As Venice continued to decay, it no longer had the strength to protect itself from exploitation by European colonial forces. In the great chess games of 18th and 19th century Europe, Venice was conquered by Napoleon, given away to the Austrians by the French in a treaty, then given back to the French in another treaty as part of Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy, and then returned to the Austrians. Both occupying armies made modifications to the city.
All around the Italian peninsula, Italian city states were forming a unified Italy, and Venice ultimately became part of a unified Italy, albeit a little late. But the Austrians were force to give up Venice in 1866.
From there on out, Italy’s history is Venice’s history. Venice remains unique in its flavor among Italian cities due to its early origins of trade and interactions with parts of the Byzantine world. The bulk of Venice’s income and fame in the modern world is due to tourism, which swells Venice’s actual population to about three times its real size.