Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Venice: City of Romance (in the Imagination)

Except it isn't really.

In reality, Venice is apparently full of pollution. It smells. And it's sinking. And it's overloaded with tourists.

I've always had a soft spot for Venice, mostly because I love water-related worlds. And I also get a kick out of its history. When the Fourth Crusaders showed up in the thirteenth century, Venice went along with the political decision to sack Constantinople entirely out of self-interest. It was a business-oriented viewpoint and explains much of the Venetian way of life up through the Renaissance (and possibly even now).

When I researched Venice for my rewrite of The Merchant of Venice--which never entirely took off--I learned that the treatment of Jews in Venice was not altogether positive (there was a Jewish "ghetto") but tentatively better than elsewhere in Europe.

In many ways, business is far more moral than "principles."

To see the romantic vision of Venice, the Venice that sits in the imagination if not in reality, watch the remarkable Bread & Tulips.The story of a woman who walks away from an unsatisfactory life, it shows Venice at its best: all the idiosyncratic hidden walkways, friendly stores, and remarkable views. The movie is sun-filled and thoughtful and quite witty. It is what Venice should always be--imaginatively.