There are some cities you step into where every cliché you have ever heard rings true. Venice is one of those cities, so detailed in the common consciousness that to visit is to only make real a dream you’ve already lived.
The Italians know a thing or two about style and, despite it’s antiquity, everything in the city felt meticulously put together. From immaculate suits to the Renaissance architecture, beauty was everywhere – even if we were slow to appreciate it: sweaty and hungry as we were, unable to find a supermarket in the warren of canals (I just wanted some cheap bread – and who could blame me?! I wasn’t paying 5 Euro for a single slice of pizza, that much was certain).
These canals bend around what little land remains of Venice’s 118 islands. The city is a World Heritage Site but nature pays little heed to the decrees of UNESCO and Venice is regularly plagued by floods – the sad result of subsidence, rising sea levels, and its low orientation. Works are underway to ameliorate this and it’ll be a few years yet before the cruise ship hordes are forced to give up exploring the historic cityscape on foot.
And if the city itself wasn’t enchanting enough, we were there in time for the Architectural Biennale (with what felt like every person who has ever been on a cruise ship – but such are the problems associated with visiting a city whose beauty speaks to the world as one).
The theme of the Biennale was “Common Ground”. The various exhibitions contained a number of different approaches – most of which went over my head, lost in an avalanche of information. In lieu of analysis here is a brief selection of photos, with credit where I noted it – apologies to anyone I missed.