Tonight we will be exploring Venice. Venice came into being after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for a millennium and more, from 697 to 1797. It was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important center of commerce—especially silk, grain, and spice, and of art from the 13th century to the end of the 17th. Venetian cuisine, from the city of Venice, Italy or more widely from the region of Veneto, has a centuries-long history and differs significantly from other cuisines of northern Italy. Cuisine in Veneto may be divided into three main categories, based on geography: the coastal areas, the plains, and the mountains.