I keep thinking of those paintings in that one room- Room 10 in the Accademia. The room with the Feast, the Miracles of St. Mark, and the Pietà. The sense of mystery that envelops them, the depicted world of pageantry and enjoyment that still shares its existence with flying figures, ghostly buildings and apparitions of living and dead together. This depicted world that culminates with the sense of loss and decay, as unseen people are warded off from a sacred vision and sacred space while the flame is carried away. These aspects of the paintings run parallel to my remembered world of Venice that contains these things, and so much more.
The sense of loss is palpable in Venice. It’s there with the lapping of the waves against the stones, the fog that obstructs the view, the eroding of steps over the waters of a canal that slowly takes over the constructed world built on pylons. But the sense of loss is personal also. I have never been to any other place where leaving you feel like you are embarking from Cythera. But that is just another part of its beauty.
So, when I leave, as I take the vaporetto around the islands to go back to the train station, I find myself saying one thousand good byes. Good bye to Santa Maria della Salute, good-bye to the steps on that bridge over a small canal, good bye to the people waiting for the vaporetto to take them in the opposite direction, good bye to the fog down the canal moving away from me, good bye to the lapping of the waves, good bye, good bye, good bye.
This summer I have another chance to visit Venice. Another chance to purposely get lost; to try some food I know I can’t get anywhere else; to find a real insider’s bacaro; to see a painting I haven’t seen before (very easy); to buy a special gift; to see Venice for the first time- again.