|The setting sun yesterday in a hazy sky above the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore|
...you try to appreciate each hour of them if you're a resident.
I mean, who could have imagined just 10 days ago that at, say, high noon, there would be no line to get into the basilica of San Marco? That you could take the main thoroughfare connecting Piazza San Marco to the Rialto, the Merceria, and not once find your path blocked by at least one head-phoned tour group of 75 folks lumbering along at a Zombie Apocalypse pace? That in the late afternoon you wouldn't have to thread your way through a mass of at least 1,000 day-trippers filling the Riva degli Schiavoni, all waiting for their various lancioni, or shuttle boats, to return them to their tour buses?
That, in short, you might not feel obliged to avoid the historic center at all costs?
Now that the Biennale has closed, and in these weeks before Christmas, the city is almost unrecognizable--in the best way imaginable. It feels as if the city itself has finally been freed from a very long and very intense migraine: its face no longer distorted by the usual stress, its breath finally coming easily. It's marvelous.
It won't last.
The marketers have cooked up their brand new New Year's "tradition"--it's all of about 2 years old, I believe--of "A Kiss at Midnight in Piazza San Marco" and the hoards will come and basically ransack the place, scaling the facade of the Palazzo Ducale in order to take "selfies" and leaving behind their trash and bodily waste. Perhaps our grandstanding mayor, Brugnaro (who recently offered Venice as the site of an international anti-terrorist summit between Obama and Putin--only to be completely ignored), will even extend the hours of the bars for the night as he did on Redentore.
But why get ahead of myself? Venice seems for these few weeks to belong temporarily to its residents. This is something to savor.
|These are not actual "mordi e fuggi" (or bite and run) tourists being removed from Venice yesterday, but some figures from the Chinese artist Lio Ruo Wang's Venice Biennale installation in the former convent of San Salvador|
|Fewer crowds mean the chance to notice details you've missed for years--such as these seasonal ones--though they're located in obvious places|