Venice old map
Old Venice map. Venice old map (Italy) to print. Venice old map (Italy) to download. Uniquely among Italy chief cities, Venice came into being after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (see Venice old map). The Lombard hordes, whose incursions into northern Italy began in AD 568, drove great numbers of mainlanders onto the islands of the lagoon, previously the homes of itinerant fishermen and salt workers. The isolated communities of old Venice, literally islands of Veneto-Byzantine civilization, became part of the exarchate of Ravenna when it was created in 584. When the mainland Byzantine city of Oderzo fell to the Lombards in 641, political authority was shifted to one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon.
For centuries Venice dominated trade on the Mediterranean through wily diplomacy, assisted by its mighty navy (see Venice old map). When old Venice maritime empire passed its high-water mark, Venice refused to concede defeat on the world stage. Instead old Venice itself became a stage, attracting global audiences with its vivid visual art, baroque music, opera, independent thinkers and parties without parallel. In its audacious 1000-year history, Venice has not only remained above sea level, but repeatedly risen to the occasion.