Venice, La Serenissma, historically was once the city of intrigue and innuendo. How else could a tiny island-nation-state become the reigning world power in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries? The Most Serene Republic of Venice dates to 827, when a Byzantine duke moved its seat to what is now the Rialto. For the following 970 years, Venice thrived on trade and the military power of a Roman-style Senate headed by the Doge. In 1797, the city was conquered by Napoleon and never recovered. It soon became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire then ping-ponged between Austria and a nascent Italy. But today Venice remains a monument to the Renaissance’s glory days and its historic culture still flows in Venetians’ veins.