June 16, 2019
italy – 2019
thirteenth-post – venice
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a voice in the wilderness
As soon as we put our suitcases in the rooms and changed, we headed into the calle – allies – and canals of San Polo, Santa Croce and the Dorsodouro. In one of the many small piazza, Seane spotted the graffiti about bombing and fucking.
For someone with little sense of direction and a need for visual landmarks in order not to get lost, the beehive that is Venice doesn’t bother me, mainly because no matter how deep into the maze I am, I can always reach the Grand Canal. And as long as I know that, all the disorientation of the twists and turns don’t bother me.
I used the title, because it was somewhat of a shock to see in very plain, very correct English a pertinent announcement. It’s not necessarily a new message, I’ve seen variations before, but it was a shock to be reminded of the hypocrisy we live with, and it was a shock to see it in Venice.
Let me get something off my chest. I dislike Florence; I prefer Venice. And I believe the tourist industry and the cultural cognoscenti push Florence over Venice. Florence is pretty; Venice is falling apart; Venice stinks; Venice is full of graffiti. I say, Florence is pretension and attracts the pretension. I never saw so many men in salmon colored suit-jackets, so many over-coiffed peacocks strutting around; so much artificial cleanliness. To me, Florence is a mausoleum being jealously guarded and excessively polished. It’s a glorification of wealth; it calls out to the wannabes telling them that they too can bask in the Medici’s leftovers. It’s Americans watching Downton Abbey and believing that they are part of the Upstairs people.
Venice is alive – the graffiti, the Bienales, the people still living in the calle, on the secondary canals. La Serenissima is still subject to the whims of nature, the pull of the moon. You can never forget that the sea is a punitive mother; you never forget that old dowager is fading.