Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Venice is a place that should be on every one's Bucket List.  I never thought of decay as being particularly romantic until I traveled the canals of Venice.  Picture grand homes sinking into the mud, their faded colors even paler in the glare of a sunset, glimpses of chandeliers through windows coated with decades of grime, crumbling facades, and the relentless slapping of water against troubled foundations.  Venice is truly one of the most romantic places I have ever visited.  Perhaps it is the obvious reminder of our own mortality and the delicate life of our possessions that forces a person to reflect on the overwhelming importance of our interpersonal relationships - which more often not leads to thoughts of romance.

St. Mark's square is a highlight not to be missed.  The grandeur, is guaranteed to enchant, no matter what your feelings might be regarding opulence, architecture, or religion.  No photos were permitted inside the church, but this web site features many of the most dramatic features:  http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/venice-san-marco-photos/      For more information, the wikipedia article is excellent.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mark's_Basilica

The square itself is excellent for people watching.  Tourists from all over the world and from every imaginable faith crowd into the square day after day expecting to be amazed.  They are rarely disappointed.

So, if you aren't blown away by the architecture and art; if you aren't impressed with the international parade of costumes, you certainly won't be able to resist the coffee and music.  The coffee is fabulous, and they throw in live orchestra music for free.  No extra charge for the chair either.  Quite a bargain at $8.00 a cup, especially if you sip it very slowly and make it last.

Life in Venice is not easy for the residents.  Can you imagine depending on boats to transport everything from hotel laundry to caskets?  Even crossing the canals is a pain for pedestrians who must either take a water taxi or hike up to the nearest bridge which often means walking several blocks away from the canal you are trying to cross.

Think about managing a stroller, groceries, and a bottle of wine over these bridges.  No wonder young people are moving away in droves.  Need work done on your building?  First you must get in line for a crane - on a boat of course.

Everywhere, there is art! Sculpture . . . Architecture . . . 

The absurd . . .

Avant garde . . .

And, seriously traditional side by side with the satiric sneer . . .

My  favorite church Santa Maria della Salute.

One boat ride after another

 One particularly sweet memory has no visual aide. We attended a production of The Barber of Seville staged in three different rooms of one of those fading, sinking mansions. What a treat! Obviously, a tremendous amount of effort had been put into the restoration and preservation of the mansion. I had never seen so much art in a private home from ceilings to walls, to door jambs, to floors, it was exquisite. What a showpiece it must have been in its day.

Venice is not one of those places I would yearn to visit year after year, but I am so happy to have had the opportunity to walk her streets, to ride her water taxis, to explore her churches, to visit her museums, to ogle her art, and to glory in a final sunset.