The History of the “Murazzi”: The Island and the defences against the Sea

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The White Room introduces you to an interesting journey to discover the most important defence against the Sea: “I Murazzi”, wanted by the Venice Republic. The plastics recall its evolutions through the centuries thanks to a careful reconstruction of historical and cartographic sources. These sources prove that the Island of Pellestrina changed during the years because of the men and natural causes.

Since its origins, the history of the Venice Republic has been linked to the defence of its “lidi” (a strip of land). The first Defence consisted of wicker baskets with inside little stones. Then, this construction was strengthened using chains and “palizzate” (palisade). Little by little these defences became very important for Venice which didn’t have city walls and thought that the Sea and the sand could always save this city.

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People knew that it was important to protect the “lidi”, ever since they escaped from the Longobards invasion (589 A.C) and found refuge in the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. Thus, these people were the first to build a defence against the Sea. Gradually these defences became very important for Venice which didn’t have city walls and thought that the Sea and the sand could always save this city.

The Venice Republic was always careful to the safety of the “lidi”, threatened by the Sea and the many rivers near there. For more than 600 years,( from1299, when the first alarm for the flood of the Brenta was documented, to 1797, when Venice became part of the Austria) the “Serenissima” approves a series of interventions to modify the territory and safeguard it.