A Ten-Year Long Reflection on La Serenissima

This article was previously published in the special edition, VENICE (July 2019).

Let’s be honest, I barely remember that trip to Venice in October of 2009. I tell myself that it’s because it was a quick four-day holiday. I guess my family needed a few days to disconnect from the franticness of Rome. I do seem to have some sporadic photographic snippets of the city in my brain; although those might actually be more bodily feelings than actual memories. Upon reflection, I realize that these feelings have been formed through other unrelated experiences and have been masked as being from my nine-year-old self in Venice. In reality, that trip is a memory that I have constructed to fit in with the narrative that my family continuously recalls. The way I view and think about the city has drastically changed over these past ten years.

The one thing that excited me the most about this family trip was going on a gondola. I remember my pleas to my parents to fulfil my fantasy. I was desperate to go on this romanticized trip where a peculiarly dressed gondolier would guide the boat. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the exact trajectory that the gondolier took us on. Passing below the Ponte dei Sospiri is the only image that I have impressed in my mind. I was fascinated by its white simplicity and I could almost hear the sighs of the convicts. I realize now that I was amazed by how something so terrible could be made so beautifully and still remain harmoniously cohesive with the rest of the city.