Venice (Italian: Venezia [veˈnɛttsja] , Venetian: Venexia [veˈnɛsja]; (Latin: Venetia) is a city in northern Italy known both for tourism and for industry, and is the capital of the region Veneto. The name is derived from the ancient tribe of Veneti that inhabited the region in Roman times. The city historically was the capital of the Republic of Venice. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals".
The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially the silk, grain, and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially during the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
When Grantville arrived in the spring of 1631, Venice was dealing with an outbreak of plague that had started in 1630, and would not be declared over until November of 1631. The city had been gradually declining even before the plague, but it was still the capital of a powerful state, as well as a center of commerce and diplomacy. It was also Europe's principal glassmaking center, and would have to deal with information about methods it considered secret, as well as up-time methods, being publicly available in Grantville's libraries.
By the fall of 1633, there were plans for diplomatic contacts between Venice and the then-Confederated Principalities of Europe. The CPE needed a foreign trading partner, and Venice was the only possibility that wasn't hostile and had cash to spend. The Venetians, having lost roughly a third of their population to the plague of 1630-31, were interested in up-time medical advisors, and also needed the business. The transition to the United States of Europe did not markedly affect this, and the delegation arrived in February of 1634. They found a city that, for all its attempts to keep up appearances, was noticeably run-down.
By May of 1635, Venice was a solid trading partner and ally of the USE, and was experiencing something of a boom as a result. Its lagoon was a natural landing area for the Jupiter-class airplanes, and TransEuropean Airlines (later Royal Dutch Airlines) made regular flights to Venice.