Venice is not a superficial city to be summed up in one sentece. It is not the city of millions of tourists in shorts and sandals shuffling their feet, neither is it the city of Carnival or of holiday cruisers. It is a complex city, bound and formed by its history, by the tides, by nostalgia, by its troubles and by all the lives that it has attracted and made its own.
To understand it a little one must live it, read it, visit it, love it and hate it. It is a universe, a collection of experiences which are not to be found anywhere else, where every detail is perfectly organized according to the habits and customs of past centuries.
To see the chaos of Venice simply in terms of the tourists who throng its alleways and the results of mass tourism is an example of how we today insist one analysing everything superficially and vaguely.
When examined in deph, Venice is in fact a very ordered city structured over the centuries on an optimum interaction between its ecosystem and its economic and social needs.
We are too ready to impose the characteristics of our time on to any reality, thus creating in the minds of many of us a vision of chaos in this city. It is our own frenzy, our insatiable voracity for experience which drives us to analyse everything short – sightedly and casually.
We are therefore unable to read and appreciate this extraordinary labyrinth of water and land which is Venice. We cannot grasp the fundamental balance on which it is founded and so take refuge in narrow and reductive analyses.
The Venetian chaos becomes therefore a metaphor for our own times, for our unwillingness to understand and for our inattention. And yet it can become a new point of departure for the exercise in our ability to see clearly.
As Brodskij wrote on Venice in “Fondamenta degli incurabili”: “There is nothing for it but to read and wander around – two things which amount to the same thing – because at night these alleways of stone are like the walkways between the shelves of an immense forgotten library and are equally as quiet”.