While at Café Florian, the narrator meets with an acquaintance, Miss Romney. Regarding Venice, she says to him, “But Mr. Burden, is it not awfully-er-dirty?”
My thoughts go back to a time when, discussing our mutual travels in Italy, an acquaintance once described Venice as being “insipid” and unclean. Indeed, Venice is not for everyone. Just like dust shows up in the homes of our own lives, so in this city there are places that are not polished perfect, and neat and orderly. I don’t see this as a shortcoming. I like seeing spalling stone, and peeling paint. This reminds us that the city is an ongoing living thing with evolving needs. I like that here, you can be in the midst of monumentality and world renown and then simply choose another direction. A direction that will lead you to a place not originally intended as a destination. A narrow alley, perhaps a dead end that is not as openly inviting and, in that way, draws your curiosity. I like seeing drying laundry hung on a clothesline outside a home. I like knowing that everyday life happens here, amidst the tourism and crowds and that when Piazza San Marco begins to empty out at night, life continues elsewhere. I like knowing that when I leave and return at another time, things won’t be exactly the same. I like the unexpected, being pleasantly surprised, appreciating beauty in many different types of places be it the ordinary or the world renowned, and for this and many other reasons, I love the city that is Venice.