So when we woke up today, walked out on the street, and headed for San Marco’s, the only thought that crossed my mind was: why bother with anything else when there is Venice???
It’s crumbling worse than ever, the paint is peeling off the buildings, and the canals give off a slight order, but yet it is still the most beautiful city in the world.
In your mind’s eye you have to photoshop all the disturbances: delete the mobs of tourists, erase the ugly kiosks selling cheap Chinese masks, get rid of the motor boats, and, if you like, you can repair the most damaged facades and freshen up the paint. Your mind’s eye is eager to make all these corrections, and then you see the real Venice, as it should be seen. And it’s blinding, it is dazzling, it is royal, it is regal, it is one and only, the queen of all cities.
If I were a mayor of Venice, I’d limit the number of visitors a year, make them buy passes (if they can do it on the Inca Trail, they can do it here), and charge entry fees for this open air museum. This would make it more pleasant for the visitors and residents alike, and some money would be raised to do in concrete what your mind’s eye had done photoshopping.
I’m on a mission to buy a mask. Years ago, most gift shops in Venice sold Murano glass, now, it’s masks. So there are cheap mass-produced Chinese versions, more expensive and mass-produced Italian types, and then, there are some artisanal shops selling different versions as imagined by artists. I’m roaming the city in search of the best mask/s. It’s becoming an obsession. I walk into every shop that looks artisanal and inspect the product. It’s actually great, because in search of specific shops, we roam the city discovering yet undiscovered by us nooks and crannies of this amazing city. We happen upon previously unseen (by us) bridges, squares, and churches. The thing about Venice is that because of the narrow streets, sharp turns, and dead ends that force you to switch directions, new wonders come up at you unexpectedly, appear in front of you suddenly, like Fata Morgana, you don’t have time to prepare for this shock of beauty, your heart skips several beats, and you feel faint.
And we get lost,over and over, and it’s wonderful to be lost in Venice!