Monday, February 13, 2012

Venice

Approaching Venice, I was surprised to pass through worn out industrial settings, contained in the greater area surrounding the old city on the mainland, thProvincia di Venezia. It was only crossing the long road bridge to the 'island,' and taking a ferry to Piazza San Marco that the fantasy Venice that I had seen in paintings came to life.


Piazza San Marco with the Basilica (1730) by Canaletto

Piazza San Marco with the Basilica (2011) by Nick (and Canon)

It was incredible how little the city had changed.

Nighttime Procession in Piazza San Marco (1758) by Guardi


We took a tour through the sometimes incredibly narrow canals by gondola, where our guide would artfully sail us around corners with millimeter precision, giving a gentle kick off the wall to set us down another path in the labyrinth.


Because Venice is like a maze. The only way through Venice is by foot or gondola, and the streets are narrower than the canals. Our tour manager gave us a map but then laughed and told us to not worry about using it. Instead we relied on the intermittent signs that would point either to 'Piazza San Marco' or 'Ponte di Rialto,' being the Rialto Bridge. Only you had to often guess for the five intersecting paths between each one. I managed to head from San Marco following the Rialto signs only to find myself back at San Marco! I took a breath, and tried again...


This time it worked!

View from Ponte di Rialto

On Ponte di Rialto

During a phase of 20th century development in the waterways, Venice began to sink. It has possibly stopped now after drilling in the lagoon was banned, but it has still left much of Venice at risk of high tides, and has forced some dwellings to raise their ground floor.


Sometimes I didn't know how Venice was still standing, following the stone and brick facades crumbling into the water.



And yet somehow this simply complimented the romance the city is famous for. Drifting away again, I felt like Venice would continue to remain in it's own time, ageless.


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