Unreal city. Place of wild improbability, simultaneously ageless and ancient. Where decadence and decay nestle like siblings. Where the levelling forces of water reveal a common ground among the Doges and the destitute. Here palazzos are built on foundations set deep in mud. Here the tides of fortune and time remind us that the names of the chosen are always changing. In this place, identity is proudly carried for centuries on a family crest and lost in an instant behind a carnival masque.
It is a city that belongs to no one and steals from everyone. Among its spoils are columns from the Orient, bronze horses from Byzantium, the body of Saint Mark the Evangelist. And for those who visit, pickpockets and petty thieves are everywhere. Even the most casual of guests loses something in Venice. Some of the unlucky misplace their wallets or squander their silver on trinkets. Many lose their way in the serpentine waterways and labyrinthine streets. Others, more preciously, leave behind their innocence. And in the extreme cases, unsuspecting souls lose their hearts. They wake up to find that whilst they have slumbered under her spell, their imaginations have been commandeered, their worldviews rewritten. I count myself among latter.
Like so many before me, I have been bewitched by La Serenissma