Bongiorno Venezia

The book and movie “Death in Venice” came into my mind today as I thought I might actually die here. Less dramatically, there was a moment today when I thought I would at least spend the rest of my life surrounded by tourists, unable to escape. Smelly, dirty tourists, most of whom smoked. (Italy doesn’t seem to have received the memo about smoking yet.) Vague, sluggish tourists who walked at a snail’s pace. Tourists who thought it would be a great idea to bring their babies in hummer-like prams down crowded medieval streets. I don’t really need to go on, do I? I think you get the scene.

So I took a moment out to go back to my hotel room, to enjoy the air-conditioning and to try to regroup on my sense of what I wanted from visiting Venice. Of course I wanted to visit and see the gondolas and the waterways. I also wanted to see some of the amazing art that would be part of the Venice Bienale. Thankfully I’ve been able to do that in the six or so hours I’ve been here by taking the sideroad. You avoid the crowds and you get to see a little more, I think.

I chatted briefly to another guy doing the same. We were at the end of a darkish lane, both looking at the boats, the narrow waterway, and the buildings that were presumably hundreds of years old.

By taking the sideroad I also got see some amazing art as part of the Venice Bienale. I visited Montenegro (which I didn’t really understand), Cyprus (a terrific installation piece) and my favorite (so far), the pavilion from Estonia. The work there called, NSFW, is most definitely NSFW. A series of videos and photographs tells the story of a former Communist Party Chairman who led a double life as a married man and as a closeted gay man who would pick up men in public toilets. After being intimately physically examined, he was charged with a sex crime. Later, he was killed by a Russian solider who doubled as a prostitute. Sadly this was as recently as 1990, so it’s an incredibly sad and touching work.

Without a real plan for the evening, I’ve wandered down to the waterfront where I’ve secured a terrific table for the sunset and am enjoying a couple of local beers. I may not come back.

4 thoughts on “Bongiorno Venezia

  1. I seem to recall Ruth Cracknell in her memoir of when her husband became very ill in Venice described how she learnt to use side lanes and areas where there weren’t many tourists.

  2. Time for Torcello to avoid the crowds !!

    http://goitaly.about.com/od/venice-islands/ss/torcello-island-venice.htm

    Glad you are enjoying the trip , despite the heat and humidity …the ‘humidity’ always a problem in Venice , Summer and Winter.

    Immerse yourself in the history Venice or Torcello…and be surprised at what you find.
    When we were in Paestum some years ago, site of wonderful Greek Temples and Roman ruins , Kevin was examining some Roman ruins , made out of the typical narrow Roman bricks , and as he ran his hand over the column his thumb fitted into the thumb mark left by the brick maker ….such a tangible connection with the history of the place , the time , and the man …still raises the hair on the back of my neck!

    Will be glad to hear the details of the ‘plush’ Roman accommodation.

    Enjoy the rest of the holiday.

    M&K

    1. Thanks Kevin and Margaret. Got up early before the crowds today and it’s amazing. Lovely older lady at a coffee shop even gave me a free coffee. Will live exploring more today. Heading back to Rome tonight. Accommodation great. The place is almost empty which I guess is why I got it so cheap.

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