Veneto or Venetia is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about five million, ranking fourth in Italy. The region's capital is Venice.
Veneto was part of the Roman Empire until the 5th century AD. Later, after a feudal period, it was part of the Republic of Venice until 1797. Venice ruled for centuries over one of the largest and richest maritime republics and trade empires in the world. After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Republic was annexed by the Austrian Empire, until it was merged with the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, as a result of the Third Italian War of Independence.
Besides Italian, most inhabitants also speak Venetian.
Since 1971 the Statute of Veneto has referred to the region's citizens as "the Venetian people". Article 1 defines Veneto as an "autonomous Region", "constituted by the Venetian people and the lands of the provinces of Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona and Vicenza", while maintaining "bonds with Venetians in the world". Article 2 sets forth the principle of the "self-government of the Venetian people" and mandates the Region to "promote the historical identity of the Venetian people and civilisation".