Some places have an aura. Call it a history, a feeling, what you will. But you know what I mean, don’t you? You kind of walk in and feel a thousand years wiser. It’s as if you can picture the story that the faded walls are telling you, you can hear the old peeling paint speak, the dusty glass windows and the creaky door that won’t quite shut – they all have a tale, and now you have become an intimate part of it. Venice is full of those places. It’s a city brimming with history. No one building is straight lines. No single floor isn’t crooked and cracked, where water has seeped up through the foundations and centuries of pounding footsteps have worn it away. I sort of think of it as a European expression of wabi sabi - not so much simplicity and minimalism, but perfect imperfection. That is what makes the city so beautiful.
It’s a comforting beauty, on a human scale. When you’re walking through an age old street, over paving stones first laid in the middle ages, and you’re carrying your shopping – it’s heavy and the bags feel like they’re about to break through the bottom. Then you look up to see a crooked gothic window, somehow that’s when it’s most beautiful. Or when you’re sitting in a coffee shop with a Palladian folly to your left, and you’re doing the crossword puzzle; oblivious to the building’s magnificence, the kind of architectural virtuosity that people travel across conteinnts for a mere glimpse of; yet somehow you’re invigorated by it. The crossword flows better because of it. These are the moments – when the mundane and the sublime collide. These are the moments like no others.