Architectural Piece Venice

Venice is not an Italian city. It is spread out over 118 islands connected by canals and bridges in the north of Italy. Mavericks fled the mainland to seek greater freedom in the islands. Its earliest citizens were fleeing from major city centers to escape, plague, and rival political factions to have greater personal liberties. The Moors used Venice frequently and strongly influenced the citizens and architecture. Florence had the great thinkers and the Medici family, but Venice was a city of doers as they created a city from lagoons. It is technically Italian, but has strong Islamic influences.

This separation from the mainland by mavericks has led to a different culture. Italians are long that to be fanatical in their Catholicism, but in Venice perhaps due to the rain is more pessimistic. Religion is not central to the culture of the city. They also were open-minded allowing maritime trade with Moors, who rejected Catholicism as well. By the 13th century, Venice was a hub in the spice trade lending itself to different flavors in the traditional cuisine. Given its open nature there are Islamic, Byzantine and Latin Christian traditions and influences.

One such edifice is the Saint Mark’s church, which is a copy of the original Byzantine church. It is a replica of the tradition. Domes are a key component in this style. There are traditionally five domes. The pendentives are domes over square compartments. However in this Venetian church the caps on the dome resemble minarets that are long spires that look topped by bulbous onions which are typical in mosques. The maritime influence is one of displaying what has been seen. The city uses Islamic influence in an almost sacrilegious way to use mosque elements in a church. This would not have happened in mainland Italy.

Traditional Italians have pledged allegiance to Catholicism. They light candles to saints and have been known to wail in church for penance. To even suggest one is not a good Catholic is blasphemous. To use Islamic style openly in a Catholic establishment so openly is a brave choice. Venice is open minded enough to accomplish this architectural feat. Being so separate from the mainland enables the culture to take what it likes from the country, but to also add personalized touches without fear of social repercussions. Not only did Venetians accept Moorish influence, they also allowed Jews who were being persecuted in the mainland to find work and establish their own culture. This is a cosmopolitan attitude whereas the mainland was quite traditional.

Although Venice is sinking, it is nowhere near being a modern day Atlantis.

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