My tiny apartment is perfect. It’s luminoso abbastanza and tranquil during the day, and off the main tourist drag, so I donâ€™t have murmering throngs streaming by non-stop (although the new, sleek, chic restaurant across the way is one of the few in the city open until 2a. Beato me…lucky me). I only wish there was a small terrace for plants and such. Piano, piano).
But the sound. All sounds, transported along by water, stone, plaster, and tile, with barely a shread of fabric anywhere to absorb any of them, are effectively endless…and make the confines of one living space and another seem very, well, indefinite.
I am such a sucker. One of Veniceâ€™s newest citizens (self-proclamed, of course), I go to every shop owner, the grocery, the internet cafÃ©, and tell them, “I just moved here. Isn’t that great?” Itâ€™s sounds a little less silly in Italian, but silly nonetheless. They all agree, itâ€™s great, and congratulate me heartily. Ti piace Venezia, sì? Venice is senza paragone, they say, in a class by itself. They complement me, and tell me it is to my credit that I have recognized this. Brava, brava..
On one spectacular day in May 2004, after coming and going to Italy continually for almost ten years, I was sitting with a small group of travelers on the Zattere at the waterside snack bar, al Chioschetto, enjoying a panino, limonsoda, and the visitors’ own fascination with this enchanting water-city.
I looked beyond them for a moment, down the expansive riva, with all its saunterers, servers, and scintillating conversationalists, to the shimmering Giudecca Canal that could barely contain the massive cruise liner being tugged out to the Adriatic, then up to a brilliant sun that’s at least partially responsible for the intoxicating luminescence of days like these. That was the moment I gave in, che ho ceduto, when I faced the undeniable realization that strolled up and sat itself in my lap. “These people are travelers,” I said to myself. “I live here. This is where I live.”
Oh, dear. Now what?