"Worse than this crisis, there is only the drama of wasting it by locking ourselves away." cit. Pope Francis
The page of history we've lived through in the last few months has changed us all. Probably made us better. Hopefully. Losing contact with the outside world has forced us to reconnect with ourselves, which we often escape from the frenzy of everyday life. We realized that chasing time after all is useless. We have understood that we need a different approach with people and things, with our lives. A deeper approach. Sharing in a common struggle, against a common enemy, has made us understand how sharing can become a revolutionary way to approach the community. It would be wrong to start over from where we had stopped, as if it were possible to enclose everything in a simple bad dream from which we wake up in the morning. It is not enough to turn the page, but we have become pages of a new book. It would be a shame not to live this moment as an opportunity to be able to shift the axis of priorities, to look at things with a different, new, better perspective, with an enhancement of human and also environmental relations, a better relationship with us and with the world. It's a delicious opportunity to reflect on what to choose to feed ourselves, the cover and the soul, eliminating runs and routine practices, prefabricated behaviors that divert us from paths of deep discovery, three-dimensional listening and that flatten our reality by conforming it to extemporaneous and homologated fashions. We have locked our doorstep to a world that we can rediscover differently today. Let's do it!
Today, after months marked by the need for immobility, we are allowed to look back at the world, and to find a new normality.
Today, after months of virtual journeys, among calli and museums with which we have tried to keep you company, we can finally return to our Venice, and finally replace the digital connection with the human one. That's wonderful!
Today, after months of inactivity, the gondoliers put their gondolas back in the water and hold their oars to accompany us to the discovery of a new Venice.
Today, after months of closure, the accommodation facilities will reopen, ready to host us in a new but no less fascinating and empathic way.
Today, after months, Venice is ready to welcome us back in its embrace more warmly than ever, in all the security that decrees and ordinances dictate. And which we, thoughtful and conscientious, will respect in every detail.
Of course, Venice is that beautiful lady of all time, but this time the different ones are us, and we can make sure that this meeting is completely new.
When you arrive in the city you are always taken by a violent impulse, a sort of longing to see everything and immediately, fearing to miss something. It happens now with a certain habit of replacing our eye with that of a camera enclosed in a smartphone, promptly connected to the social on duty, completely losing the emotional aspect that those beauties have on us, losing track of the emotions that are generated within us: we are so busy judging the quality of a photo taken or thinking that post write on our social profile that we forget to really look at what surrounds us. We no longer realize that what surrounds us is beautiful! We don't pay any more attention to it, it just slips away. There, nothing more wrong!
We take advantage of this change that the pandemic has "taught" us and we try to live Venice in the flesh, we try to listen to it, taste it, indulge it, communicate and share emotions with it. Let's leave in the bag the technological devils that we interpose between us and her, let's stop filming anything, let's forget the photos when we take a gondola ride and enjoy the itinerary and the stories of our gondolier. Let us feed on the wonders it offers us. Let's enjoy the city with our eyes and mind, with our heart and you will see that you will take home the most beautiful postcards.
For this re-departure I would like to suggest you a completely new way to get inside Venice: abandon maps and maps, listen to you and her, relying exclusively on your body. Let your 5 senses guide you and let your sixth sense, the most beautiful and emotional one, your heart, emerge.
You also have the opportunity to enjoy a completely new situation for Venice, finding a city free from crowds and congestion, and therefore liveable in its most genuine authenticity.
Of course, we could not hug or shake hands, forced to a social distance unfortunately still necessary. But I am sure that if we live this new way by listening to our emotions, it will certainly be no less fascinating.
Ready? Mask, glasses and let's go!
Sight: so much beauty to eat with your eyes
There isn't a glimpse of Venice that doesn't radiate beauty! It can be an apparently disused private corner or an emblazoned monument: everything in Venice deserves to be enjoyed with the eyes, never seen with randomness or superficiality. Let yourself be guided by your sight, forget pre-established itineraries: if the tail of your eye has seen a suggestive corner, reach it, it will always be worth it. It's at random that you discover enchanting places. And the wonder of Venice is in this continuous union of art and landscape, of anonymous and famous, of public and private, of internal and external, of imploded and exploded.
