VENICE'S LIDO DI VENEZIA
The Lido — or Venice Lido (Lido di Venezia) — is an long sandbar in Venice, northern Italy; it is home to about 20,000 residents. The Venice Film Festival takes place at the Lido every September.
The island is home to three settlements. The Lido itself, in the north, is home to the Film Festival, the Grand Hotel des Bains, the Venice Casino and the Grand Hotel Excelsior. Malamocco, in the centre, was the first and, for a long time, the only settlement. It was at one time home to the Doge of Venice. Alberoni at the southern end is home to the golf course. Frequent public buses run the length of the island along the main street. At least half the Adriatic side of the island is a sandy beach, much of it belonging 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, currently undergoing major renovation. These beaches are private, though towards the northern and southern ends of the island there are two enormous public beaches. The Adriatic Sea is fairly clean and warm, ideal for children, with only the occasional jellyfish to disturb swimming. The heart of the island is the Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, a wide street approximately 700 m long that leads from the lagoon and vaporetto (water bus) stop on one side across to the sea on the other. It houses hotels, shops, and tourist-centric restaurants. Venezia Lido, a public airport suitable for smaller aircraft, is found on the NE end of Lido di Venezia. It has a 1000 m grass runway.
In 1177, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III signed the Treaty of Venice here following Frederick's defeat at the Battle of Legnano in 1176. 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. In 1857, the first sea bathing facility was set up. This was the first time that anything like it had been seen in Europe and soon, the lido became "The Lido", a byword for a beach resort. The Lido's success and the fascination of Venice nearby made the Lido famous worldwide. Lido was also famous for its brothels in the first half of the 20th century. Major beach facilities, hotels and private summer villas have remained the heart of an island that is still known as the "Golden Island". In the 1960s, the improving post-war Italian economy created a real-estate boom in the island, and many Venetians moved to Lido to benefit from its modern infrastructure.