It’s no coincidence that Venice, Florida shares its name with the legendary City of Canals. In the late 1800’s a prominent Gulf Coast pioneer, Frank Higel, suggested the name “Venice” because he was moved by the scenic bayous, creeks, and canals leading out to the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The name, Venice, was accepted by the state and with that moniker, numerous visionaries dreamed of forming an idyllic city inspired by its namesake.
Today, their designs for a signature city have left their mark. Venice, Florida is now a flourishing, picturesque destination – with clear illustrations of its Italian muse. And while it would be a stretch to compare the two cities in certain aspects, Venice, Florida has also had its own story; the lovely Gulf Coast locale embodies a unique character and charm balanced with the comfort and convenience of a Florida lifestyle.
Here are five examples of why Venice is like…Venice.
Thoughtful City Planning
Throughout the course of Venezia’s history, a mix of wealthy families and state institutions have patronized the best architects, planners, and artists to create a thoughtful city design of classical ornamentation, dazzling piazzas, and beauty for everyone to behold.
With similar ideals in mind, Venice’s founders commissioned the world-renowned City Planner, John Nolen, to create the “model city” on the island. Nolen envisioned a community where civic virtue and nature were the highest ideals. Greenbelts, parkways, broad avenues, commercial sites, and public spaces were designed in harmonious accord with the area’s natural beauty.
Today, you can see examples of this all around the area. At Venetian Waterway Park, almost 10 miles of waterfront view parallels both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway. Or in downtown, specialty boutiques, antique shops, and restaurants create a vibrant, delightful scene.
Graceful Italian Architecture
Architecture in Venice, Florida is largely in the Mediterranean Revival style. Conceived of by the city’s earliest developers alongside John Nolen, northern Italian influences can be seen in many buildings from the public spaces to commercial buildings and lovely Mediterranean-style homes. Examples of stuccoed walls, red tiled roofs, arched windows, and wrought iron balconies are often accompanied by lush gardens.
Today, Venice protects and enhances the integrity of this regional character with a city Architectural Review Board and design guidelines within specific historically-designated areas.
You can also find examples of many new home communities embracing the Mediterranean motif including Grand Oaks located in the heart of Venice.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Canals link the many islands of Venice, Italy creating an elegant culture of water and boating. Closer to home, Venetians spend much of their time boating though the intracoastal waterways. You are likely to find them at the Venice Jetties, Snake Island, or laying anchor for a tasty bite at Pops Sunset Grill, the Crow’s Nest, or the Casey Key Fish House.
Boaters also travel to other nearby islands and locales all while experiencing Florida’s tropical splendor of blue skies, sparking waters, and perhaps even a playful dolphin or two.
Arts and Culture
Just as the City of Masks is a bustling center for arts and culture, Venice Florida is rife with theatre, music, art, and entertainment. The Venice Theatre is recognized as one of the most successful non-profit community theatres in the country. Two stages, educational opportunities, and numerous special events take place year round.
The Venice Symphony and the Venice Art Center also enhance the area’s artistic experience. Venice Main Street hosts exiting events from outdoor music performances in Centennial Park Gazebo, to craft fairs and outdoor arts shows.
For many hundreds of years, Venice, Italy has been a mecca for countless individuals yearning to experience its enchanting art, architecture, and beautiful cityscapes. While the Italian epicenter is truly one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, Venice, Florida, holds its own more understated allure. Forbes Magazine has ranked Venice, Florida one of the best places to retire in 2014 citing the warm climate, above average air quality, cost of living, and low crime rate as important factors in its desirability.
Ultimately, Venice, Italy may have had an influence in our region but right from outset, the Gulf Coast has carved its own way. With our white sand beaches, golf courses, and relaxed Florida sensibility, you’ll be taken in by a friendly community where the quality of life is truly remarkable.
Do you live in Venice, Florida? What do you love about it? Let us know in the comments section!