Italy road trip: A musing morning in Venice
Upon sitting down on the red marble bench beneath the Campanile de San Marco, my bright white sneakers are nearly engulfed by Venice's patron saint: the pigeon. Classical music rings from the stone arcade that borders the piazza, then turns right and stretches south along the Grand Canal. Varying accents waft through the chilled November air that hangs above the basilica, where a row of tourists wait to marvel in the religious monument's interior.
Venice is abuzz this Friday morning with what I assume are mostly visitors. Throngs of unsuspecting foreigners cross the city's 400 bridges, seven of which we crossed this morning en route from our quiet Jewish Ghetto apartment to this impertinent San Marco's Square.
Boats make their morning deliveries of food and wine (but mostly wine) to local merchants while other gondoliers recline in their vessels, enjoying a cigarette before the day of tourist-schlepping begins.
Coming from a just-as-busy city where the visitors seem to overtake the local population, I am reminded that tourist destinations possess such classifications for a few clear reasons: uniqueness, unrivalled beauty, and perhaps providing visitors the urge to daydream about moving there one day. But after living in such locales for the better part of a decade, I now prefer a place where the pigeons outnumber the people.