Springtime in Venice
Venice Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
March 21st, 2005 – by: CurtWhita
My first impression of Venice was from the cabin of the vaporetti (waterbus) that was transporting the 16 members of UCâ€™s tour group from the airport to our lodgings at the Pensione Bucintoro.
Our hotel was located just off of the Grand Canal, a mere hop and skip away from the Arsenal. Each morning offered the same magnificent view that inspired great works of art by the likes of John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, and Frank Duveneck. On Sunday morning, this view was accompanied by sounds of an entire chorus of church bells which seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once.
Contemporary Venice is particularly fascinating in that it has become almost completely modernized, but not at the expense of the cityâ€™s physical and cultural touchstones. Venice remains Europeâ€™s largest car-free area, a fact aided and abetted by the complex system of canals that wind their way through the city. All travel is conducted either on foot or by boat. The system of waterbuses, in particular, makes travel quick and efficient within the city, despite the lack of cars and bikes.
Study tours prove to be such unique opportunities in large part because of the personalities that make up the group. Our particular group was lucky enough to have John Drury as our guide. A frequent visitor to Venice, John has toured the city extensively and has captured a great number of his previous Venetian experiences in several books of poetry. John was on intimate terms with virtually every aspect of the city. His knowledge and insight proved to be the heart and soul of the tour.
Iâ€™m not sure what kind of dream Venice was for Proust. For me, it was a dream of canary yellow and mint green plaster, a sherbet colored cityscape dreamily reflected by the canals in almost every direction. The city and its mystique have inspired countless works of art through the centuries. There is little wonder why Venice continues to capture the imagination of millions. I think it is safe to say that its mystique has captured 16 others!
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