A Wanderer in Venice eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about A Wanderer in Venice.

The Tempest. From the Painting by Giorgione in the Giovanelli
Palace " 288
    From a Photograph by Naya.

Altar-piece.  By Giorgione at Castel Franco " 296
    From a Photograph by Naya.

A WANDERER IN VENICE

CHAPTER I

THE BRIDE OF THE ADRIATIC

The best approach to Venice—­Chioggia—­A first view—­Another water approach—­Padua and Fusina—­The railway station—­A complete transformation—­A Venetian guide-book—­A city of a dream.

I have no doubt whatever that, if the diversion can be arranged, the perfect way for the railway traveller to approach Venice for the first time is from Chioggia, in the afternoon.

Chioggia is at the end of a line from Rovigo, and it ought not to be difficult to get there either overnight or in the morning.  If overnight, one would spend some very delightful hours in drifting about Chioggia itself, which is a kind of foretaste of Venice, although not like enough to her to impair the surprise. (But nothing can do that.  Not all the books or photographs in the world, not Turner, nor Whistler, nor Clara Montalba, can so familiarize the stranger with the idea of Venice that the reality of Venice fails to be sudden and arresting.  Venice is so peculiarly herself, so exotic and unbelievable, that so far from ever being ready for her, even her residents, returning, can never be fully prepared.)

But to resume—­Chioggia is the end of all things.  The train stops at the station because there is no future for it; the road to the steamer stops at the pier because otherwise it would run into the water.  Standing there, looking north, one sees nothing but the still, land-locked lagoon with red and umber and orange-sailed fishing-boats, and tiny islands here and there.  But only ten miles away, due north, is Venice.  And a steamer leaves several times a day to take you there, gently and loiteringly, in the Venetian manner, in two hours, with pauses at odd little places en route.  And that is the way to enter Venice, because not only do you approach her by sea, as is right, Venice being the bride of the sea not merely by poetical tradition but as a solemn and wonderful fact, but you see her from afar, and gradually more and more is disclosed, and your first near view, sudden and complete as you skirt the island of S. Giorgio Maggiore, has all the most desired ingredients:  the Campanile of S. Marco, S. Marco’s domes, the Doges’ Palace, S. Theodore on one column and the Lion on the other, the Custom House, S. Maria della Salute, the blue Merceria clock, all the business of the Riva, and a gondola under your very prow.

That is why one should come to Venice from Chioggia.

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A Wanderer in Venice from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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