Poets have been drawn to Venice for centuries; or perhaps, there is something in the written word that is more adapt to expressing the complex nature of a unique city like Venice. However, having said this, some even without ever having stepped foot in the city have been inspired to dream about it. It is certainly a unique muse and
But now looking back, the sheer quantatiy of prose that have been written about the ‘winding streets’ are enough to string together a collage like article of other peoples words. And whilst these may echo my own sentiments in some form or another, there is always more to say.
What is interesting is how similar and yet different their obseravations are. Hundreds may write about the same light, the same corner or the same bell tower, but their reflections are always slightly different and their style of wrinting moves you in unique way. Some have found comfort, love and inspiration in the ‘swan like city’, whilst others have found depression, loneliness, and darkness. But by reading just a few before your arrival to Venice, you can begin to build a wonderful tapestry like guide.
It is a guide that can give you precious insights into not only the history but the emotions of those who have trodden Venice’s streets ahead of you. And although you will not find the opening times of the latest exhibitions, you will discover the depth of real emotion that the city has inspired in some of the best known writters or all time, aswel as some lesser known but equally brilliant.
“If I had to find a word which replaces “music”, I could only think of the word Venice”
“Sunset: bitter orange and almond milk”
Byron, Pushkin, Shelley, Wilde, Goethe, Browning, Pound, Cocteau, Symons, Gautier and Hemingway.
However, there are so many noteworthy writers that you will never tire of reading and seeing Venice through the eyes of another. If you have to pick one particularly interesting character perhaps it is worth reading more about Veronica Franco. A high-class courtesan, probably the most distinguished in Venetian History. Her freedom and education meant that she not only charmed her guests, but also became well known for her intelligent writing.
Here is an extract of her writing in Italian.
Veronica Franco Si ringraziano la Prof.ssa Vittoria Caso e gli studenti della IV classe, a.s. 1999-2000, dell’ITC “Andrea Torrente” di Casoria per aver realizzato l’edizione elettronica del testo.
Dall’incipit del libro:
S’io v’amo al par de la mia propria vita
donna crudel, e voi perché non date
in tanto amor al mio tormento aita?
E se invano mercé chieggio e pietate,
perch’almen con la morte quelle pene,
ch’io soffro per amarvi, non troncate?
So che remunerar non si conviene
mia fé cosí; ma quel mal, che ripara
a un maggior mal, vien riputato bene
piú d’ogni morte è la mia doglia amara,
e morir di man vostra, in questo stato,
grazia mi fia desiderata e cara.
Ma com’esser può mai che, dentro al lato
molle, il bianco gentil vostro bel petto
chiuda sí duro cor e sí spietato?
Com’esser può che quel leggiadro aspetto
voglie e pensier cosí crudi ricopra,
che ‘l servir umil prendano in dispetto?
“The rain of Venice is a delight. Only the foreigners hope for the sun”.