Love in Venice

From the book WOMEN

By Belisario Righi

Venice - La Giudecca

I have been to Venice no more than four or five times and always in a hurry, for a visit to some friends, a dinner at Harry's bar or a visit to the casino. Of its many museums, Palazzo Grassi is the only one I have entered, to admire a wonderful exhibition of modern painting. Venice has always been off my travel routes. In Veneto, excluding Cortina d'Ampezzo, I went a few times. Passing in the vicinity of Venice, I rarely made a detour to the lagoon, and always for a short visit. When you travel, you are in a hurry, but in Venice, haste is out of place. A city out of time, as such it requires special attention that I have never been able to grant it. In Cortina, in a summer in late August, I unexpectedly found Costanza, a school friend of my sister's who I hadn't seen for some time. Although I went regularly to Rome, where she lived, we had different friendships and never met. We had known each other for a few years and finding ourselves on vacation, we started dating. We had a good time together. Randomness, which had already extended its hand to us and made us meet, was still favorable to us. Our holidays ended on the same day, the last Saturday in August, and since she was without a car, I offered her a ride on mine for the return trip. The evening before departure, we went to sleep at dawn and the next day we were unable to travel before noon. Up to Padua, in the absence of the motorway that was later built, one had to take the state road that wound through many small villages, very close to each other. We were constantly forced to slow down, and if in addition to this we had the misfortune of running into a queue, we had to wait a long time before we could regain speed and resume the journey smoothly, and either because we left late in the morning, or because there was a mass return from holidays, at two we were still in Vittorio Veneto, where the traffic even seemed to have grown. The advanced hour and a certain appetite led us to stop at the first restaurant we met. Refreshed by breakfast, we resumed our journey at three o'clock. The traffic had not thinned out at all and on the road we encountered more cars than in the morning, so much so that at five we had not yet reached the highway that was supposed to lead us to Rome, but by now, we had reached Venice so why not stop?

We could have granted one more day together, before getting back into the worries of work. After all, we were on vacation and one more day, a small respite, who would it hurt? The next morning, we would leave early. The schedule would have been only half a day late. Costanza confessed to me that she had never been there and, having no urgent commitments, she was enthusiastic to stop. For my part, I didn't have any cards to stamp. We entered Venice. In piazzale Roma, leaving the car in a garage, with the bare necessities for the night, we boarded a vaporetto full of tourists. During that very short cruise, seeing the sumptuous palaces of the city pass along the banks of the Grand Canal, the sight of that magnificence filled my heart with beauty. Venice flowed in front of me, letting me experience the ancient glories of regattas with the eyes of the imagination, of which I was aware of through the canvases of Canaletto and Guardi.

The charm of those splendid architectural factories was so touching as to make me excited and the proximity of Costanza, with her hair ruffled by the sea breeze and the amazement in her beautiful eyes, made that moment even more satisfying. The search for a hotel, even if at the end of August, was not going to be an easy task, but I wasn't looking for just any hotel. A few years ago, I had been a guest at the Danieli hotel, very elegant, with a splendid view of the sea. I had good memories of it and wanted to go back. The hotel, on the Riva degli Schiavoni, the landing point of the vaporetto, did not disappoint my memories and appeared as beautiful to me as it was then. My partner deserved a suitable setting for her first time in Venice and I wanted to give her this gift. I managed to find a place. The partially renovated hotel had an old wing and a completely modernized one. It doesn't occur to me in which of the two we took the room, but I have well impressed in my memory the view of the Giudecca which, opening the bedroom window, appeared shining with the dazzling whiteness of the ivory marbles of the Church of the Redentore. The journey had exhausted both of us and the presence of a huge double bed made us feel even more tired.

Without taking off our clothes, we let ourselves fall on the bed for a short and restorative rest that eased the weariness of the journey. An invigorating shower definitively removed the residues of fatigue from our bodies, infusing you with new energy for the evening that awaited us. Fresh in body and clothes, we went out to be tourists, accompanied by the gentle lapping of the water, which broke on the side walls, along the streets. The peeling walls, the old doors eroded by salt and mold, the windows protected by rusty railings, aroused my interest in the ghosts that evoked their past. That decadence told stories of fabulous riches and vanished luxuries, but managing to keep the echo among its stones, which softly and faintly reached the eardrums of my soul, and in that crumbling heap of beauty, the fresh and luxuriant attraction shone. of my young companion, who on her first visit to Venice, moved on those cobblestones with an ecstatic gaze, captured by the newness of the places and by noises never heard before. A restaurant, in a display case, displayed seafood and shellfish with a very inviting appearance. It was early for dinner, but the evening's program provided that it was not late and so we stopped to eat some of those delicacies. We were served a magnificent dish full of sea cicadas, razor clams, scallops, moleche, peoci, crowded around a huge spider crab that dominated the center. After that delicious meal, we walked around the city until we felt tired, but before returning, we stopped by Quadri for an ice cream.

