Sunday, January 12, 2014

January in Venice

In the winter Venice is like an abandoned theater.  The play is finished, but the echoes remain. (Arbit Blatas)

Venice is a slippery, mysterious, seductive city. Its narrative is one of romance, longing and escape from the harsh technological drama of the 21st century. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called drama "that willing suspension of disbelief, for the moment, which  constitutes poetic faith…"

Can you enter this city and for the moment, suspend your disbelief? Your logic tells you that this is a city that can not survive.  It is feeding off the mortal majesty of generations past and its history is not sustainable into the future.  Other than artifacts, we believe that the past is not worth preserving if nothing new is added to complement the thinking. And yet… in this place, in this heavy laden city, we preserve and revere the past and do not ask what we can add, or change or supplement,  only how can we keep from destroying that which has been done. That desire to be connected to something larger than our own lifetime, our own generation, creates within us this poetic faith of place, and hope. If ever a city emblemetizes poetic faith, it is Venice.

Look past the poster charm of this photo.  What do you really see?  A canal of water where there should be a street alley.  What does this mean?  Why does this charm us? What is the narrative of this place behind the stillness of the watery reflection.  Do you see what Colerideg meant by poetic faith?  There is a poetic faith that this stillness, this captivating scene evokes more than the reality of a polluted body of water and a city that is slowly sinking into the ruins of its moors.

That is what you must look for when you visit Venice. Just take a moment. Only for a moment, to look past the reality, and perhaps you can catch the shimmer of light that can break through the cold realism of our scientific heart. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


  1. Definition of torture: Sitting at your desk in NJ reading Susan's blog of her travels through Italy. But the memories of past trips and the hope for future ones cause one to not want the "torture" to end. Keep the pics and dialogue coming! (and those shoes are to die for).

  2. Melanie. Thank you. Sorry for the torture. Fog has gotten us totally sacked in tonight if that is any comfort!