Sunset on the Venetian lagoon
The Lagoon of Venice is the most important survivor of a system of estuarine lagoons that in Roman times extended from Ravenna north to Trieste. In the sixth century, the Lagoon gave security to Romanised people fleeing invaders (mostly the Huns). Later, it provided naturally protected conditions for the growth of the Venetian Republic and its maritime empire.
The Lagoon was formed about six to seven thousand years ago, when the marine transgression following the Ice Age flooded the upper Adriatic coastal plain.
Deposition of river sediments compensated for the sinking coastal plain, and coastwise drift from the mouth of the Po tended to close tidal inlets with sand bars.
The name "Italy" is shrouded in mystery; some etymologists trace it to a Greek word meaning "the land of young cattle."
Italy was fond of Jupiter and Mars from the very start, Jupiter for fatherly good luck and Mars for war!
But it all began with Rome. Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus who were sons of Rhea and Mars.
The twins were abandoned at birth out of a fear that they would grow up and later overthrow Amelius, usurper of their grandfather's rightful throne.
Wrongful mis-doings most foul! Treachery and sabotage!! HOW would these two blessed infants make their way in such a world?
As it turns out, the twins didn't have to make their way very far, because one of them killed the other one and then they weren't twins anymore. But that happens later.
First they got rescued by a she-wolf who suckled them with her milk and raised them as her own until they were discovered by the shepherd Faustulus.
Faustulus fed them meat and bread and also raised them as his own until they were old enough to return to Amelius and hack him up as planned. They reinstated the grandfather Numitor to his rightful throne and went off to celebrate by starting a town of their own.
They chose a hilly area where the mama wolf had saved them from certain death in the barren wilderness and began scouting locations.
Romulus liked one hill. Remus liked another. The circle of crows like Romulus' hill, so Romulus killed Remus and named the town after himself. Thus Rome was born and Italy with it.
Text by Steve Smith.