The Las Vegas and Macau Venetian resorts are purposefully created to replicate the feeling one gets by walking in the streets of Venice. They extend the definition of a replica to a place that recreates the spirit of the city, rather than copy the exact landmarks. Hence, they are a good starting point for our “Replicas of Venice” background research.
The Venetian [Las Vegas, USA]
The Venetian, a luxurious hotel and casino resort, is located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. The resort contains 36 stories, 4049 suites and a 11,000m2 casino . Together with the Palazzo and the Sands Expo Convention center, it is the biggest hotel resort in the world . The Venetian was opened in May 1999 and is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp., who also owns and manages the Venetian Macau .
The Las Vegas hotel’s architecture was designed by The Stubbins Associates and WAT&G, including reproductions of several of the most prominent Venetian landmarks, such as the palazzo Ducale, the piazza San Marco, the piazzetta di San Marco, the lion of Venice column, the column of Saint Theodore, St Mark’s campanile and the Rialto bridge . Over 160 shops are situated on the resort grounds, surrounded by a reproduction of Venice’s Canal Grande . One can take a gondola ride along the canal starting at $20 per person on a 4-seat gondola or for $80 on a private 2 passenger ride, which is comparable to the €80 price often quoted in the real Venice . One can also organize a private wedding ceremony on the Venetian gondolas, as well as at other locations around the resort .
Another attraction the Venetian offers to its guests is the Streetmosphere, a troupe of singers, actors and musicians who perform daily on the piazza San Marco . The “Living Statues” entertain street pedestrians with their immovable poses, from 10am until 6pm every day . The “Artiste del Arte” serenade the shoppers and the “Venetian Trio” performs in the piazza every night .
The Venetian also celebrates “Carnevale”, the famous mask festival observed in Venice from Boxing Day until Shrove Thursday . However, the two week time period is too restrictive for Las Vegas and the resort festivities are extended to 3 months . At the same time, 11781.5km away, the sister hotel Venetian Macao, is also celebrating “Carnevale”.
The Venetian Macao [Macau, China]
The Venetian Macao, modeled after its Las Vegas predecessor, is a magnificent hotel and casino resort situated in Macau, China. The resort casino is the largest in the world and the hotel is 39-stories high. The total surface area of the luxurious property is 980 000m2 and it holds first place as the largest single structure hotel in Asia .
The Venetian Macao was opened on 28 August 2007, providing 3000 suites, 110 000m2 of convention space, 150 000m2 for retailers and 51 000m2 of casino space . The overwhelming numbers continue with 3400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables. The Cotai Arena, a place for entertainment and sports events, has 15 000 seats . The arena hosted an NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic (Oct. 20, 2007), Andre Agassi vs Pete Sampras (Nov. 24, 2007), and Ray Mercer vs Derric Rossy (Jan. 26, 2008) . The Venetian Macao attracts more than 30 million visitors per year , compared to 47.7 million tourists in the real Venice .
Even though the same company owns the Venetian Las Vegas and the Venetian Macao, it approached the two hotels differently. The contribution for the architecture for the Venetian Macao goes to the joint venture between Aedas and HKS, Inc. This was the first replica of Venice that they were recreating.
The Venetian Macao captures the authentic Italian spirit. On side tourists can experience a Venetian “Carnevale”  or enjoy a gondola ride accompanied by singing gondoliers . The piazza San Marco awaits for its visitors to explore another landmark of Venice replicated on a different continent . The palazzo Ducale and the Campanile tower can also be found in the Venetian Macao .
The preliminary research of the resorts outlined above let to the conclusion that there is no sufficient data for conducting a map comparison to the actual city of Venice. Hence, instead of mapping the replicas, our research focus will expand towards “Venices of the world”. Many cities, located on the sea shore have been titled as “Venice of the XYZ”. An appealing research topic is to find out what the most Venetian features and landmarks are that make those cities remind people of Venice. Based on the initial gathered data, the most common trait appears to be the Canal Grande. In addition, more subtle characteristics also contribute for obtaining the nickname “Venice”, such as Venetian windows style, pigeons gathered on the main square, or even just a really good Italian restaurant that takes its guests to Venice.
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