It seems with every few feet I walk, Venice opens herself up to me. She becomes more beautiful at every turn. You might think you are seeing her at her best, but you are not. Oh don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t have a bad side, but just take a few more steps and what just took your breath away moments ago, now leaves you shaking your head in disbelief at what she presents to you now. How can she get better? But she does! Somehow she does, over and over again.
The Magic of Venice is a different feeling for each individual, it is personal, it is in the heart and soul of each one who comes to her. Just surrender to it, it is yours and yours alone. Let the feelings wash over you and then just allow yourself to slip away on your journey. I guarantee it will be one you will never forget.
Venice, do what you want with me. I am yours.
These were thoughts that I had while I was in Venice for the first time in 2015. These thoughts continue to ring true today. Any emotions that I had, have only become more intense since returning home. The pull at my heart is so intense, nay burning! deep, deep inside of my soul. It seems to encompass my entire being at times.
These are my thoughts now
Feeling lonely now that I am home
Feel like a part of me is missing.
Part of me was left in Venice
Felt so relaxed
Felt so at peace
Felt so at home
Felt a belonging
Time was short,
not enough time…
So many emotions course through my veins
I was in the moment in Venice
I just “was” in Venice
I could just “be” in Venice
Where is my heart?
Where is my soul?
I must return
I must pick up the pieces
I still don’t understand the ‘why’ of all these feelings. How did it start? Why did it start? I have no ties to Italy. I have zero Italian blood.
All that I knew of Italy was from movies I’ve seen. Specifically ‘Summertime’. That is what started it, but again I must ask, ‘why?’. Was it just the romantic idea of it? I was only 15 at the time. What did I know of romance? I probably saw that as ‘frilly’, and I was and am, anything but frilly. That’s how it started, this dream of Italy, a romantic dream, the handsome stranger, falling in love. I got older, my feelings became more about Italy as a people rather than a place to visit or some crazy notion of falling in love. Of course that would be fine were it to happen 🙂
I was not prepared for how events were to unfold in Venice or Florence. There was so much that I wanted to experience and just not enough time. Artisans at work with tools no longer used because they have been replaced by power tools. Drawing knives and planes, chips of wood falling to the floor. Repairing mosaics one tiny piece at a time. A fisherman sitting inside his tiny weather beaten boat repairing his nets (were I to get near the sea). These were the types of images I had imagined would be Italy and was the Italy I wanted to see. I had romanticized Italy as so many had before me.
It was all so overwhelming at the time that I don’t feel that I experienced Venice as I should have or could have. There was not enough time in Florence either. I will stay longer on my next visit. I wandered down the Calli of Venice with no destination in mind mostly in the Dosoduro where we stayed. I didn’t ever get lost like I had hoped. Somehow I always knew how to get where I wanted to go and back again. Many times I had to seek solace in returning to the apartment to cool off and/or rest as my legs failed me too often.
I found myself happening on a small Campo and hung out for awhile just watching something as it played out. I’d we walking and just stop to marvel at the many small boats being unloaded throughout the city – realizing how much effort it took to bring everything into this city of Islands. see my post Challenges of Working in Venice Sometimes I just sat and did nothing! I felt so at peace when I was there that most of the time I didn’t feel like I had to be doing something. I could just be. Just be in the moment. Just belong.
Then I’d think that I was missing something – especially when I would hear of the Boy’s day where they went to 5 or 6 or more places that day. Although, that’s not for me either. I spent very little time with crowds while in Venice, often passing only a few people on my walks, usually they were local people, going about their daily routines. Many times, people I did pass by, would smile and exclaim, ‘Buongiorno’ and I would do the same. I would happen upon locals as they greeted each other, dog leashes tangling in the encounter. These were the kinds of things that absolutely made my day. Going into places and there being only a few others there was wonderful. I could linger and just enjoy what I was looking at, not having to push, shove, or be pushed and shoved or poked by selfie sticks. I loved this part of my trip… it was after all, what I had wanted my trip to be, what I had wanted to experience.
Everyone has seen the photos of Piazza San Marco, The Rialto Bridge, Santa Maria Della Salute, the Grand Canal etc – there is no denying the beauty and grandeur found in each of these places. But these are the tourists’ Venice. The visitors Venice. The pulse, the heartbeat, the magic, the mystique that is Venice is found in walking down her Calli. There, you will find the Venetians Venice. The Venice whose heart beats not from the throng of those who travel to her, but from the heartbeats of those from within who live and breathe each day in Venice.
And for that reason too, I simply must return. There is so much left for me to see and do. I know that I was there, and yet, I feel as though I wasn’t. Does that even make sense? But then, most of what Venice and Italy has come to mean to me, doesn’t make sense does it? I believe it will be a never ending quest.
Today, a year later, I still yearn to return. I know that I left a piece of my heart as well as my soul there. I need to return to pick up the pieces that were left behind.