Sitting outdoors, observing the wonders of Venice, we found ourselves fantasizing about our imaginary home in the city, light years away from the noise and car exhausts, where to take refuge from the poisons of work and relax in that unreal quiet. Playing with words and dreams is perhaps childish, but who, finding himself in a world completely different from his own, would not think, even for a moment, how could his life be far from the usual, from everyday life? One more cigarette and we went back to the hotel. It was just eleven o'clock. The next day we would have had to get up early and then, Venice is a strange city, which despite its reputation as a great tourist hub, becomes deserted as soon as after dinner. The cafes close before midnight and there is nothing left to do but go to sleep. Leaving the hotel, we left the window open in the room and the return offered us an unforgettable sight. Illuminated by the light of the moon, lying on a silver mantle, floated the Giudecca, which the flickering reflections on the water and the humid haze of the summer heat made it look like a painting by Monet. An enchanting and dreamlike mirage. In such moments, in the presence of such prodigies, we feel the spiritual need to enjoy all the poignant beauty together with a lover, a child, together with someone we love, to whom we feel connected, almost like our soul, alone, is unable to withstand so much wonder, and sharing that joy makes us feel even happier. In front of that window we felt very close, happy and perhaps even in love. It was hot.

The air was heavy and humid, still impregnated with the heat of the day and we, in front of the French window, stood still, embracing each other, contemplating the night, hypnotized by the silvery glow of the sea's ripples, transmitting, without speaking, the sensations that we felt, through only the contact of our skin beaded with moods. The gazes, when they met, quickly returned to disperse in the distance of the sea and with every glance we exchanged, we felt the feeling of abandonment and detachment from reality grow in us, which in the contemplation of that ecstatic vision seemed transfigured and intangible. , as the fruit of a dream, immaterial, made only of light. Every minute that passed brought us closer and without realizing it, we found ourselves absorbed and immersed with our gaze on the distant horizon, tight in a tender and clean embrace that bound our souls, our spiritualities. Caspar David Friedrich portrayed many times, in his canvases, this particular moment, where the function of the human element, immersed in contemplation, is nothing but the backdrop that separates reality from the imaginary, the contingent from the transcendent, the watershed between the limit of the human condition and the unlimited possibilities of infinity which, from that window, the uncertain line of the horizon, placed between the small size of the sea and the immense vastness of space, reminded us of it, making us feel small, helpless.

In man spirit and body coexist and both exert sensations and stimuli with their calls which, by conditioning our existence, produce in us effects that bring in harmony states of mind and physical impulses, determining, in a moment, without warning , instinctive and unstoppable behaviors even in moments of high spirituality, bringing us back to the primordial animal nature, and thus in that contemplative peace, in which all feelings and sensations should have melted and amalgamated in a motionless ataraxia, I felt that not only the soul, but also the senses demanded their toll. I felt the overwhelming desire to kiss Costanza arise in me and gently squeezing her face in my hands, I directed her mouth towards mine. Her lips parted and our mouths met in a long, passionate kiss. Costanza, already beautiful, with that light appeared to me beautiful, attractive, full of feral sensuality. His eyes, shining in the moonlight, were fiery and full of the sweetest lust. What is sensuality, if not the simultaneous arousal of all the senses? Seeing her so desirable and ready for physical love, shivers of lubricity ran down my spine, while sexual euphoria grew in me. Hearing her speak, the panting tone of her voice conquered me and placing my lips on her neck, I could taste the sweet taste of her skin. Finally… the perfume, its woman's fragrance, its slight skin transpiration triggered instinctive cravings in me.

My every sense participated in the intercourse, every nerve end of my body was solicited. My whole being was immersed in the viscous magma of voluptuousness. Costanza was wearing a crumpled linen blouse now. I opened her and immediately two small, round breasts with stiff nipples looking up popped out. I began to kiss them, first gently, then harder and harder until I almost bite them. With my hands I caressed her beautiful smooth back, soft, sinuous and wet with sweat, while she, amid moans of pleasure, with quick hands unbuttoned my shirt, reciprocating my effusions in the same way, and taking off each other's clothes, we remained completely naked. We continued to kiss and caress each other all over the body, standing in front of the window, until, as caresses were no longer enough, I laid her on the bed and buried my head on her lap. He breathed heavily, moaned and melted into little cries of pleasure. Finally, when my desire to seize her became overwhelming, I took her and she hugged me tightly, tightening her legs around my back and squeezed more and more until, becoming our short and breathless breaths, we reached the culmination of sexual arousal, together. We quieted down, still remaining connected for a long time. Meanwhile, from the sea, Giudecca looked at us and who knows how many other times it will have been a mute and solemn witness to such outpourings of love, how many moments of joy and pain it has shared with those who rejoice in its centenary majesty. Venice can be sad or cheerful, funny or boring like any other city. The sensations you experience and experience when you are in a place almost never depend on the passage itself, because potentially every place has all the emotions in it.

Every corner of the world can give us sadness or joy, because both are in us and the surrounding environment only contributes to magnify our mood, but Venice is particular, its structure, its precarious balance, its incessant dying, its perennial sense of decay, generate in the soul of the visitors the sense of death, of decay and produce in the heart of those who observe it feelings of transience and spiritual languor. The baroque music of Tartini, Albinoni, Marcello, Vivaldi, are the highest testimony of this. When listening to the music of these composers, Venice is in front of us, full of melancholy with its perennial decadence and its poignant beauty of death.

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