For over a thousand years, Venice was capital of the Republic of Venice and generally referred to as "la Serenissima", "la Dominante" or "la Regina dell'Adriatico" (the Most Serene, the Mighty, or the Queen of the Adriatic).
Venice is universally recognised as one of the world's most beautiful cities for its unique location and its immense artistic heritage. The city and its lagoon are classed as world heritage by UNESCO. after Rome, Venice is Italy's second most popular destination for tourists, most of whom come from abroad.
The municipality of Venice covers most of the lagoon and much of the surrounding land, and includes the vast metropolitan area centred around Mestre.