Altino: the real origins of Venice

ALTINO: THE REAL ORIGINS OF VENICE

Everyone knows the story of Venice, from its highest moment of glory to its tragic fall with Napoleon Bonaparte’s occupation, but what do we know about Venice, before all this? The foundation of Venice dates back to 421, but what happened before that?
To know the history of the origins of Venice, however, you need to take a big step back and also one on the mainland, because everything starts from here.

THE FLOURISHING CITY OF ALTINO

Have you ever heard about a city called Altino? It’s sounds like Quarto d’Altino – a small town in Treviso area -, in fact, during the Roman Empire, there was a town, called Altino around here, along the The Appian Way, which became great thanks to its proximity with the Venitian Lagoon.

Recent studies have found that the city of Altino, after it was annexed to the Roman Empire, has experienced a healthy and rich moment of development.

Pliny the Elder himself wrote about Altino, telling about its flourishing economy, especially in the wool trade, the shellfish fishing and the breeding of dairy cows.

It seems that the early Altino looks like Venice, since it was crossed by canals and bridges too. Ancient texts tell that lots of activities in Altino were made on a boat, exactly the same is still happening in Venice, nowadays.

The city of Altino was discovered to be a complex and modern city, for that time. Thanks to archaeological excavations, the presence of many buildings, including a theater and an amphitheater – as big as the arena of Verona – came to light.

THE FALL OF ALTINO AND THE BIRTH OF VENICE

With the arrival of the Huns and Attila, the inhabitants of Altino had to escape, taking advantage of the fact that they knew how to surf the lagoon while the Hunt’s didn’t.

The inhabitants of Altino hid themselves on the islands of the Venetian lagoon, Torcello was one of them, and slowly rebuilt their lives and their houses.

A lot of the marbles used for the construction of the Venetian palaces comes from Altino. The city of Altino is reborn from its ashes, like a phoenix, becoming one of the first Republic in the whole Europe: The Republic of Venice.