Here are a couple first impressions of Venice, with writing that lifts my heart. Just wanted to share.
“I took a water-bus from the Lido to Venice proper, and approaching this city in the sea, glittering in brilliant sunshine, and I began to goggle, trembling a little, feeling a physical thrill and unease, in the presence of such beauty, an exaltation amounting almost to fear.
Venice is magic, the loveliest city in the world, because it has entirely displaced its island with palaces and villas and churches. It is man-made, but a work of genius, sparkling in its own lagoon, floating on its dreamy reflection, with the shapeliest bridges and the last perfect skyline on earth: just domes and spires and tiled roofs. It is one color, the mellowest stone. There is no sign of land, no earth at all, only water traffic and canals. Everyone knows this, and yet no one is prepared for it, and so the enchantment is overwhelming. The fear you feel is the fear of being bewitched and helpless. Its visitors gape at it, speechless with admiration, hardly believing such splendor can shine forth from such slimy stones.” (219) From The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux
“After Mestre I put my book away and just watched as blocks of flats gave way to oil refineries on the right, and to mud and river on the left, and then as both these gave way to the lagoon, and almost rippleless expanse of olive-oil green, hazing away to gray on the horizon. It must have been two years since I last enjoyed this spectacle, this unparalleled sense of arrival. And as I came out of the station with my rucksack on my back and saw the Grand Canal there in front of me, I asked myself that corny question, why should this saddest of cities have the power to lift the heart so?” (68) From Every Picture Tells a Story by Gregory Dowling
Good old John Ruskin does not disappoint on the “arriving in Venice front: ”
Thank God I am here! It is the Paradise of cities and there is moon enough to make herself the sanities of earth lunatic, striking its pure flashes of light against the grey water before the window; and I am happier than I have been these five years . . . . I feel fresh and young when my foot is on these pavements.”