Day 28 – 31 Venice
Pearla shows us her mansion, pulls back the covers and reveals the long history of her family. Starting at something close to 800 AD after one of her husband’s sires was rewarded a parcel of land in Tuscany after leal service as a soldier to the pope. We visit the old kitchen, the new kitchen, the dining room, common room and even the chapel. We see the graves of those long dead, read letters from passing workers promising duels upon their return to the estate and are privileged to a thousand other tidbits that make up this rich tapestry. It is in this unique window that I come to appreciate the long history of the region. It is made all the more precious as so few have seen it. This is no museum on public display, thousand-thousand eyes have not pried here each taking a piece. No, this is unique – thank you, Pearla.
We have another long drive ahead to Venice. Looking in the rearview mirror I’m sad to see the hills of Tuscany fade away. The easing slopes covered in vineyards and conifers slowly disappear from view and as we join the highway we move on already forgetting, already turning the moments into memories.
I want to write about how romantic Venice is. How its canal’s and beauty stole my breath and loosed my imagination, but I can’t. I have seen Venice, I wandered its streets with the masses and can say only this – I understand its exodus and am sorry to have contributed to it. It was beautiful but overused, its soul fractured, its essence displaced, the barest notes of its once splendid music barely stirring in the summer’s stillness.
We avoided St Marco Piazza in favour of the twisted alleys, ate a gelato, dined out one night and moved on. So, I have seen Venice, gotten lost in its mazes and canals. I mean it no disrespect and have probably upset scores of people but there you have it.