About the City
Central Venice is divided into six sestieri, or administrative
districts, three on each side of the Grand Canal. On the northern side
is Cannaregio, to the east Castello and in the centre
the San Marco sestiere, boasting the beautiful Piazza San Marco.
Santa Croce, San Polo and Dorsoduro are on the
southern side of the bank. San Giorgio Maggiore
(the conference venue), Giudecca and Lido are separate islands, as are
Torcello, Murano (where glass is produced), and Burano (where lace is
historically made). There are over 100 islands in the lagoon, with an
ever declining population of 120,000. Tourists swell this number to
around 25 million each year.
The Veneto region was part of the Roman Empire until the barbarian
invasions of the 5th and 6th centuries forced much of the population
to retreat toward the coastline and marshy islands of the lagoon. The
islands fell under Byzantine rule until 726 when Venetians elected their
first Doge and achieved autonomy.
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Last update: March 14 th, 2005