Venice (Italian: Venezia; Venetian: Venexia) is a sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has decayed since its heyday and is heavily touristed (there are slightly more tourists than residents), but the romantic charm remains. It is also known as the birthplace of composers Tomaso Albinoni and Antonio Vivaldi. Venice and its lagoon are a UNESCO World Heritage site. It used to be an independent republic, and remains one of Italy's most important cities.