Chapter 1, "An Evening in Venice"
• Count Girolamo Marcello tells the narrator that in Venice, everyone is acting; everyone is playing a role.
• Marcello insists that unlike other cities, that follow the rhythm of the wheel, Venice follows the rhythm of the sea, and the tide changes every six hours. High water is tense, low water is relaxed.
• Continuing, Marcello says that others see a bridge as an obstacle, but Venetians see bridges as a transition, like a transition between two acts of a play, and that their roles change as they cross the bridge.
• Macello says that an oil painting is reality once removed, and that the sunlight, reflecting off the canal through a window off the ceiling to a vase and off the vase onto a silver bowl is reality many times removed. Which is the real sunlight? He says it's not easy to discern the truth...
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