"I cleave the heavens, and soar to the infinite. What others see from afar, I leave far behind me." Giordano Bruno (1548 – February 17, 1600)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Venice - Serenissima - Ancient Seductress, Ancient Courtesan

 From the apartment: a view of the Spiral Steps over the roofs of Venice 
A view of a small side canal in Venice
Gondole and a view across the mouth of the Grand Canale to San Giorgio Maggiore
Photos taken in November 2009
We danced our youth in a dreamed-of city,
Venice, paradise, proud and pretty. 
We lived for love and lust and beauty, 
Pleasure then our only duty; 
Floating them twixt heaven and Earth 
And drank on plenty’s blessed mirth. 
We thought ourselves eternal then, 
Our glory sealed by God’s own pen. 
 But heav’n, we found is always frail, 
Against man’s fear will always fail. 
 Veronica Franco

Niccolò Paganini: Variations on the Carnival of Venice op. 10 (violinist Marco Fornaciari)

Venice, venerable, but ever enticing with shabby elegance, she beguiles her residents and visitors as much today as she has for preceding centuries. Under numerous aliases such as Serenissima, City of Light, City of Water, Queen of the Adriatic Sea, Dominante and City of Bridges, she continues to add to her countless lovers.  Few depart  without leaving a piece of their heart and a great desire to once more be embraced by that aged but never fading grace, to emerge themselves once more in her ever fragile gracefully shabby beauty. There is no other place on earth that has seduced so many and enchanted so many others. She has very few detractors. Yes, there are other great ancient cities, new modern cities and other places that catch their residents and visitors with a passion and devotion but Venice enchants and weaves a magic that surpasses all, for she is unique and irreplaceable. She is rightly called Dominante.

Queen of the Adriatic Sea, she rides the water, under threat but with a majesty suited to such a grand old dame.   Like the grand queen of cities that she is, she has been the subject of art, great literary works and music. Like a Grand Dame she gave “birth” to some well know women such as the controversial Veronica Franco, famed as a courtesan, cultured and a poet of the 16th century. Venice has inspired artists like Tintoretto, the gentleman of the Bellini family, most famous being Giovanni, and Titian.