The birth of Venice
The first migration from the mainland dates back to the V century to escape from the barbarian invasion of Attila the Hun and was temporary. The second migration took place in theVI century to flee from the Longobards and gave birth to a real settlement in the lagoon. People who abandoned their flourishing communities on the mainland and moved to the lagoon, saw in the little islands a perfect refuge. It must have been very hard to build a town on a soft and muddy ground! In the beginning the economy was based on fishing activities and salt production. But soon they became the best naval engineers and the most skillful merchants.
The Venetians in the countryside
Venice is much younger than the rest of the Veneto region as it is basically the consequence of barbarian invasions to this part of Italy. Places like Padua or Verona date their origins back to prehistory before becoming a Roman municipium and an early Christian town. And that’s why Venice outskirts are rich in art and culture: you can range from archeological sites to Medieval castles and abbeys. When at the beginning of XV century Venetians spread out to the territory, they also gave a big contribution in terms of civilization by regulating the waters and clearing the land.
They started farms that in many cases gave birth to a new village, as many people were employed in the cultivation of plants imported from the Americas like mais, tomatoes, beans, potatoes and pumpkins. The local economy was also based on sericulture and silk production, for centuries imported from China through the Silk Road. Venetians built amazing countryside villas and guaranteed peace and prosperity till the fall of the Republic in 1797, when Napoleon and the Hapsburg alternatively ruled in this part of Italy.