Invisible City


“Clarice, the glorious city, has a tormented history. Several times it decayed, then burgeoned again, always keeping the first Clarice as an unparalleled model of every splendor . . . “ Italo Calvino

Before leaving the train station at the very edge of Venice, I expected the myth of the city to disappoint me. I expected my fist sight of the island to be tainted by decades of poorly produced films and misrepresentative artwork. The fabled Venice performed extremely well against the stereotypes and prejudiced I brought with me on the train. Did I like Venice? The short answer, absolutely.

I think the deciding factor in convincing me of Venice’s splendor was the weather. It was cold and wet. The sun did make a brief appearance our second day only to eventually find interest elsewhere in the country. While these conditions may seem miserable, I think they in fact tamed the overly commercialised mask that Venice usually shares with the world.

The city was also, in a manner of speaking, on its best behaviour because of the 54th Biennale di Venezia. I often become lethargic at museums or exhibitions; it is something about the amount of art I’m meant to absorb in one visit. The Biennale must have installed safeguards against this very effect because I felt nothing close to lethargy.

Venice for me was really about a series of purposely ambiguous gerunds: eating, seeing, drawing, and raining.


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