Certainly it is right that your eyes exult of the most famous beauties, daughters of artists who have become immortal because crystallized in their art. Then enjoy the golden mosaic cycle of St. Mark's Basilica, the Salone del Maggior Consiglio at the Doge's Palace with the infinite canvas by Tintoretto, the festive Baroque of the Longhena of the lady Basilica della Salute, the flowery Gothic of the Queen of the Grand Canal, the Cà d'Oro, or the imperious Redeemer of Palladio at the Giudecca. But also of lethal beauty is the pictorial cycle by Tintoretto at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, or the collection of the Dogaressa Peggy Guggenheim in what was once her home. Think how much beauty there is on the Grand Canal! Four kilometres of buildings that poetically emerge from the water as if they were immaterial, endowed with an anti-gravitational lightness: when you walk along it you risk becoming cross-eyed because of the eagerness to see both right and left at the same time.
But beauty explodes even in the small things, in those that you don't expect and that treacherously strike you: in the calli without monuments but full of the charm of an extraordinary normality that tells centuries of history, in the small streams with their small bridges that become picturesque and suggestive, in the fields that in the evening are emptied by the confusion that crowd them daily, in the courtyards "sconte" (hidden) vigilant and silent eyes of the glorious past of the Serenissima, in the city that at sunset turns on its lights and turns off the noise of the day to be enjoyed on tiptoe in an appointment vis a vis.
Always remember to look up, turn your head, because beauty is total. A beauty that will knock you out! Hard to forget!
Touch: caress her and step on her, but with love
Losing yourself is the only place worth going!
Eh yes, Venice is a particular city that does not want to be dominated, but pandered to. Do you think you can get the better of the intricate maze of calli and callette? Impossible! Let her guide you, she will take you by the hand and lead you. And such a relationship also requires physical contact. So caress her, let your hands gently slide on her rough, fire-red brick walls that support centuries of glorious history, cling to the balustrades of her bridges, like those marble ones of the Rialto Bridge polished by millions of hands.
If you can find the narrowest streets of the city, such as Calle Varisco only 50 centimeters in the Rialto area, extending your arms you can touch both walls, like an instinctive compulsive desire to dilate that tiny space. I suggest you take a romantic gondola ride and caress the waters of the small canals and the Grand Canal, but also the arches of the bridges under which you will pass, because that's how beauty is, it wants contact, physical and mental.
But Venice is a city that you will also touch with your feet: apart from the vaporetto, the city has no means of transport except your feet! Don't run, don't be in a hurry, walk calmly through it, feel the signs of its pavement under your shoes, their smooth and uneven surface: think that you are trampling on millennia of history, take care of it, I recommend you. Your walks will be a continuous up and down from the bridges, a continuous change of level: a real effort, but one that is amply rewarded by beauty. And when you really can't take it anymore, maybe at the end of the day, when your legs feel all the tiredness of the kilometers you've covered, take a vaporetto, settle in one of the outdoor places and enjoy the wonder: in the evening the sun goes out and the city lights up, warm and soft, creating a fairytale atmosphere. The buzz of the day gives way to silence and the water of the Grand Canal becomes a dark silk mantle. It seems to be catapulted into a world alien to this frenetic life, where poetry and gracefulness fill the space. Here, this is one of the most exciting experiences that the city can offer, a way to come into direct contact with it.
We cannot touch each other, but we can touch her!
Hearing: the silence, the noise, the lyrical music
You may be wondering why you rely on your hearing to visit Venice? Because the silence and the noise give precise indications to understand where you are going. Venice is like this, you just need to turn a corner, walk along a bridge or a narrow calletta to pass in an instant from muffled and quiet places to a barrage of voices and sounds. If you rely on your hearing you could choose which way to go, whether to immerse yourself in the confusion or to retreat into the calm. If you are looking for crowds and hustle and bustle then head to the Rialto area, a real babel of languages that intertwine with each other, that mingle with the sound of camera flashes, among which are the voices of gondoliers that at the cry of "oe pope" announce their presence, like a sort of poetic horn: you will not need maps, let your hearing guide you. Or go to the elegant Riva degli Schiavoni, where human confusion joins the noise produced by the many boats that crowd the Basin. And if you are in the Cannaregio area your hearing will certainly lead you to the Jewish Ghetto, recalled by the sound of the litany of psalms recited in the five synagogues present.
But if you have refined hearing then this will guide you to St. Mark's Square, in the evening, when the morning racket is replaced by the notes of classical music masterfully performed by the Café Orchestras: just think, the half-empty square, the music and the stars. Really unmissable.
If you are instead in search of silence then you have to get out of the classic and stereotypical tourist circuits and wander around the areas of the Sestiere di Castello, the most Venetian of all the Sestieri, or Dorsoduro or even better reach the Gardens of Sant'Elena or the island of San Giorgio, where from the large churchyard you can enjoy a special serenity. But I also advise you to take a vaporetto from Fondamenta Nove and reach the islands of the Lagoon, Murano, Burano and Torcello: enchanted places, calm while remaining alive and pulsating, where time seems to have stopped the sound of its hands.
