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The thing about Venice


I’ve only ever visited once—for a few nights last summer—but the city has somehow gotten stuck in my mind. Venice was, for a very long time, a place I always wanted to see. Whenever it would show up in a novel, or I’d hear some unlucky news about the Italian city, my mind would start to wander. I always dreamed of Venice, and when I first visited the city, Venice lived up to every expectation.

That’s unusual for most destinations, I’d argue. There’s often a lot of hype and a lot of dreams. And when you visit a place in the flesh, those dreams somehow seem faded. Not so for me, with Venice. This is a city very much still in my dreams. My first impressions (read them here) were ones of amazement, wonder and happiness. Looking back, it’s still a city very much on my mind. And I can’t escape from it.

Joseph Brodsky, a poet and Nobel prize recipient, describes the beauty that is Venice in one of my favorite books, Watermark:

The espresso at your cup’s bottom is the one black dot in, you feel, a miles-long radius. Such are the noons here. In the morning this light breasts your windowpane and, having pried your eye open like a shell, runs ahead of you, strumming its lengthy rays—like a hot-footed schoolboy running his stick along the iron grate of a park or garden—along arcades, colonnades, red-brick chimneys, saints, and lions. “Depict! Depict!” it cries to you, either mistaking you for some Canaletto or Carpaccio or Guardi, or because it doesn’t trust your retina’s ability to retain what it makes available, not to mention your brain’s capacity to absorb it. Perhaps the latter explains the former. Perhaps they are synonymous. Perhaps art is simply an organism’s reaction against its retentive limitations. At any rate, you obey the command and grab your camera, supplementing both your brain cells and your pupil. Should this city ever be short of cash, it can go straight to Kodak for assistance—or else tax its products savagely. By the same token, as long as this place exists, as long as winter light shines upon it, Kodak shares are the best investment.

Spring is here and so beauty seems to be blooming everywhere. Yet I still dream of Venice. What cities can’t escape your dreams?

  1. Yishyeeene says:

    Places that have a special place in my heart include Cinque Terre, Porto, and of course, Iceland <3

    I love Venice too, even though I visited in winter and it was FREEZING!


    • Adam says:

      I haven’t been to Cinque Terre or Porto, but Iceland will always have a BIG place in my heart! My trip to Iceland is what set me out on this adventure :)

  2. Im so happy to read this post because we are going to Venice in August!

    I have so many special paces but one that comes straight to mind is Paris. I got very emotional there – It was a lifelong dream and when it happened I was overwhelmed with happiness :)

    • Adam says:

      That’s great to hear that it was your lifelong dream to visit Paris and your dreams weren’t shattered when you finally made it there! I think if you enjoyed Paris, you’ll probably appreciate and love Venice as well!

  3. Ray @stingytraveller says:

    O Venice! What a classic city. Truly one of the wonders of the man made world.

  4. Izy Berry says:

    Oh Venice looks stunning! I will surely go visit Venice soon!

  5. I’d like to visit Venice, and in particular, I’d like to see what it’s like on the outer islands.

    Prague is always in my dreams. Countless visits have not sated (nor will it ever, I expect) my desire for that city.

    • Adam says:

      Henry I think you’d love Venice! Prague is very beautiful and it was a place I always wanted to visit as well, but it just didn’t live up to my hype. I plan to visit another time (my third) this summer, though…

  6. estherjulee says:

    mine would probably be cinque terre. i could probably revisit CT every year and not be tired of it, while i personally consider venice checked off my list. they are quite different though. :)

    • Adam says:

      I haven’t ever visited Cinque Terre but I do hear great things about ti. Need to spend a lot more time exploring Italy – such an amazing country!

  7. I have the same feeling for this romantic city too, Venice was always on our list and hopefully we can do it while in Europe this summer.

  8. Tiana Kai says:

    I love how you pulled that quote! My first impression was one of amazement and wonder and I do love a well made Spritz!

  9. #Travel Tag Roundup 5/28: Parents in Croatia - Travel Freak says:

    […] guide Sylvana. Thus, it barely ranks on my list of favorite places in the world. Judging by this beautiful passage on the watery city, I might be alone in […]

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