Making reference to tourists pointing with umbrellas at Palazzo Mocinego, the narrator states:
“It assists more than the flaming advertisements of the curiosity shops in making of Venice an exhibition, a something to be seen, not felt.”
What is the difference between something that is seen and something that is felt? In this context, ‘seeing’ a place implies judgment, whether good or bad; a reaction caused solely by using one’s eyes or outer faculties. Approaching a place by ‘seeing’ it will limit that experience to either criticism or compliments. ‘Feeling’ implies introspection to get to what one is in fact feeling upon approaching a place. Approaching a place by ‘feeling’ it will open up possibilities for other thoughts. In this way, the space becomes a springboard or means of inspiration to get to something else, perhaps something about oneself.
I remember quite well the very first time I visited Venice and how I became aware of different parts of who I am, and what I value and enjoy. Perhaps this is what is meant by feeling Venice.
I am also reminded of the beginning of the movie Summertime in which Katharine Hepburn speaks to the owner of the hotel she will be staying in:
"I met a girl on the boat coming over…….[who] was coming to Europe to find something…..past seeing things and getting some culture….way back, way, way back in the back of her mind, was something she was looking for."
I am wondering if this difference between seeing and feeling Venice is something that will also be explored later in the book.