of the region, centred on a broad belt running east to west. The plain and the Alpine foothills are the most developed areas in contrast to the Po delta to the south and - to a lesser extent - to the mountains. Industrial development is mainly concentrated in this central belt, with the exception of the manufacturing of spectacles in the valleys around Belluno. The Alps and the province of Rovigo, more than other areas, show a trend of both declining and ageing population.
The region's agriculture is among the most productive in the country. However, it is still characterised by an intensive use of labour, due to the specialisation in market gardening, fruit-growing and vine-growing throughout the plain and the foothills. In the south and in the extreme east of the region, grain crops are more common and land holdings are larger than in the rest of the region. The cattle stock, although declining, still represented 15% of the national stock in.
Industrial development is a fairly recent phenomenon. This sector burst in the post-war period with the creation of small and medium-sized firms that now form the region's industrial base. With infrastructure evenly distributed throughout the territory and a good road network, it has been possible to avoid industry over-concentration. As to manufacturing, different areas, mainly along the Verona-Vicenza-Padua-Treviso axis, tend to specialise in different products: food products, wood and furniture, leather and footwear, textiles and clothing, gold jewellery. This partition of the territory into industrial districts, typical of Veneto, has led to the establishment of a strongly export-oriented system of industries. The industries of power, chemicals and metals processing are more important in the eastern central belt, especially around Porto Marghera, where various branches of companies from outside the region are located. In recent years, some local chemical plants had to stop their production in order to be restructured or were closed because of their dangerousness in a densely populated area. During the last 20 years, a large number of Venetian industries relocated their plants (especially the most dangerous and polluting productions) in Eastern Europe, especially Romania. The Romanian city of Timişoara is also called 'The Newest Venetian Province'.
Hotel and catering trade play an important role in the services sector. One-fifth of Italy's foreign tourism is to the Veneto, which is the first region in Italy in terms of tourist presence and the second after Emilia Romagna in terms of hotel industry structures. The business volume of tourism in Veneto is estimated in 12 billion Euros.
Veneto hosts one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Padua, founded in 1222. OECD investigations show that school education achievements in North-Eastern Italy (whose population comes mainly from Veneto) are the highest in Italy. As of 2003 the university had approximately 65,000 students.
Most of the people of Veneto speak standard Italian. However, there is widespread usage of Venetian language. Venetian dialects are classified as an Italo-Western Romance language. Scholars distinguish between an Eastern or Coastal (Venice) group, a Central (Padua, Vicenza, Polesine) group, a Western (Verona) group, a North-Central (Treviso) group, and a Northern (Belluno, Feltre, Agordo, Cadore, Zoldo Alto) group of dialects. All dialects are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Ladin is spoken in parts of the province of Belluno, especially in the municipalities of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Livinallongo del Col di Lana and Colle Santa Lucia. A German dialect is spoken in Sappada (Plodn in German). Moreover, in the area around Portogruaro people speak Furlan.
As the region does not enjoy a special status of autonomy, minority languages are not granted any form of recognition. Anyway a motion to recognize Venetian as an official regional language has been approved by the regional Parliament.
Veneto is an important wine-growing area. Among the best wines can be remembered: Soave (wine), Bardolino, Recioto, Amarone, Torcolato, Prosecco, Tocai Rosso,Garganega, and Valpolicella. Other, more common wines are Verduzzo, Raboso, Moscato, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Nero, Pinot Grigio, and Merlot. Homemade wine making is widespread. After making wine, the alcohol of the pressed grapes is distilled to produce grappa or graspa, as it is called in the local language.
Among the best-known cheeses of Veneto the following should be mentioned: Asiago (PDO) (from Asiago), Monte Veronese (PDO), Piave (PDO), Morlacco, Grana Padano (PDO).
The sopressa vicentina (PDO) is an aged salami, cylindrical in shape and prepared with raw, quality pork meat. It may or may not include garlic in its ingredients and comes in medium and large sizes. Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo (PDO) is obtained from the fresh meat of a top breed of adult hogs. The aroma is delicate, sweet and fragrant.
Radicchio rosso di Treviso (PGI) is a peculiar vegetable with a faintly bitter taste and a crunchy texture. The production area encompasses many town districts in the provinces of Treviso, Padua and Venice. The radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco (PGI) has a delicate and slightly sweet taste and a crunchy texture. Veronese Vialone Nano Rice from Verona (PGI) is a type of rice with short, plump grains, which have a creamy consistency when cooked. They are commonly used in risotto dishes and have a high starch content. The Bean of Lamon (PGI) is particularly prized for its delicate flavour and extremely tender skin. The White Asparagus of Cimadolmo (PGI) has a characteristic scent and a very delicate taste. The White Asparagus of Bassano is a typical product of the northern part of the province of Vicenza. The San Zeno di Montagna (Verona) chestnut is another remarkable product. The town of Marostica is famous for its cherries.
Each town, often every quarter, has its patron saint whose feast day is solemnly celebrated. Many other festivals are closely linked to the religious calendar. Among these:
* Carnival of Venice celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday;
* Venice: Venice and its lagoon are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Cansiglio is a pre-alpine massif located in the north-eastern Veneto in the provinces of Treviso and Belluno.
'Parco Nazionale Dolomiti Bellunesi' is situated in the southern section of the Province of Belluno.
The area of Lake Garda is a major tourist destination. Various towns along the lake, such as Lazise, Cisano, Bardolino, Garda (VR), Torri del Benaco and Malcesine, are popular resorts.
Cortina d'Ampezzo, it's situated in the province of Belluno and is one of the most exclusive mountain locations in Europe together with Kitzbühel in Austria and St. Moritz in Switzerland. It was scene of the 1956 Winter Olympics. To the north there are the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, said to be a symbol of the Italian Dolomites.
Arabba lies between the Sella group and the Marmolada. Auronzo is in the upper Cadore. Sappada is in the extreme north of the region.
The thermal baths of Abano Terme are an important tourist attraction. Despite being the most famous, Abano is not the only thermal town in the area. Montegrotto Terme and Recoaro Terme are other popular resorts.
Venice's Lido is an 11-mile long sandbar, visited by many tourists every summer.
Jesolo is one of the most important seaside resorts on the Adriatic coast, just a few kilometres far from Venice. Every year Jesolo gives accommodation to over 4.5 million tourists.
Caorle has often received awards forone of the cleanest beaches in Italy. Bibione and Eraclea are popular resorts too. Albarella island is a private island on the Lido that has some of the best beaches. Alberoni Beach is set in a nature reserve.
Editor for Asisbiz: Matthew Laird Acred
Please help us to improve these articles with any additional information or photo's, if you should encounter any broken links or display errors :-(