Bird’s-eye view of Venice by Braun and Hogenberg, with a key to locations. From Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Liber Primus. Köln, Gottfried von Kempen.

Based on the map of Forlani. The vignette with part of the Doge’s procession is taken from M. Pagani (1559).

COMMENTARY BY BRAUN: “Venice is divided into six districts; near the shore one can see two huge columns, on one of which stands the symbol of St Mark, namely the winged lion, on the other St Theodore. Between these columns is the place where criminals are punished. The market square is embellished by the magnificent and wonderful church of St Mark, which was built of precious and costly marble. […] The streets of the city are intersected by canals, which are spanned by wooden and stone bridges, of which some 400 can be counted. There are, however, over 8,000 small boats in which one can travel to and fro.”

Thanks to its geographical position, Venice for centuries played an undisputed leading role in trade between East and West. In the 15th/16th centuries the city on the lagoon, with a population of some 150,000, also experienced a flowering of the arts. The 400 bridges over its 180 canals include above all the famous Rialto (150), at that time the only bridge over the Grand Canal. The originally wooden bridge with its many stalls and shops was replaced in 1591 by a stone bridge. Standing out from amongst the sea of buildings – supported on millions of wooden piles – are St Mark’s square with the cathedral, the bell-tower and the two columns bearing the city’s patron saints, Mark (represented by a lion) and Theodore. Opposite St Mark’s square lies the Island of San Giorgio with its monastery and church. Above the city is Murano, to where all Venice’s glass-making workshops were moved in the 13th century for reasons of fire prevention. Ships, boats and Venetian gondolas fill the harbour. (Taschen)

Verso Text: Latin