Venice, known as Venezia in Italian, is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. The city is situated across a group of 118 small islands, located in the Venetian Lagoon. On 25 March 421, the first church was dedicated in the city, and 25 March is considered to be the founding date of the city. In 697, the Republic of Venice was founded, with Paolo Lucio Anafesto serving as its first doge. Nicknamed "Serenissima" ("the most serene"), "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Bridges", and "City of Canals", the city was a major financial and maritime power under the mercantile republic, and it prospered during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance eras. From the 13th to 17th centuries, Venice was known for its silk, grain, spice, and art trades, but its trade empire was destroyed by Ottoman expansion, and Venice itself was conquered by France in 1797 during the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, it was decided that Venice would be ceded to the Austrian Empire, and it was not until 1866 that Venice joined a united Italy, following the Austro-Prussian War. As of 2016, Venice was rated the world's most beautiful city, famed for its canals, its gondolas, its bridges, its festivals (and the masks accompanying them), and its medieval architecture. In 2014, Venice had a population of 264,579 people.