Yes, Venice has been visited before, and written about before. But I am not so jaded a traveler as to believe that a place is not worth visiting -- or writing about -- if it has already been "discovered" by others. I have tried that kind of travel before, as when I sought out abandoned Jesuit missions in northern Argentina, or found someone to take me to the Chilean altiplano to see the peaks of the high cordillera. There are thrills to be had in ordinary, plain-Jane travel as much as in those kinds of adventure, although they may be more exotic and breath-taking.
One doesn't have to visit Venice. One chooses to visit Venice and one visits Venice for pleasure -- as we did in these last few days -- not for duty. And so Venice became a city for just the two of us, for my husband and I, a breathless interlude between one Tuscan day and another -- Venice! There could not be a place in Italy more different from the Tuscan hill towns that we have frequented as of late, with their somber stone citadels overlooking olive groves and hay fields. Venice is baroque, extravagant, a wedding-cake of a metropolis, decadent and in decay.
Like Rio de Janeiro or Hong Kong, Venice is so spectacularly situated between land and sky that this would be enough to call attention to itself, even if Venice were not full of Medieval and Renaissance palaces, charming gondoliers, and hidden passageways. We spent our days divided between exploring the city on foot, and cruising the canals and ports of Venice and its neighboring islands by vaporetti, Venetian ferries. I cannot think of a more delightful way to spend a summer afternoon than to board a vaporetto and make one's way to Burano, Murano, and Torcello, the outer islands. This was our itinerary for one day and, despite getting a bad sunburn, I preferred the sea air and the sun to the city's many churches and museums, which run together in my memory.
I would return to Venice again, if it were possible for the same person to visit the same city twice (Heroclitus), but I suspect that Venice is better once-visited, as a young bride, than left for future comparisons, for who is to say that both the city and I won't be worse for the wear?