The Venetian Lagoon (Italian: Laguna di Venezia; Venetian: Łaguna de Venesia) is an enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea, in northern Italy, in which the city of Venice is situated. Its name in the Italian and Venetian languages, Laguna Veneta—cognate of Latin lacus, "lake"—has provided the english name for an enclosed, shallow embayment of salt water, a lagoon.
Aerial view of the Venetian Lagoon, showing many of the islands including Venice itself, center rear, with the bridge to the mainland
|Location||Venice, Veneto, Italy|
|Primary outflows||Adriatic Sea|
|Surface area||550 square kilometres (210 sq mi)|
|Average depth||10.5 metres (34 ft)|
|Max. depth||21.5 metres (71 ft)|
|Surface elevation||3 m (9.8 ft)|
|Settlements||Venice, Campagna Lupia, Cavallino-Treporti, Chioggia, Codevigo, Jesolo, Mira, Musile di Piave, Quarto d'Altino, San Donà di Piave|
|Official name||Laguna di Venezia: Valle Averto|
|Designated||11 April 1989|
The Venetian Lagoon stretches from the River Sile in the north to the Brenta in the south, with a surface area of around 550 square kilometres (212 square miles). It is around 8% land, including Venice itself and many smaller islands. About 11% is permanently covered by open water, or canal, as the network of dredged channels are called, while around 80% consists of mud flats, tidal shallows and salt marshes. The lagoon is the largest wetland in the Mediterranean Basin.
It is connected to the Adriatic Sea by three inlets: Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia. Sited at the end of a largely enclosed sea, the lagoon is subject to high variations in water level, the most extreme being the spring tides known as the acqua alta (Italian for "high water"), which regularly flood much of Venice.
The nearby Marano-Grado Lagoon, with a surface area of around 160 square kilometres (62 square miles), is the northernmost lagoon in the Adriatic Sea and is called sometimes the "twin sister of the Venice lagoon".
The Lagoon of Venice is the most important survivor of a system of estuarine lagoons that in Roman times extended from Ravenna north to Trieste. In the sixth century, the Lagoon gave security to Romanised people fleeing invaders (mostly the Huns). Later, it provided naturally protected conditions for the growth of the Venetian Republic and its maritime empire. It still provides a base for a seaport, the Venetian Arsenal, and for fishing, as well as a limited amount of hunting and the newer industry of fish farming.
The Lagoon was formed about six to seven thousand years ago, when the marine transgression following the Ice Age flooded the upper Adriatic coastal plain.[a] Deposition of river sediments compensated for the sinking coastal plain, and coastwise drift from the mouth of the Po tended to close tidal inlets with sand bars.
The present aspect of the Lagoon is due to human intervention. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Venetian hydraulic projects to prevent the lagoon from turning into a marsh reversed the natural evolution of the Lagoon. Pumping of aquifers since the nineteenth century has increased subsidence. Originally many of the Lagoon's islands were marshy, but a gradual programme of drainage rendered them habitable. Many of the smaller islands are entirely artificial, while some areas around the seaport of the Mestre are also reclaimed islands. The remaining islands are essentially dunes, including those of the coastal strip (Lido, Pellestrina and Treporti).
Venice Lagoon was inhabited from the most ancient times, but it was only during and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire that many people, coming from the Venetian mainland, settled in a number large enough to found the city of Venice. Today, the main cities inside the lagoon are Venice (at the centre of it) and Chioggia (at the southern inlet); Lido di Venezia and Pellestrina are inhabited as well, but they are part of Venice. However, the most part of the inhabitants of Venice, as well as its economic core, its airport and its harbor, stand on the western border of the lagoon, around the former towns of Mestre and Marghera. At the northern end of the lagoon, there is the town of Jesolo, a famous sea resort; and the town of Cavallino-Treporti.
The level of pollution in the lagoon has long been a concern The large phytoplankton and macroalgae blooms of the late 1980s proved particularly devastating. Researchers have identified the lagoon as one of the primary areas where non-indigenous species are introduced into the Mediterranean Sea.
The largest islands or archipelagos by area, excluding coastal reclaimed land and the coastal barrier beaches:
Other inhabited islands include:
The 1903 European Rowing Championships were rowing championships held in Giudecca, an island in the Venetian Lagoon, on the Giudecca Canal on a day in the middle of August. The competition was for men only and they competed in five boat classes (M1x, M2x, M2+, M4+, M8+).Burano
Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy, near Torcello at the northern end of the Lagoon, known for its lace work and brightly coloured homes. The primary economy is tourism.Giudecca
Giudecca (Italian: [dʒuˈdɛkka]; Venetian: Zueca) is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, in northern Italy. It is part of the sestiere of Dorsoduro and is a locality of the comune of Venice.Isola di San Michele
San Michele is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It is associated with the sestiere of Cannaregio, from which it lies a short distance northeast.Isola di San Secondo
San Secondo is a small deserted island located in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy.La Certosa
La Certosa (Italian: Isola della Certosa) is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It is located north-east of Venice, less than 250 metres (820 feet) from San Pietro di Castello and little more than 500 metres (1,640 feet) from the Venice Lido. A 20-metre-wide (66 ft) channel separates it from the Vignole island. La Certosa has a surface of some 22 hectares (54 acres).Lazzaretto Vecchio
The Lazzaretto Vecchio is an island of the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy, located near the Lido of Venice. Between 1403 and 1630 it housed a hospital which cared for people during the plague epidemics and as a leprosarium. It was later used, as were other islands, as a military post. It covers an area 2.53 hectares (6.3 acres) large.
