What can be said about Venice that has not already been said? For me, the experience of the city is entirely sensual. It is impossible to live in such a close relationship with water without something elemental happening to the psyche. Venice, as Italo Calvino knew well, is a state of mind. In Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, he has Marco Polo say to Kublai Khan “Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.”
The light is unique, though I have caught glimpses of it in other places, notably Cornwall. So there is the sense of vision, the amalgamation of water and sky. It is a surprise to see the Dolomites on a clear day, they look out of place in the flat world of the lagoon. Everywhere you can see the coruscation of light under bridges.
One hears the city. The lap of water, the chug of vaporetti, the shouts and calls of traders and gondoliers. There is the echo of footfalls in a remote piazza and the change in sound as you walk through a sotoportego.
The city smells. Sometimes not very nice, as many disappointed tourists have discovered in high summer. It is a smell I love. Mud, rot, grilled fish, coffee, cigarettes, boat fumes, perfume from a hidden garden. It is Venice.
You can feel Venice: cool marble, the polished balustrades of bridges, rough brick.
And you can taste Venice. Even now I can savour the dark aroma of a perfect espresso. The depth of a perfect Baccala and the bitterness of Aperol.
Showing all 3 results