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Much like anyone who would dare live the life of a fulltime artist, or anyone who would have the guts to rest his or her livelihood purely upon “the eyes of the beholder,” the City of Venice, more than anything else, is bold.
From above and from a distance, it dons an unabashed sense of flamboyance. It crowns itself with churches, palaces and random steeples. It bedecks its buildings with luxurious details and lights bright but not blinding. Up close, it breathes a palpable air of whimsy—you can see it in the people; you can feel it the streets. Venice, after all, is not a place that simply tests the waters; it lives in it. There is hardly any room for the half-hearted here.
Located in the northeastern side of Italy, Venice, which serves as the capital of the country’s Veneto Region, sprawls over 118 islands. It is dissected by canals, connected by bridges and ultimately unified by an audacious celebration of unfettered beauty. People have said repeatedly that Venice is sinking and they’ve been saying that even before the 1900s. New reports even give credence to that claim. But the way of life here makes such a notion seem like it’s literally water under a bridge.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the city served as a prominent maritime power. It also became a relevant commercial area. But ever since the 13th century, the city has been known as a stronghold of the arts, and this is something it has embraced for years.
Enter one of its alleyways—perhaps a detailed stretch lined with windows and walls elegantly decaying—and you’re bound to encounter a work of art. You might hear it from some random corner, flowing masterfully from the instrument of a musician living off of its vibrant streets. You might even smell it, wafting from a window or two, from a dish being whipped up somewhere nearby. Most likely, you will see it in the crafts, in the paintings or in whatever it is that Venetians are constantly making with their hands.
Spend a day touring the city and it will become clear: creation is a way of life here and the city is far from done living even as it continues to age with nothing short of grace.