Lido di Venezia, Venice’s Little Island Enclave

When Venetians get tired of their beautiful city (Venice) and want to trade canals for sand, they often head to the island of Lido. This seven mile stretch of sand that would be insignificant were it not for its proximity to Venice and the few historical events that occurred here.

Brief History of Lido

Lido back in the day…
I didn’t really find anything of historical importance occurring on Lido until about the 12th century. It was in 1177 the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa signed the Treaty of Venice here. This was after his defeat to the Lombard League in the Battle of Legnano the year prior. Pope Alexander III was in attendance for the treaty’s signing.

Not too long after in 1202, several thousands of crusaders camped out (or were blockaded) here when the Venetians determined that they couldn’t pay for the ships they had requested, thus greatly delaying their journey to the Holy Land.

In more recent times, Lido became known as a place for, well, leisure and fun. By the 19th century, the island had become popular with beach goers and infamous for its budding brothel industry.

Lido Today

Lido today; photographer unknown
Today, Lido is filled with hotels and villas and is a popular getaway for northern Italians. Many Venetians have also moved here due to its relatively modern infrastructure. I mean come on, canals are so 15th century.
Lido’s famous Excelsior Hotel
The main reason that people come here is for Lido’s beach. The island essentially stands between the city of Venice and the Adriatic sea. In between Venice and Lido is the body of water known as the Venice Lagoon. The side along the sea is where you want to be, since this is where the beach and resorts are located. Don’t expect to have a lot of quiet time to yourself; this beach normally is super crowded. You will though tend to see a lot of beautiful and scantily-clad people sunbathing on the sand. If you’d rather go for swim, the generally calm and shallow waters are perfect for this.

If the beach isn’t your thing, come during the Venice Film Festival, held annually in September. Other notable attractions include the Ponte dei Tre Archi bridge and the Art Deco Casino. The latter is no longer open for gambling.

As for restaurants and other things to see and do, check out the following:

Best of Lido de Venezia of TripAdvisor

Venice for Visitors: Lido

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