Venice, the Sinking City 🇮🇹


If I were to define "beauty" and "enigma" in as brief as one word, I would choose "Venice." The sinking city of Adriatic Sea is neither grand nor pretentious; its pulchritude is derived from the dramatic blend between art and nature. Despite centuries of obstacles dealing with rising tides, it emerged victorious as "the most beautiful city built by man" according to New York Times.



In this post, I will share what the most beautiful day of my life was like. September 5th, 2023 was the day I decided to be more serious with work so I could travel more. That day opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that hard work could bring. 

My European Tour this year reached its most impeccable form on September 5th, and I will remember Venice as the most beautiful city I have ever been to. It truly deserves all acclamations the world has given it, and my eyes have seen it all...

En Route to Venice via Milan


Milano Centrale, Milan's main train station

At this point, we're still staying at Arles Hotel in suburban Milan. We walked a few steps to reach the subway station, which then led us to the Milano Centrale.

Inaugurated in 1931, Milano Centrale was an impressive mix of architectural styles, mainly Art Nouveau and Art Deco. It resonates Gotham City vibes, as though Batman's just lurking around.


Milano Centrale

But more than the style, Milano Centrale was organized. Announcements of arrivals and departures were posted on the billboards. The only inconvenient part were the stairs and the fact that sometimes the trains are delayed by few hours. But otherwise, it was a pretty decent train station.

Like Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milano Centrale took advantage of sunlight, which permeated dramatically into every corner of the building.


Inside Italo.


At the station, we booked tickets through Italo, which is one of the more comfortable but pricier trains in Italy. Inside were enough space for lounging --- there's enough leg room for even the tallest persons in the world.


A jet ski in the middle of Adriatic Sea.


In about one or two hours, we saw the vast expanse of the ocean, signaling that our destination was near. And then we saw jet skis moving at high speed like there's no tomorrow. In a little more while, we saw clusters of old, Renaissance buildings in pastel hues. Venice is here, and we're about to see for ourselves what the most romantic city in the world was actually like.


My aunt, Mama Sarah, was totally excited.


On other occasions, I wouldn't be excited about murky bodies of water, whether inland or otherwise, but Adriatic Sea has some kind of vibe that excites my senses. At that point, I still didn't know what it was but I could tell that I will see something outrageous.


Myself, with the first glimpse of Venice.


The Sinking City, Finally




As we walked out of the train, we didn't see the city immediately, for there were many tourists, and the light and view were partially concealed. There was some form of momentous anticipation, as if the view of the city was revealed bit by bit, step after step, like saccharine music gradually turning into jazz.




And then, all the tourists walked away. I could finally see the grand canal. The sky was full indigo; there were no clouds at all. It was eleven in the morning and the sun was up. It was the first hot day of our entire vacation. I had to google the climate of Venice, and I found out that it's "humid subtropical." It makes sense. That moment felt like a beach getaway in tropical Philippines. September 5th was still part of summer in this part of the world, after all.




The greenish hues of the canals dramatically blend with the sophisticated styles of the buildings. No wonder, Venice has been rated as one of the most beautiful and most romantic cities in the entire world, and the fact that it is sinking, makes it even more intriguing and mystifying. 




Being a city of one hundred islands linked together by four hundred bridges, Venice is the only city of its kind that I've ever been to. This unique feature makes it the most memorable. As I love unique things, its very essence easily makes it my favorite. But uniqueness aside, it's easy on the eye, dreamy, and surreal, literally transporting one back to Renaissance Era.






The Venetian Lagoon, where the city is located, can be seen at every corner. Sometimes, when you look over a bridge, you will see rows of pastel buildings aligned uniformly and equidistantly. There's both order and harmony everywhere. 




Aside from the city's artistic flair, there's history everywhere. Most of the buildings and houses were centuries-old. Just imagine the careful and judicious efforts - both legal and financial - to preserve these ancient buildings. The Philippines must adopt their best practices!




As if those were not enough, Venetian locals had the audacity to decorate their houses with blooming flowers, making the views even more romantic.




As have been for centuries, the main modes of transportation in Venice are by foot and by water. We didn't see taxis, buses, or even horse-drawn carriages. What we saw were boats. And of course, Venice wouldn't be Venice without gondolas.






However, due to time constraints, we're no longer able to ride the gondolas. The locals sleep at mid-day and wake up late in the afternoon. We were there around lunchtime, and by the time the gondolas were ready for hitching, we only had few remaining moments to enjoy the city. No more time, but there's always a next time. :)


Good, old gondolas.


One of the main tourist attractions of Venice was the Rialto Bridge. By itself, there's nothing spectacular about the Rialto Bridge, and I struggle at coming up with anything to write about it. But the views around - the grand canal and the surrounding buildings - perfectly blend with its classical look.


My sister taking photographs while standing on Rialto Bridge.


The radiant indigo sky makes the whiteness of the classical bridge look ethereal. Every picture evokes immense emotions and timeless memories. It was midday; I wonder how it looks if it were dusk or dawn.


The Rialto Bridge


The Church of the Scalzi (Barefooted Nuns)




We were supposed to head to St. Mark's Basilica, but we ran out of time. To make up for the remaining moments of the trip, we decided to take a look inside the church nearby. My sister thought it was just some random church. Well, we didn't know that it contains some of the most dramatic frescoes we have ever seen.


                    


This magnificent landmark's name is "Church of the Scalzi." It was built after the behest of Discalced Carmelites, also known as the barefooted nuns. "Scalzi," after all, means "barefoot."




The facade was late Baroque style completed in the 17th Century, but the interiors were adorned with Rococo art and architecture in the 18th Century. The artists tinkered with the contrasts between "luminescent" and "dark" gracefully and seamlessly. You wouldn't notice the details as everything blended so well, you would only look at the interiors holistically.




What my sister thought was just some random church turned out to be a masterpiece within the masterpiece that we've all fallen in love with, that is, Venice, of course. And, there I say, Venice was truly outrageous in every sense. I'm glad and thankful that this trip has taken place.




The pictures do not give justice to the church's indescribable beauty. No matter how sweet-sounding my words already are, they will never be enough to define how impressed I am with the church's architecture. Ethereal, sublime, divine, I will utter them all, but they'd still sound some random ramblings that do not make sense at all. I guess I have to be contented that there really are things whose beauty are simply indescribable.




Every bit of space was used, every corner beautified. Nothing was taken for granted, even the use of sunlight was taken advantage of. To think that this church was constructed out of the behest of the Carmelite nuns, you would expect that it would all be done in haste, yet everything was done perfectly, flawlessly, gracefully. It wasn't just perfect, it exceeded everyone's highest of high standards.




I am in awe with the kind of imaginations architects of long ago had. There was no internet or google then, yet they were able to create this one-of-a-kind masterpiece? Was it pure hard work, or some playful creativity? Was there some stern discipline behind all these or was there liberty or freedom to explore it all? I wonder, did they blend both, applying one on certain occasions, then the other for the rest? Unbelievable.



I could only imagine, maybe dream about it tonight. The heavens may or may not reveal them to me in my dreams, but one thing's for certain, I will never be able to match the architects' prowess. I salute them for bringing this church to life, and for making people all over the world happy for sharing their God-given talent.



Our eyes feasted on every corner of the church, but somehow, we had to bid goodbye. We were glad that, even though we failed to see St. Mark's Basilica in person, we were surprised with the interiors of Scalzi. Maybe St. Mark's Basilica is meant for another time. This will not be the last.


To Be Posted Soon...




Lake Como!














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