8 Days. In just 8 days I will be on my way to Roma, Italy. I am having a difficult time believing it is actually happening. I mean, after all these years, is it really and truly almost time to leave? Although the dream was of course, to visit Venice, that will be in 16 days. Maybe that’s why I can’t believe it is really happening. I have been so focused, obsessed really, with Venice, that in my mind I know I’ll soon be on my way to Rome. Rome hasn’t been part of the dream. Rome, as is Florence, are more of a by-product if you will of, ‘we’re going to be in Italy, might as well.’. While I have a feeling I am going to enjoy Florence more than Rome, I will, I’m sure have a good time in both. I am also convinced that I am in some way, still thinking it is just too good to be true! There is still a part of me that is afraid it is nothing more than a dream.
Venice. Venezia. City of Water, City of Masks, City of Bridges, The Floating City, City of Canals. Or any myriad of other names you may have for her, Venice, ah Venice, is what the dream has always been about. It is Venice that first spoke to me way back in 1972. It is Venice with the allure of her canals and dark streets (that I have since learned are called Calle, or Calli). It is Venice with mysterious shadows in said Calli that lured me to her. It is Venice, canals filled with romantic Gondola’s that beckon for me to take a ride. It is Venice with her Piazza San Marco enticing me with a chance romance were I to sit at a table long enough. It is Venice’s people talking loudly, with their hands in that passionate, sexy language rolling off their tongues. It is the handsome young men with their sly, yet playful smile that makes me swoon. Ah… yes, Venice you know you are a Temptress!
Venice is all of these things, and so much more. I cannot wait to experience all that her people have to teach me about living life in a much slower fashion and enjoying it rather than just getting through it; all that her food has to spoil me with so that when I return home, I will forever be longing for her bounty – olive oils! Pecorino Romano!, Parmigiano Reggiano! Limoncello! and so much more – will I ever be able to eat at and enjoy an Italian restaurant again? I cannot wait to experience all that she has to offer me. Or perhaps all of it is simply my romanticized version of all of these things? Have I watched the movie ‘Summertime’ one too many times?
I keep wondering, how can a place, an inanimate object, can consume me the way Venice has? The way all of Italy has? How do I fall in love with a place? For that matter, how do I speak of a place as something I am ‘in love with’? I don’t mean the common sentiment when we say, ‘I just love the beach’ or ‘I love to read a good book’. I mean actually being in love with, as though talking about a person?!? That’s insane isn’t it??? I’ve written about this before in my other posts and sometimes I wonder what people must think, that I have finally gone off the deep end? I have to say, at least in part, that it is because Venice is alive. It is all the things that I am longing to experience, the people, the customs, the traditions, the love of family, the way of life; it is all these things that I have written about here and in past posts, that Venice is to me as well as all of Italy. It is all of these things that makes her alive! How can it be any other way?!?
In reading other blogs by Italiophiles, and comments that are made by readers on these blogs, I see that I am absolutely not alone in how I feel. I am absolutely not alone in my passion. I am absolutely not alone in the emotion that comes over me when I think of anything Italy. I am absolutely not alone in being in love with all things Venice/Italy. If I have gone off the deep end? I am absolutely not alone in this either. I know that once I get to Italy, once all of this deep affection and passion is mine for the having, that I have actually lived it and breathed it for however short a time, that I will understand and truly know, what so many others before me already know.
I will know why people return over and over. I will know why it is said that there is no place like it on earth.
I will be able to say I have been, I have tasted, I have felt. Amore, that’s Venice. Or is it Venice, that’s amore? Does it matter? Is there a difference?
It simply cannot be a dream. It simply cannot be just a romanticized idea. Soon, very soon, I will be able to say without a doubt, ‘It is not a dream.’