I was reading this book yesterday about Venice. It was a bit different as it described what was written on all the plaques around the city. You see, Venice doesnt have many statues or memorials to people (I imagine because of the lack of space), so instead, they put plaques up on buildings to commemorate events. And because I often wondered what they said (many are in Latin), I thought I would read this book.
Richard Wagner, the great composer, visited and died in Venice back in the late 1800's. He was given a plaque to commemorate his death on Feb 13, 1883. From his personal diary, he wrote:
"I arrived in Venice on the afternoon of 29 August (1858). On the journey to St Mark's Square along the Grand Canal, melancholy impressions, gloomy and reflective mood: grandeur, beauty and decline before ones eyes all at the same time. I was, on the other hand, comforted to realize that there is no sign of the prosperity of our times here, and therefore no vulgar commercialism. Piazza San Marco looked like a scene from a fairy tale. An absolutely faraway world from another age: everything in excellent harmony with my deisre for solitude. Nothing here seems to be in direct contact with real life; everything gives the objective impression of a work of art. I want to stay here--and I will stay....."
Richard, 150 years later and I couldn't have said it any better myself! Of course, some will argue the commercialism aspect has changed but Venice truly is still a fairy tale.
I was lucky enough to see an apartment in the throws of reconstruction yesterday. All the recent walls (by recent, I mean in the last 100 years), ceilings and facades were removed and what remained was the original brick from this 15th century palace. It was by far the most fascinating thing I have seen here. To view where a fireplace used to be, to notice the settled bricks making a curved pattern yet still structurally sound (all right, not completely sound), and to see the exposed beams and wood supports used in the original building is an eerie experience. I could almost hear the generations of people talking.
And if that wasn't a good enough day already, I sat down to watch a bit of TV and was lucky enough to stumble across some Warner Brothers cartoons. I got to see Bugs and Daffy and Sylvester and best of all Roadrunner and Coyote. What more could I ask for than to listen to the lisping 'sssssthuffering succotash' of Sylvester being spoken by an Italian. Or better, yet, Bugs saying, 'whats up doc' in Italian. The perfect end to a perfect day!