15 October 2009

the invisible city...

I came back from Venezia a couple of weeks ago...but I'm still wandering around there in my mind. What struck me about the place was how familiar and comfortable it all felt.


As soon as I arrived and started walking over Calatrava's bridge, it was as if I knew where I was going, as if I'd walked there before...in fact the entire 4.5 days were like that, an overpowering sense of 'i know this place, it all makes sense, i feel right here' but I don't know why. Of course I had many moments of getting lost in the winding streets, but that is not a bad thing and it was a pleasure uncovering surprise corners of the city that I wasn't even seeking out.



Obviously having dreamed about it for so long has played a part, I was nervous because it could have easily been a dissapointment, or an anticlimax. But it really wasn't. It was as though the entire city and her people all came together in some grand consipiracy to make me completely blissful the entire time; every person I came in contact with, every time I needed help (particularly my last few hours, just barely making my flight) the Venetians came through with flying colours and generous personalities.

I can try and convince you that this is not me being delusional, and you may not believe me, but that's ok because you weren't in my shoes, a big part of me was suspicious and constantly kept waiting for something to go wrong, for something to be unsavoury or mediocre but it truly wasn't, not ever.


It helped that I stayed at a little B&B, I had keys to my own place in an area that was not inhabited by tourists. It helped that I dressed in my prettiest day dresses and did not act like a tourist, I'm sure it helped that obviously I look (and am!) Mediterranean and the Italians share so many similarities with the Greeks. Some cities and places just fit, they are a piece of the odd puzzle that is your personality, the pieces of which you will spend most of your life assembling into some order, and some pieces just take longer to place than others. Venice took me 27 years to place, but I am suprised that at ten years old, I already knew that it would fit.

I feel the same way about Venice as I do about Hellas and Jerusalem, I can see it so vividly in my mind, feel it, and it hurts when I think about how I am not there right now.

I didn't have a chance to read any Calvino during my stay there, but I did start reading it on the plane home...and I cried, because in every sentence Venice was reflected back to me, even though Marco Polo was trying his best to disguise it as something else;



“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'll be back, of course...I'm grateful that I had the chance to vi
sit her at all, I'm grateful that so many things about that little girl really haven't changed at all, because these things make me so happy and I hope I can hold on to them long after I complete the puzzle.


xo



(my Venezia photos are here and my Biennale photos are here )

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