We have all watched the movies, read the books, seen the pictures, heard the stories. But once you go to Venice, you need to drop all those preconceived ideas, visuals and sounds and let them dissolve into the water surrounding this miraculous, timeless, exquisite city with it’s magical maze of canals, cobbled paths and bridges all wrapped around each other. Once you are there it is just you, on your own, under the Venezia spell.
‘There is still one of which you never speak.’
Marco Polo bowed his head. ‘Venice,’ the Khan said.
Marco smiled. ‘What else do you believe I have been talking to you about?’
The emperor did not turn a hair. ‘And yet I have never heard you mention that name.’
And Polo said: ‘Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.’
I cannot write down on paper the words about Venice like I have previously done for other cities. I cannot tell you what to do, where to go, what to eat or where to drink. Not only because I have briefly visited the city ***Don’t judge me please, it was a business trip and the client was in another small Italian village an hour away from Venice *** but because I can only write about me and the sleeping parts of myself that Venice has awakened. If Prince Charming has roused Sleeping Beauty with true love’s kiss, then Venice Charming has revived my Sleeping Wanderlust by true love spell.
The Love of Venice can smitten anyone, not just hopeless romantics like myself. My eyes were filled with tears as we were sailing through this enchanting city by taxi boat: I was in a rippling wonderland!
I only remember having a similar emotion when we were in Ushuaia , and it has been a while since I have felt that way toward a city or a place although we have been since to Cape Horn, Puerto Varas, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, Pragues, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Versailles. All were beautiful cities except Venice is Venice a surreal astonishing man made creation. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than this city was my eye’s beloved ****Sorry Erwin****
“A tear can be shed in this place on several occasions. Assuming that beauty is the distribution of light in the fashion most congenial to one’s retina, a tear is an acknowledgment of the retina’s, as well as the tear’s, failure to retain beauty. On the whole, love comes with the speed of light; separation, with that of sound. It is the deterioration of the greater speed to the lesser that moistens one’s eye. Because one is finite, a departure from this place always feels final; leaving it behind is leaving it forever. For leaving is banishment of the eye to the provinces of the other senses; at best, to the crevices and crevasses of the brain. For the eye identifies itself not with the body it belongs to but with the object of its attention. And to the eye, for purely optical reasons, departure is not the body leaving the city but the city abandoning the pupil. Likewise, disappearance of the beloved, especially a gradual one, causes grief no matter who and for what peripatetic reason, is actually in motion. As the world goes, this city is the eye’s beloved. After it, everything is a letdown. A tear is the anticipation of the eye’s future.”
― Joseph Brodsky,
I don’t have twenty, ten, or five reasons on why you should go to the magical floating museum situated in the North of Italy. I only have one reason for why you shouldn’t go to Venice: its peerless beauty will forever ruin every other city.
If you love to travel, like I do, just stay away and keep it as your last city to visit. I acknowledge that I am forevermore ruined, don’t let that happen to you…yet!
The only other advice I can actually give you, in case you decide not to follow my previous one and choose for some sadistic reason to torture your eyes and go to Venice, is the following: with its narrow passages and cobbled streets snaking away from the hustling watery main roads of the Grand Canal, Venice is the perfect place to get utterly and completely lost. You will be greeted by sights of Venetian daily life, which invariably include boats, boats, and more boats either anchored on the water or sailing away.
Venice is the best city to wander aimlessly, but if you do need to find a particular sight or attraction, just follow the signs pointing you in the direction of major landmarks (i.e. Rialto, Ospedale, Basilica San Marco, etc…). A compact city like Venice can easily be explore alone on foot by a reasonably healthy person. There’s little reason to spend money on tours.
Despite our August trip to Venice ***worst month to visit***, our timing was still perfect: we went through the city around 6h30 pm right after all the cruises were departed. Having said that, the city was still loaded with visitors but not the extent of triggering any of my claustrophobic reactions which were very pretty well sealed. Venice is the most touristy place in the world, but it is still utterly magic to me.
One of my biggest fears was to go there and be disappointed by an overrated attraction. I couldn’t conceive the thought of such a small city with such a big impact on travellers. I was wrong ***yeah you read me right*** Experiencing Venice for the first time feels like you are being transported to another time, a time of glory, freedom, joy, celebration, art, fashion, music, a time of pure romance like no other place.
Venice has started to be a city only for the tourists. Matteo Secchi, a spokesperson for Venessia, stressed the need to act quickly.”If we don’t fix these problems, Venice will be like Disneyland – just a park for the tourists without people living there. During the day, you [can] visit the city, and at night, we [will] close the park like in Disneyland.”
In fact, Venice is completely dependant on the trampling feet of 27 million visitors a year!!***claustrophobic alert*** Summer times are the worst times for its residents who are outnumbered by visitors: three decades ago, more than 120,000 people called Venice home. Today, there are 55,000. By 2030, some demographers predict, there will be no more full-timers. In 2008, after its population dropped below 60,000, residents organised a “funeral”: a three-gondola cortège carried a red casket through the city’s canals, to raise awareness about the population decline.
Besides being on the verge of becoming a ghost city, Venice faces the fate of becoming the new Atlantis. Since the early 20th century, the Adriatic Sea has repeatedly flooded and damaged the first floors of hundreds of buildings in Venice. Over the past century, the average water level in Venice has surged, and many experts predict the city has less than 80 years before it is completely underwater.
“The experts are right, he thought. Venice is sinking. The whole city is slowly dying. One day the tourists will travel here by boat to peer down into the waters, and they will see pillars and columns and marble far, far beneath them, slime and mud uncovering for brief moments a lost underworld of stone. Their heels made a ringing sound on the pavement and the rain splashed from the gutterings above. A fine ending to an evening that had started with brave hope, with innocence (“Don’t Look Now”)” ― Daphne du Maurier.
Venice has always lived on borrowed time, it is a city that should not exist – a capricious maze of heavy marble palazzi and churches built upon ancient wooden unite sinking into a salted swamp. It is a wonder that Venice survived to the present day. Unfortunately, the sea has won that battle and Venice is to face a threat that may finally end the life of this faded beauty.
“The quality of Venice that accomplishes what religion so often cannot is that Venice has made peace with the waters. It is not merely pleasant that the sea flows through, grasping the city like tendrils of vine, and, depending upon the light, making alleys and avenues of emerald and sapphire. The city has a brave acceptance of dissolution and an unflinching settlement with death. Though in Venice you may sit in courtyards of stone, and your heels may click up marble stairs, you cannot move without riding upon or crossing the waters that someday will carry you in dissolution to the sea.”
― Mark Helprin,
The good news is not only I am a diver but I am also a traveler infatuated with a city that is about to perish soon. I am a woman in love and I’d do anything
to get into Venice world. So here it is, I promise to go wherever Venice will go, even to the underwater world. After all, doesn’t love conquer all!