VENETIA, a territorial division of northern Italy, lying between the Alps and the Adriatic, and stretching from the frontier of Carinthia and Istria (Austria) in the north-east to the lower Po and Lombardy in the south-west. It comprises the provinces of Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Udine, Venice, Verona and Vicenza, and has an area of 9476 sq. m. Pop. (1881) 2,814,173; (1901) 3,192,897. The crops principally grown are maize, wheat, rice, grapes, mulberry leaves, tobacco, chestnuts, 1 Some further details will be found in the Preliminary Report presented to the British Academy published in the Athenaeum, August 8th, 1908.
potatoes and hemp. Copper and lignite are mined, and turf is dug. The chief industries are the manufacture of woollens, cottons, silks, glass, laces, tobacco, straw-plait, paper, sugar and hemp, the breeding of silkworms, iron-founding and working, timber-cutting and shipbuilding. At Mira is a large candle factory. The peasantry suffer much from pellagra.
The territory differs much in character; the Po and other smaller rivers which fall into the Adriatic terminate in a huge and continually advancing delta which extends right along the coast, and is liable to inundation. The shore lagoons are, however, rendered healthy by the ebb and flow of the tide, which is much more considerable than elsewhere in the Mediterranean. To the north of the Po at the foot of the mountains is a fertile territory, while the mountains themselves are not productive. The chief towns in the various provinces, with their communal population in 1901, are: Belluno 19,050; total of province 214,803, number of communes 66; Padua 81,242; Monselice 11,571, Este 10,779, Piove di Sacco 10,021; total of province 444,360, number of communes, 103; Rovigo 10,735, Adria 15,711; total of province 222,057, number of communes 63; Treviso 32,793, Castelfranco Veneto 12,440, Montebelluna 10,284, Conegliano 10,252; total of province 416,945, number of communes 95; Udine 36,899, Pordenone 12,409, S. Vito al Tagliamento 10,160; total of province 614,270, number of communes 179; Venice 148,471, Chioggia 31,218, Cavarzere 16,388, Mira 12,169, Mestre 11,625; total of province 399,823, number of communes 50; Verona 73,917, Legnago 14,535; total of province 427,018, number of communes 113; Vicenza 43,703, Bassano 15,097; Schio 13,524; Arzignano 10,426, Lonigo 10,390; total of province 453,621, number of communes 123. Railway communication in Venetia is fairly good; there is a main line from Milan to Mestre (the junction for Venice) and thence to Trieste by a line near the coast, or by Treviso, Udine and Pontebba (Pontafel) into Austria. Another route into Austria, the Brenner, leaves the Milan- Venice line at Verona, which is connected with Modena (and so with central and southern Italy) by a railway through Mantua. Another main line runs from Bologna to Ferrara, Rovigo and Padua, joining the Milan-Venice line at the last-named place. Intercommunication between the main lines is secured by branch railways and steam tramways. The Po, however, forms somewhat of an obstacle, but is crossed by the main lines to Modena and Bologna near Mantua and Rovigo respectively.
The district which later bore the name of Venetia was inhabited, under the Roman Republic, by a variety of tribes Celts, Veneti, Raeti, etc. Under Augustus, Venetia and Histria formed the tenth region of Augustus, the latter including the Istrian peninsula as far as the river Arsia, i.e. with the exclusion of the strip along the E. coast (Liburnia). In all directions, indeed, it extended farther than Venetia in the modern sense, being bounded on the S. by the Po and its main (north) arm, extending on the W. as far as the Adda and on the N. into a part of southern Tirol. It was thus far the largest of the regions of Italy, but possessed comparatively few towns; though such as there were, with the large territories, acquired considerable power and influence. The easiness of the Brenner pass and the abundance of communication with the sea led to the rise of such towns as Verona, Padua and Aquileia: and Milan only became more important than any of these when the German attacks on Italy were felt farther west.
When the Roman Empire fell the towns were many of them destroyed by Attila, and the inhabitants took refuge in the islands of the lagoons. It is to this that Venice owes its origin, under Byzantine protection, early in the 9th century A.D. For the gradual growth of Venetian supremacy over the whole territory, and for its subsequent history, see VENICE.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)