Saturday, October 20, 2007

The World's Most Beautiful City

This morning, my aunt Sylvia, who has traveled extensively for many years, confirmed what I suspected: Venice is the most beautiful city in the world. I was only there for three days (and half of that time was ill — possibly because of something I ate) but was still enraptured. In a mask store called Ca'Macana near S. Marco Basilica, a lovely saleswoman named Kiaiti Saliha talked about Venice's allure. She was born in Algeria, but moved to Venice 26 years ago, she told me. "I loved Venice from the first time I have seen it," she said, apologizing for her English, which I assured her, was better than my Italian. "It's like first love. You cannot forget it." Venice was her destiny, she said, and where she wanted "to finish."

"Everything in this city is art," she said. "The people who have created Venice were so great." Then she paused and added pensively, "I hope that it will still be here for people in the future so they can see what it is."

I hope so, too.