ECONOMY OF VENICE
If you give a look at Venice history, you will see that the city was in the past a great naval and commercial force thanks to its strategical position at the head of the Adriatic sea. Venice was founded in the V° century A.D. by a group of refugees from northern Italy, an area of the country constantly plagued by wars and invasions.
The refugees settled in an island and turned it into the city of Venice. They started to build houses of wattle and daub, and anchor branches with stakes to protect the pilings from the action of the currents. They started to construct boats and to obtain food thanks to the fishing activity.
They also dried sea water to extract salt and suddenly the economy of Venice was started. By the year 548 A.D. Venice was already a power controlling the full trade on the Adriatic Sea. By the IX° century, Venice developed into a city state, one of the four famous "Maritime Republics ".
They were the main commercial traders between Western Europe and the rest of the world. By the year 1104, the Porta Magna or Venice Arsenal as we know it was born. After the Fourth Crusade, Venice became an imperial power that, with 36,000 sailors and 3,300 ships, controlled the commerce on Mediterranean sea.
At the end of the XVII° century, Venice began to lose its commercial power because of the growing power of Portugal and by the half of XVIII° century it was already a major agricultural exporter and became later an important manufacturer centre.
The current economy of Venice is based mainly on tourism. The city's beautiful architectural style, canals and other cultural and artistic heritage such as the Venetian Carnival and numerous film festivals, attract tourism from all over the world throughout the year.
The island of Murano is famous for the production of a special fine glass well appreciated and exported all around the world. Another important Venetian craft product is lace, produced on the island of Burano.
The mainland - especially the towns of Mestre and Marghera - is an important shipbuilding zone with several industrial facilities such as steel processing, foundries and chemical factories.