From Encyc

Venice is a city in northern Italy. It is located on the east coast, on the Adriatic Sea. It is built on low-lying land separated from the mainland by water, and was a refuge for Romans during the barbarian invasions at the beginning of the Dark Ages. Much of the city is below sea level and has canals instead of streets.

Venice was a significant naval power during the Middle Ages, with colonies as far as Cyprus. It defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. It was important during the Renaissance.