Brief history of the land

Presently, the ruling State in the country is Italy, but in the past it has not always been the case. The history of this place has seen a sequence of divisions and reunifications.

Veneti’s timeline

In the era of Ancient Veneti, different cities existed since the Iron Age: they had a common language and script with some local variations (also present-day venetian language shows local varieties). They became first allied with the Romans – who knew and recognized Veneti – and then part of the Roman Empire within the Regio X.

First split/First dividing – With the fall of the Western Roman Empire and subsequent invasions and reconquests between 554-568, the Venetian coastal strip and islands (Venetia Maritima) remain under the Bizantine Eastern Roman Empire while the Venetian mainland remains under Langobard and later Frankish jurisdiction.

Second split/Second dividing – With the fall of the Carolingian Empire and the wars of Berengario I, the Venetian mainland is politically fragmented into a number of fiefdoms and later communes often fighting against each other.

First reunification – the family of Ezzelini, arrived through the Brenta valley around 1050, settles first in Onara and then in the foothills strip across the river Brenta, gaining prominence among the local dynasties. Based in their castles on the hills of San Zenone, Romano, Bassano-Angarano and Marostica, the Ezzelini gradually create a network power and a direct or indirect de facto control on Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Treviso, Belluno and Brescia between 1200 and 1259.

During these centuries, between 1245-1250, the Venetia maritima avoids the risk of an authoritarian one-person ‘lordship’ (Signoria) and gradually establishes a collegial Signoria as its own form of government in Venice.

Third split/Third dividing – The Ezzelini lose the support of the Empire. Their personal power is opposed by the Church, Venice and local noblemen. Between 1259-1260 they are defeated and massacred before they can set up a full-fledged State in the Venetian mainland. Battles between separated cities go on, to which the dynasties of Carraresi and Visconti add their wars.

Second reunification – Following the wars between Visconti and Carraresi, mainland cities progressively turn themselves to the collegial “lordship authority” (Signoria) of Venice, which had previously rejected the one-person Signoria in favour of a collegial, assembly form of government. From about 1404 to 1797, the Venetian mainland is part of Venice Republic’s Stato Veneto (or Stato da Tèra) which also includes Friul and the Venetian Lombardy. The Venetian mainland and the Venetian coastal strip are joint under one sovereign government (which also includes oversea territories), thus healing the break of the First Split of 554-564.

Fourth split/Fourth dividing – After the country loses its State structures in 1797, the Republic is dismembered and different States rule the land as a consequence of Alpine-Adriatic wars. These were part of a larger European conflict between Napoleonic France, Austrian Empire, Prussia and then Italy and were aimed at controlling the territories between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps, namely Tyrol and the Venetian lands. The Venetian land comes repeatedly under the State authority of France with its allied Italian States and Austria. The challenge is eventually won by Italy, who gains control of Veneto in 1866 and Trentino/SouthTyrol in 1918.