We had a friend staying with us last week – one of our au pairs from when Four was a baby – and she and I managed to sneak off to Venice the one day that it didn’t rain while she was visiting. It was my first time in Saint Mark’s Square with acqua alta. When we came upon it we both gasped a little, at how beautiful it was.
There is something about Venice.
It’s not that far and yet I rarely go unless I have guests from out of town. There are so many art shows, so many beautiful churches, some wonderful friends to see, and I always put off the short train ride there, but when I do go, I step outside the train station and see this
and every single time, without fail, I say to myself, “Look at this! Why don’t I come more often?”
A decade and a half ago, when I was still in college and had friends who studied at the university in Venice, they would tease me when I came to visit. It would be two in the morning, we’d be walking home to someone’s cramped apartment because there are no trains to the mainland after 11pm and the city would be still and deserted except for our footsteps and laughter. We would round a corner and I would gasp a little at the marvel of Arabesque stone facades in the silver light of the moon. “Ah,” one friend in particular would say. “CHE POESIA, eh?” He studied there, he works and lives there still today, and by then he was already used to the poetry that is Venice, especially by night, when you can go to San Marco and be the only one there.
I hope I never get used to it. Which is probably why I don’t go there all the time. Some things are best when saved for special occasions.