My first impression of Florence: make-believe city where everything revolves around the past. Essentially, stuck in a rut. First impressions of Venice: make-believe city due to the belief that places like this don't really exist. I mean, floating cities, waterbuses, grand canals, numerous pedestrian bridges. If Atlantis exists, this is it. It hasn't been lost to the sea, yet.
I don't even know if Venice can be called a city. It is its own typology.
We went to Venice because they were celebrating the Carnival of Venice (essentially Mardi-Gras), world-famous for it's tradition of elaborate costumes and masks. We saw some things relating to the festival, but almost every single organized event we planned to attend, we were late for. So, I missed out on a lot. The opening ceremony, a parade on the canals of Lido, another performance, and another parade in Piazza San Marco. I'm sure they were nice.
Still, coming to Venice I wasn't sure what to expect. I remember as a child thinking that the city was probably the nicest place in Europe and it was the only place on this continent I wanted to go. I liked it because of the canals. But that childlike wonderment is still relevant for me today. (Just think if you replaced the streets of any other city with rivers. It's really an incredible alternative.) The city has a reputation of being horribly overrun with tourists...to the point that Italians don't even live there anymore. I don't know if that's true, but I found it odd that on an island that hasn't had the ability to expand for hundreds of years, just off the main pedestrian thoroughfares existed almost total isolation from the (worse than, seriously) sardine-like piazzas of the carnival events. The city is mostly comprised of small alleys and courtyards where no one ventured. (Even this is different than Florence. The roads less taken here are still pretty crowded comparatively.)
I don't feel like writing....and there is a lot to say. Damn.
The other important thing about Venice was the mix of modern and traditional architecture. Oh it was beautiful. Just this fact alone gave me the impression that Venice was a city less high-strung and more aware of the contemporary world. The Calatrava bridge is a perfect example. (physically anyway....the political aspect of the bridge isn't so enlightening.) As well, I'll take a boat rather than a subway to get around a city anyday. This form of transportation is exponentially more dignified than going underground and popping up in random places like moles.
We didn't go to any museums, or check out any tourist spots, which was also nice. Just a beautiful weekend in Venice. But I can't wait to go back in April with the school.
The floating city exists.