VENICE: THE GEM OF THE ADRIATIC
Like all the great civilisations before it the Western Moorish Empire fell victim of it's own success. But it did become the vanguard of an intellectual revolution, which swept Europe after the Moors were defeated in Spain. The scientific wealth cradled by their empire was used by western scholars to set the foundation for a new European renaissance, reaching its zenith in Venice and Florence. The story of Venice began with the arrival of the early settlers in the Middle Ages to the enclosed shallow Venetian Lagoon. Miles upon miles of salty waters, dotted with tiny islands, was festooned inside a cove of the Adriatic Sea separating Italy from Yugoslavia. But the muddy sediment of the flatlands was unstable for the settlers to build on, so they invented a new method of construction. One introducing a style of wooden huts supported on timber posts, pushed deep into the floor of the lagoon to create a solid foundation.
Today, Venice is mushrooming over a vast forest of piles. Farming could not be sustained on the uncultivable marshlands, but the locals soon discovered large stocks of fish. It became their livelihood and they turned into avid fishermen, navigating the hundreds of small islands spread across the lagoon. The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta dating back to AD 639 is founded on the island of Torcello. It is a marshland lodged on the northern edge of the lagoon, and indicate the Venetian settlements started here first before moving onto what we now know as Venice. And on close inspection of the inside of the cathedral, it's interiors bear the hallmarks of Byzantine architecture including mosaics, columns, vaults and arches. This proves that the early Venetians had a profound connection with the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantine.