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By Beachcomber, retrieved from Wikipedia
Nov 3, 2003, 18:55
Venice's Lido is an 11-mile long sandbar, home to about 20,000 residents, greatly augmented by the (mainly Italian) tourists who move in every summer. The island's casino has recently closed down - it used to be used in the summer months, moving to a palazzo in Venice for the winter. The Venice film festival takes place here every September.
At least half the Adriatic side of the island is sandy beach, much of which belongs to the various hotels that house the summer tourists. These include the renowned Excelsior and the Des Bains, setting for Thomas Mann's classic novel Death in Venice. These beaches are private, though towards the northern end of the island there is an enormous public beach - the further from the town centre you walk, the more deserted it becomes. The Adriatic Sea is fairly clean and warm, with only the occasional jellyfish to disturb your swim.
The heart of the island is the Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, a wide street less than a mile long that leads from the lagoon on one side to the sea on the other. It houses hotels, expensive shops, and tourist-centric restaurants. At the lagoon end of the Gran Viale, you find the boats that take you to Venice, the mainland, the islands and the Marco Polo airport.
In 1202 at the beginning of the Fourth Crusade, it was used as a camp by tens of thousands of crusaders, who were blockaded there by the Venetians when they could not pay for the Venetian ships they needed for transport.
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