Andare, Partire, Tornare

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Because it's Venice, and it's in the news

Ah, Venice! Queen of the sea, La Serenissima. Slowly sinking into the ocean.

"Venice, lost and won, her thirteen hundred years of freedom done, sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose."

--Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage."

Of course, when Byron was there, Venetian waters were still clean enough for him to swim the Grand Canale every day. He'd get a raging infection if he tried that now - some trench digging in the sea-floor in the lagoon has forever altered the tidal patterns that used to keep the city clean. Sure, it was sewage, but that sewage was swept out to sea. Plus, it was mostly pre-industrial sewage, until the modern age swept over Venice, along with hordes of tourists who come in on a cruise ship, stay four hours, and then depart, only spending a small amount of money.

The current solution to the problem of Venice's flooding is a series of barriers on the floor of the Adriatic Sea, which would lift and serve as floodgates, hopefully preventing the need for catwalks in front of San Marco during aqua alta (high water).

Rilke visited Venice, and wrote to his sister, "Its marble is ashen, a pallid grey, as luminous as the edge of a coal that has just stopped smoldering. How inexplicable are the red of the walls and the green of the shutters; so restrained and yet impossible to ignore; it is the past, but in the fullness of flight; it is so pale, just as people turn pale as their emotions increase."

Even its origins are a source of mystery. A Venetian poet wrote, "Our holy fathers, more than a thousand years ago () must have had not only an uncommonly iron will but also a touch of generous insanity.

Venice on the web?

Venetian Recipes (good for seafood lovers)

Gaudy Venetian products here

Venice was one of the great publishing arenas of the Renaissance. It was famous for glass - Venetian glassmakers were part of the state's assets, and forbidden to leave, in case they might share their secrets. It was an empire that was Italian, but also Eastern. She was opportunistic, and not given to the excesses of piety that other Italian states were prone to, but still full of elaborate and beautiful churches that are full of Byzantine influences. Venetian paintings were famous for their vivid color.

Erica Jong said, "It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone."

There is no observation one can make about Venice that has not already been made by somebody else, and probably by somebody else much more famous than you are. That doesn't stop it from being true.

Glass, Steel, and Stone of Venice

Masks and the Carnivale

Venetian Masks

Travel sites about Venice are many - here's an interesting one.

Here's Lonely Planet's take on the city.

And if you want to read some excellent books on the city, try these:

Ruskin, _The Stones of Venice_

John Julius Norwich, _History of Venice_

Henry James, _The Wings of the Dove_

Thomas Mann, _A Death in Venice_

1:27 p.m. - 2002-03-06

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

previous - next

latest entry

about me

archives

notes

DiaryLand

Blogroll

random entry

other diaries:

caerula
dichroic
sometoast
mechaieh
weetabix
trancejen
unclebob
smartypants
clcassius
badsnake
bafleyanne
abendbrot
marn
batten
herworship
sundry
keryanna
idiot-milk
saint-louise
skim
ursamajor
goodsandwich
culotte
seussie
cariboutwo
tanisanne
madamepierce