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Visiting Venice

Changing and plural, an iridescent and translucent waterlily city floating in her own image, Venice can just as well appear to be a figment of the imagination. In her desire to seduce she aims to be seen as a mirror, to trick the eye, as well as the senses of smell or hearing. Not only through reflection, but also through the snare of the mask: she no longer appears caressed by light, but sketched, outlined and frozen.

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She unfolds the ornate, festooned screens of her palaces, which, like curtains at the opera, entice you to go and see if the wings hold as much promise as the front of the stage. Such is the classic and perverse invitation of the mask. Venice, being a theatre for actor-spectators and spectator-actors, is the very scene of desire, of expectation and of the search for an immutable and forever-lost past. She played at being theatrical, especially during the eighteenth century, like no other city before or after her has ever done. She is still playing this role today, for outsiders and for insiders. For both are of equal importance. The outside matches the inside, as does the exact replica of her silhouette in her aquatic reflection. All who visit Venice or who live there are conscious protagonists in this game of appearances. At times Venice looks flat, as though printed onto a surface, like a stiff stage make-up of the No Theatre, or a simple, traditional carnival bauta (a mask traditionally worn for the Carnival of Venice). A screen certainly, but one which serves no purpose other than to hide its true self. Venice: a double-depth drawer, a “have-you-seen-me” mask.

VIVA VENICE! Everything seems to have been said, written, analyzed, itemized, in this incredible city. Nevertheless, the reasons for her irresistible attraction remain, happily, a mystery. Everybody has experienced this. If you leave for Venice ill at ease with yourself, you will feel excruciatingly desperate there. But if you go there full of joie de vivre, you will enjoy everything as you never have before and never will again.

VIVA VENICE! Everything seems to have been said, written, analyzed, itemized, in this incredible city. Nevertheless, the reasons for her irresistible attraction remain, happily, a mystery. Everybody has experienced this. If you leave for Venice ill at ease with yourself, you will feel excruciatingly desperate there. But if you go there full of joie de vivre, you will enjoy everything as you never have before and never will again.

Outside, in the calli (narrow streets) and the campi (squares), you are often gripped by the strange sensation that you are inside in a corridor or in a drawing room. And inside, everything has been made so that one has the same incongruous impression, of being outside, in the clouds, amongst the leaves. Imprisoned on its sterile stone island, this city will always harbor a nostalgic hankering for the countryside. She will always be obsessed by Nature, the sky and, of course, the sea, but also the country, its grass, its flowers, its birds, and all that is living. Forever in pursuit of this chlorophyll dream, she makes it come true at the countless parties, celebrations, carnivals and regattas, just as much as on the walls, ceilings and the ground.