Listen up. Pay attention to the sounds. It will be very beautiful.
Smell: the scent of spices, the scent of the sea, the scent of Hollywood
Venice has a strong olfactory personality: some canals, as well as the Grand Canal have a strong character. Oh, yeah...
As well as some calli in which you can breathe the smell of home, everyday life and real life: it is not difficult to participate with your sense of smell to the lunch of the Venetians, or get intoxicated by the smell of freshly baked cookies.
But the best aromatic moments are at the Rialto Market, where your sense of smell will be stunned by a thousand fragrances: at the Fish Market you will smell the scent of the sea coming from the fish stalls, at the Herbaria that of herbs and fresh fruit, until you arrive in Calle dei Spezieri, where the good smells of spices dominate, bringing back memories to Terre d'Oriente, to the millenary luxury of the Serenissima, when she became the ruler of the seas and "dealer" of precious exotic aromas.
If you want your sense of smell to perceive more delicate fragrances, then reach the beaches of Lido, where the scent of the Adriatic sea and wet sand mixes with the Hollywood scent left by the passage of the stars who come to the Lagoon every year for the Film Festival: a dip in the salt water and the glossy world of stars.
Taste: sweet, salty, spritzante
Visiting Venice and not tasting it is a real sacrilege! From sweet to salty, from sweet and sour to spicy, from aperitif to dinner, ancient recipes, simple but with a strong personality, the result of contamination with peoples of distant lands that will enhance your palate: savor the Venetian cuisine is like coming into contact with its history, because the history of a city also passes through its gastronomy. A cuisine in which seafood and spices triumph, such as mantecato cod and sardines in saor, risotto with cuttlefish ink and bigoli in anchovy and onion sauce. But also the Venetian style liver, rice and bisis and artichokes. If you are in the mood for dessert, enjoy the biscuits with butter and spices, such as bussolà, zaeti and pevarini.
Venice means, however, especially the binomial bacari-cicchetti: if you have little time or for a break stop in a typical bacaro to make a good aperitif to the sound of cicchetti, small explosions of flavor, and spritz or shadows of wine. No, it is not a simple aperitif, but it means much more: it is to immerse yourself in the truest Venetian atmosphere, in an atmosphere of goliardia and welcome, of a felt past and a seductive present, getting lost in a real embrace between Venetians and strangers.
Heart: rhyming with sharing
Visit Venice indulging your senses, but never forget your heart: live the city emotionally, immerse yourself passionately in places and situations, embrace and love it, and take home a beautiful postcard of your own, printed in your mind and heart.
As I wrote at the beginning of this article, the life experience that has brought everyone together in recent months has changed the way we see things and approach people.
Starting over is right. But the restart won't be easy, still maybe everyone is trapped in fears, trapped in their own fears, which are the fears of everyone.
This condition creates an anomalous situation for Venice: a quiet city! In the immediate post-emergency you will still find a semi-deserted city, emptied by that uncontrolled mass of tourists who crowd it like ants. you will only hear the sound of your footsteps, the sweetness of Venetian words! an enjoy every space, every corner, every place, without queues, without human traffic jams, without endless waiting. You will find a city that is reflected only in itself, that has rediscovered itself wonderfully naked. You will discover a Venice we could say ancient, where the calli are populated by real Venetians, in the fields echo the voices of the children who play and return to own their city! Maybe it won't happen a second time. Take advantage! You have the chance to experience something unique!
This situation gives you the chance to get in touch with the truest part of the city, meet those who know it well and chat with those who live it every day: venetians. Let the Venetians guide you and accompany you during your stay, let them show you the best routes, tell you the best places to eat. Look for Venetians in the most authentic places, with a simple walk or maybe going shopping at the market or market: share your trip with them, in a sincere meeting of hearts, where beauty can dissolve the accumulated tensions and fears we shared.
Choose to nourish your heart for an experience that you will remember for a long time.
Choose the heart, for an unusual sharing.
The masks that we are forced to wear hide our smiles and expressions that we were used to show. But no mask can hide our looks. And then we learn to share our emotions and impressions with eye contact. It seems that it only takes a few seconds of crossed eyes to connect two people. After months of digital connections today we can go back to looking at each other live. We have distances to respect, it's true, but if we put our hearts into looking into each other's eyes to communicate it will certainly be no less fascinating!
Our eyes like a smile.