Since 2004 archaeologists have unearthed more than 1500 skeletons of plague victims buried here between the 15th and 17th centuries. These have been found in individual as well as in mass graves. The remains of thousands more are expected still to be found on the small island as the death-toll reportedly reached 500 per day in the 16th century.Lido di Venezia
The Lido, or Venice Lido (Italian: Lido di Venezia), is an 11-kilometre-long (7-mile) sandbar in Venice, northern Italy; it is home to about 20,000 residents. The Venice Film Festival takes place at the Lido every September.Mazzorbo
Mazzorbo is an island in the northern Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy with a population of 256 (2019). It is linked to Burano by a bridge. It was once an important trading centre but is now known for its vineyards and orchards. Its main attraction is the fourteenth century Church of Santa Caterina, and there is also a brightly painted housing development, designed in 1979 by Giancarlo De Carlo.Murano
Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It lies about 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles) north of Venice and measures about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) across with a population of just over 5,000 (2004 figures). It is famous for its glass making. It was once an independent comune, but is now a frazione of the comune of Venice.Pellestrina
Pellestrina is an island in northern Italy, forming a barrier between the southern Venetian Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, lying south west of the Lido.
The island is 11 kilometres (7 miles) long and has since the eighteenth century been bounded to its seaward side by large embankments. There are four main villages: San Pietro in Volta, Porto Secco, Sant' Antonio di Pellestrina and Pellestrina, known for their colourfully-painted houses.
The main industries of the island are market gardening, fishing, tourism and lace making. Like that in Chioggia but unlike that in Torcello, the local lace is made with a needle. Attractions on the island included the Lido of Ca' Roman, known for its pine trees and birdlife.San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore (Venetian: San Zorzi Mazor) is one of the islands of Venice, northern Italy, lying east of the Giudecca and south of the main island group. The island, or more specifically its Palladian church, is an important landmark. It has been much painted, featuring for example in a series by Monet.San Giorgio in Alga
San Giorgio in Alga (English: "St. George in the seaweed") is an island of the Venetian lagoon, northern Italy, lying between the Giudecca and Fusina (a frazione of Venice on the coast, near Marghera).San Pietro di Castello (island)
San Pietro di Castello (Venetian: San Piero de Casteło), formerly Olivolo (Italian: Olivòlo; Venetian: Ołivoło), is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy, forming part of the Castello sestiere. It is linked to the main islands of Venice by two bridges.Sant'Andrea (Venetian Lagoon)
Sant'Andrea is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy.
It houses the Forte di Sant'Andrea, a large fortress built in the 16th century to defend Venice. Sant'Andrea constitutes a prolongation of the island of Vignole, from which it is separated by a narrow channel, towards the Porto di San Nicolò on the Lido, between Venice's Island and the island of Sant'Erasmo.Sant'Elena
Sant'Elena is an island of Venice. It lies at the eastern tip of the main island group and forms part of sestiere of Castello. The original island was separated by an arm of the Venetian Lagoon from Venice itself, and was centred on the Church of Sant'Elena and its monastery, originally built in the twelfth century and rebuilt in the 15th.
In the 1920s, the island was expanded to fill in the gap; it is linked to the rest of the city by three bridges. It includes the Rimembranze Park, a naval college and a football stadium, Stadio Pierluigi Penzo, in addition to residential areas and Venice Bienniale buildings.
The belltower has a ring of 6 bells in B rung with the Veronese bellringing art.Sant'Erasmo
Sant'Erasmo is an island in the Venetian Lagoon lying north-east of the Lido island and east of Venice, Italy.Tronchetto
Tronchetto (also known as Isola nuova, meaning "New island") is an artificial island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy, located at the westernmost tip of the main Venice island.
The island was created in the 1960s, and now is used as a car park for tourists who cannot bring their vehicles into the city. The Venice People Mover connects Tronchetto with Piazzale Roma, the main Venice bus station, which lies at the edge of the city center.Vignole
Vignole (also Le Vignole) is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy, with a surface of some 69.20 ha. It is located north-east of Venice, between the islands of Sant'Erasmo and La Certosa.
Islands of the Venetian Lagoon