Reachable in about 20-30 minutes of navigation from Venice, the Lido island is located between the Venice lagoon and the Adriatic Sea and its length is approximately twelve kilometers for a width ranging from a minimum of 300 to a maximum of 1000 meters.
It is delimited to the north by the San Nicolò canal (or Porto di Lido) and to the south by Alberoni, which also includes Malamocco, the ancient Roman village (Metamauco the name of the past).
In the early days, the island was inhabited mainly by gardeners and fishermen who used the waters of the Brenta as a connection and commercial route to the mainland. In 1043, under the dogado of Domenico Contarini, the Benedictine monks obtained the authorization to erect the church and the annexed monastery dedicated to San Nicolò (whose body was transported from Licia, Turkey, to the Lido at the end of the first crusade), which gradually began to reclaim the land. Of its origins, not much remains now, apart from two Venetian-Byzantine capitals and some patera. Some of the important finds found are now contained in a small museum at the Palazzo del Podestà.
The imminent disintegration of the State from Mar began to worry the Venetian people about a possible invasion of the Ottoman Empire and the Government therefore decided, in 1543, to build a defensive fortress, the Fort of Sant'Andrea, built by Sanmicheli in the island just in front of San Nicolò. For centuries, as evidenced by the numerous still visible traces of ancient forts, batteries of the Austrian government and bunkers, the lidense territory was exploited as a military defense.
The church of San Nicolò was rebuilt in 1620 and the monastery, demolished in 1770, was converted into a barracks (the elegant 16th century cloister is still preserved today); the same happened for the church of Santa Maria Elisabetta (rebuilt in 1620). In 1700 the Serenissima, to protect the island from the erosion of the sea, built the walls: grandiose Istrian stone barriers, today particularly appreciated by swimmers who do not like the sandy beach.
The moment of greatest splendor for the island began in the second half of the nineteenth century when the place began to populate with villas, houses, hotels and gardens; the people, especially the wealthiest ones, were attracted by his tourist, seaside and spa treatment activities. Worldly and international tourism soon began, with hotels of amazing beauty, the first film festival (1932), golf courses, riding stables, tennis courts and any other comfort able to satisfy the most disparate needs of wealthy tourists who came at the Lido on holiday.
Today, this strip of land is the most populous of the Venetian islands and welcomes the protected natural areas of Alberoni and San Nicolò, where you can come across rare plant and animal species, including colonial and migratory birds. known internationally, since 2009 it has obtained the coveted and prestigious "Blue Flag" from the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) every year as a symbol of clean water and sustainable management of the environment.
It is the only island in which there is a small airport, now civil: the Giovanni Nicelli (dedicated to the Italian aviator highly decorated during the 1915-18 war).
According to the BBC, Nicelli is a small jewel that is worthy of its presence in the ranking of the 10 most beautiful airports in the world, thanks also to the charm of the 1930s style.