Favorite thing: The area of Venice was inhabited by the Calusas, Native Americans who lived more than 12,000 years ago. The European settlers began arriving in the area in the 1860s. At the time, the place south of Roberts Bay was known as ?Horse and Chaise? because of grows of trees on the shore which resembled a horse and buggy. In the middle of 1880s they had enough population to have their own post office. Maybe, the old name did not sound attractive, maybe it was too long to be used as a part of an address, but they came with awesome idea to call the settlement Venice. And why not? Florida remotely resembles the Italian peninsula and name sounded good for a town on the coast. In 1910 the railroad came to the town linking it with Tampa. Doctor Fred Albee and his wife Luella arrived in 1916. He purchased vast acreage and commissioned famous architect John Nolen to design the city of the Northern Italian style of architecture. Venice was incorporated as a city in 1927. Next year the Tamiami Trail (also known as US41) was completed passing through Venice on its way to Miami. The Venice Jetties were constructed and a channel dredged between them in 1937. Today we can enjoy two nice parks on the either side. But Venice became an island only in 1967 when the Intracoastal Waterway was dug. Nowadays the greater Venice includes five communities: the City of Venice, South Venice Beach, Nokomis, Laurel and Osprey with estimated population of 98,000.
Favorite thing: Retrace your steps back to Niami Ave and continue walk westbound turning into the Granada Ave. Walk down the wide avenue and you will notice massive banyan trees and live oaks draped with Spanish moss. When you reached the end of Granada Avenue you have reached the Gulf of Mexico. The Venice Beach has picnic areas, beach volleyball and lifeguards on duty during the day. Take a stroll on the beautiful beach, then turn right. Here, at the Venice Avenue, stately Mediterranean Revival houses line the road. Parks, fountains, statuary benches and nostalgic streetlights add to the Old World ambiance. Here and there you see beautiful wrought iron doors and window details, charming courtyards and lovely archways. As you progress towards the Tamiami Trail, more and more boutiques and restaurants greets you. You can find every kind of clothing imaginable, from beachwear to eveningwear. Stop for a lunch, cup of coffee or tea, ice cream cone or sweets at one of the many delicious treat shops. This is the area where you can see the famous Pigs in Paradise (have your camera ready).
Venice is a wonderful place to explore. Park your car at the spacious parking next to the city?s library at Nokomis Ave and walk up to the Miami Ave. The Venice Historic District is a well-preserved gem surrounded by waterways and graced by Northern Italian architecture and beautifully landscaped boulevards dating back to the original city plans of 1925. The street names in the area reflect the Italian influence ? Via Venezia, San Marco, Firenze, Milan, Turin, Salermo, Sorento etc.
On the corner of Miami Ave you will find small Fountain Park. It features a cast iron Italian fountain; across the street from it you will find a caf? with delightful meals. Turn left onto the Miami Ave. The picturesque avenue is filled with charming gift shops with exotic imports, small inexpensive antique stores, and many restaurants (American, Italian, and British). You can park your car along the street or at small public parking (free for 2 hours) but we found it is difficult to find a spot here. At the intersection with Nassau Street turn left. Down the road you will find the Triangle Inn built in the Italian Renaissance style (today it houses local historic museum on its 1st floor). It is very interesting building with a tower and arcade loggia. The museum is free and open Mondays and Wednesdays 10am ? 4pm. Another landmark on the Nassau St is the former Venice Hotel (now the Park Place Residence).
Fondest memory: My first visit to Florida was in December of 1996, traveling with two friends. We had just arrived and I was driving our rental car into Venice when 'Do They Know It's Christmas' came on the radio. Here we were in warm Florida sunshine listening to a song that I'd always associated with cold, winter weather. It was quite a culture shock for me.
Just the peace and quiet we experienced on a weekday at the beach and the harbour.
Fondest memory: Seeing the Pelicans and the boats at the harbour.