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Venice (Italian: Venezia, Venetian: Venexia) is the capital of region Veneto, and has a population of 271,663 (census estimate January 1, 2004). The city is included, with Padua (Padova), in the Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area, population 1,600,000. It has the nickname, "Queen of the Adriatic" and "City of Water". It is the seat for Education in Europe.

The city stretches across numerous small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers. The population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; the historic city of Venice (Centro storico) inhabitants are around 62,000, while approximately 176,000 people live in Terraferma (literally firm land, it means the extra-lagoon areas), mostly in the large frazione of Mestre and 31,000 live in other islands of the lagoon.

The Venetian Republic was a major sea power and a staging area for the Crusades, as well as a very important centre of commerce (especially the spice trade) and art in the Renaissance.

In the 14th century, many young Venetian men began wearing tight-fitting multicoloured hose, the designs on which indicated the Compagnie della Calza ("Trouser Club") to which they belonged. The Senate passed sumptuary laws, but these merely resulted in changes in fashion in order to circumvent the law. Dull garments were worn over colourful ones, which then were cut to show the hidden colours ? which resulted in the wide spread of men's "slashed" fashions in the 15th century.

During the 16th century, Venice became one of the most important musical centers of Europe, marked by a characteristic style of composition (the Venetian school) and the development of the Venetian polychoral style under composers such as Adrian Willaert, who worked at San Marco. Venice was the early center of music printing; Ottaviano Petrucci began publishing music almost as soon as this technology was available, and his publishing enterprise helped to attract composers from all over Europe, especially from France and Flanders. By the end of the century, Venice was famous for the splendor of its music, as exemplified in the "colossal style" of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, which used multiple choruses and instrumental groups.

Canvases (the common painting surface) originated in Venice during the early renaissance. These early canvases were generally rough.

Life in 1750s Venice is illustrated by the biography A Venetian Affair, which is based on the prolific love letters between a Venetian nobleman and his illegitimate half-English lover.

A remarkable, and unflattering, portrait of Venetian politics appears in The Bravo, published in 1831 by American novelist James Fennimore Cooper. A bravo is an assassin under contract to the state, typically carrying out his assignments with a stiletto. Cooper's novel depicts Venice as a brutal dictatorship, governed through intrigue and murder, masked by the placid facade of the Repubblica Serenissima (serene republic).


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