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Memoria e Ricerca

Visiting Venice under the Habsburgs: Places, Exchanges, Amusements and Thermalism

di Laetitia Levantis
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 46 (2014), p. 63

For European travellers visiting Venice during the nineteenth century, theaters, libraries, archives and museums, are spaces for meetings based on the history and art of Venice. Connected to the terraferma by a railway bridge in 1850, the city – ruled by the Austrian Empire since the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) –, developed its own balneary potential. The exceptional properties of lagoonal waters revealed by medical publications draws, until the end of the century, thousands of European patients longing to enjoy the beneficial effects of the «Venetian cure» in the lagoon. Once denounced as unhealthy, Venice’s water is now extolled and appreciated for its healing properties. With the advent of modern tourism in the middle of the century, bathing as a source of delight progressively supplants bathing for therapeutical effects in the floating establishments placed all along the Grand Canal, and in the main hotels of the city. Keywords: Venice, Habsburgs, Foreign Travelers in Venice, Cultural Sociability, Climatotherapy, Termalism