Saturday, March 1, 2008


The kids had no school this week and thanks to one of the many low-cost European airlines, we were able to make a short getaway to Venice. Our goal was to get there in the off season since the place is said to be a mob scene in spring and summer and can get quite fragrant when the temperature rises. Well, even in late February, there are still plenty of tourists in Venice and places selling Murano glass, pizza, gelato, and Carnevale masks by the dozen. Since the city has been in commercial decline since its 17th century heyday, tourism is the major enterprise. That being said, it was pretty remarkable to find ourselves in the place we've seen so often in pictures. The weather was cool and gray but we stayed warm exploring the different quarters, the churches, museums, and canals. The city is clean but has an air of decay; the stucco (even on many of the grand palazzi)needs patching and the shutters need scraping and painting and everything is a bit dampish. Still, there's something enchanting about the city with its tiny passageways that masquerade as streets, the sound of Vivaldi wafting out of a Renaissance era church, and the streetlights reflecting in the water at night. It's peaceful too as there are no cars or motorcycles, just the sound of churchbells, kids playing soccer in the cobblestoned squares, and the occasional motorboat passing by.

I enjoyed the instructions left by the landlord in the apartment where we stayed:

The Venetian silence emphasizes every annoying noise. If you try to adapt yourself to this atmosfere, you will tune yourself with the spirit of Venice and you will fell in harmony with it.

Kind of a nice way to say keep quiet.

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