David and Pop-Pop's Europe Trip
Venice, Italy

A visit with Emily

Diary--July 9th, 1994

Also, in conversation with Emily today she told me how she thought the people of Rome and Venice differ in their enjoying of life and I must agree with her based on my observations.

The people of Spain enjoy living in a pure sense: they perceive a given situation in ways that make it more fun or beautiful.

In contrast to this, the people of Venice construct a fantasy world. Their city is only adorable buildings, the streets are a narrow-passaged maze without bicycles or cars, boat travel for bus or taxi is standard and the trains are inexpensive and always run on time. Because the economy is supported by tourism, barber shops and toy stores are seen but rare, while open air markets replace supermarkets (or even smaller grocery stores) and cute shops of every varitety dominate the ground floor of the city. The gondola tradition and family histories thirve, the water is safe and fountains provide it for free, the Venician dialect is quite different from standard Italian, and of course the city is dotted with extravagant palaces, churches, guild halls, schools, bridges, and other relics built to glow with the pride of the chief merchant center of the world. It is an island in more than one sense.

The people of Rome enjoy their history as such too much to update it into a dream world; their style of enjoing living is by travelling the fine line between exaggeration and mania. Stoplights, speed limits, and right of way are meaningless--as Pop-Pop says, "they do not drive, they aim." Even without the Spanish afternoon nap a social dinner in Rome still often runs from eight until two.

I think Florence is much like Venice, but in a more subtle way; they do not have an alive history like Venice or a dead history like Rome, but an appreicated history; they also build a dream world, but not on this earth and water. This is what makes Florence my favorite.