It is my second time in Venice
. The first was in springtime. I remember the sun setting while I watched on the Rialto Bridge
. The water turned amber and the cameras whirred like crazy. This time, Venice
was aqua alta. The high tide was lapping against the foundations of the city, seeping into St Mark’s square. A lot of the buildings were shut tight, either abandoned or closed until the high season. Venice
in winter is enchantingly spooky. In the drizzle, the grand old houses at the edges of the canals look like they are crumbling into the water, their paintwork peeling, the brickwork showing through. Piazzas are slick with rain and empty of people. It is Venice
without its mask. Winter shows it for it really is - a city, slowly sinking, aging with undisputed grace but sad resignation. Its grandeur is faded, like Miss Haversham in her mansion, wrapped in a slightly tattered lace shawl. It felt like time was leaving Venice
Treviso is called “Little Venice” by the locals due to the striking similarity of its canals, bridges and houses to Venice
itself, only twenty minutes away by train. Indeed, a pocket of the city feels like Venice
if it were newer, cleaner, and not so prone to sinking into the canal mud. If Venice is a winged lion then Treviso is a pampered Siamese house cat.
The patron saint of Padua, Italy is St. Anthony. He is also the saint you pray to when you’re missing something as he will help you find it. I need St Anthony. I am prodigious at losing essential things like keys, wallets, and phones. While I sat in a cramped Italian café, perched on a stool, drinking strong Italian coffee, the snow started to fall outside. The city was empty. Everyone was huddled inside. I realised I’d never seen snow fall till that moment.
NEXT STOP: France! See you there. Arrivederci, Italia.