Venezia – La Serenissima
September 23, 2014
The first time I was in Venice was almost 30 years ago and I remember that I did not want to leave and I cried when I had to leave. It was a September day like today and what I remember most was the light. We had gone up to the top of the campanile and the fall sun cast a warm, golden glow across the red-tiled rooftops creating this kind of orangey haze.
Today I think La Serenissima never looked more beautiful. It feels like the cream, and coral and pink and yellow stuccoed palazzi are literally basking in that sunlight enjoying the last rays of summer sun.
While there are always a huge number of people everywhere, today it seems we are all here just enjoying this incredible day. It is not that intensity of the summer tourist crowd all stressed out to get the perfect shot that no one else has ever taken of a gondola. It is as if each one of us has carved out our own little space and each of us is enjoying Venice alone, soaking in just being there.
We come out of a narrow little calle, too narrow for the sunlight to reach, into the full spectacle of Piazza San Marco. San Marco, the Basiica, in the full sun, is sparkling and radiant in front of us.
When I was here last May it was shrouded in a green net protecting the renovation work. I remember feeling this disappointment like something was missing. The nets have been removed to reveal the frescoes in the marble arch ways. Today the grandness hits me full force. The personages in the frescoes are literally alive with rich jewel colors. The sun reflects off the gold leaf and creates this palate of rich purples, golds, reds, greens.
There are gold orbs on tall gold rods on the roof top of San Marco and they have been polished and shine bright gold. The sky is a perfect and cloudless and the orbs seem to be stretching up to touch that blue sky.
And as you look out the water of the Canal in front of San Marco the water is literally pulsating, with the sunlight bouncing off the water, with boats of all kinds travelling seemingly random route and with the gondolas somehow weaving in and out among all the motor craft.
After having said that we were not there to get the perfect gondola shot, I cannot help myself and take a series of pictures of the gondolas lined up in front of Piazza San Marco. They all have this azure blue cover that is a perfect contrast against the shiny black of the gondola and a perfect blend with the blue-green canal water.
We take the traghetto back to the train station. It is full of people. I go to the back to the open air part and watch contentedly as we pass the continuous spectacle of colorful palazzi. A man even offers me his seat – I thank him and accept the seat.
Even the waiter who brings us our aperol spritz seems to have divested himself of the usual apathy associated with the constant barrage of tourists and chats with me.
A perfect day in Venezia.