Although I’ve been to Venice only once – and never in the winter – the city’s been on my mind lately. Probably because, just this past week, I finished reading Peter Ackroyd’s Venice: Pure City. Serendipitously, the New York Times published this morning an evocative report on the pleasures of visiting Venice during the winter season.
Unique among cities in all sorts of ways, it would be difficult to imagine anyone not being profoundly affected by it. Venice is one of those emblematic places that you become intrigued about long before finally visiting it, that you are irresistably beguiled by once you finally make the long-anticipated visit, and that you feel a complicated affection for from that day forward.
The vivid – and often contradictory – impressions the city has made upon the imaginations of its many visitors is certainly part of its mystery and enduring appeal. The list I keep of the books I read each year shows, among other things, that I never seem to tire of reading about Italy, and the number of books I’ve read about Venice accounts for the majority of the Italy-related items on that list. The writer of the Times article quotes a prose poem about Venice (Watermark) published in 1992 by Joseph Brodsky; I’ll need to track down that book sometime soon and read it, too. Searching for images to introduce this blogpost, I also learned that there’s yet another book about the city I haven’t seen already: Serenissima: Venice in Winter – and a calendar based upon it.
Meanwhile, to nurture my Venetian reveries, I’ll be enjoying something I also stumbled over in the course of posting this note: the website that offers a different photo of Venice every day.