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Venice in a day and a half

  Flying through Istanbul at night, 30,000 feet out of the window is the blackness of a large group of mythical creatures and an open, blurred light, reminiscent of the dark medieval city of Sudan and the iron cavalry of the Ottoman Empire for six hundred years, and in front of it is the water city Venice—— The place where the light of modern civilization originated. The two places that once faced each other across the Adriatic Sea, the tangled history of the cold weapon era, are only two and a half hours away by plane.
  Transfer at Ataturk Airport and fly close to Venice in the afternoon. The clouds are thin, the Mediterranean sun is pouring freely, the snowy peaks of the Apennine Mountains and the vast waters of the Venetian Lagoon gleam. There are more than 100 large and small islands floating in the lagoon, and the Venice Marco Polo International Airport is built on the island of Tesera, eight kilometers from the main island of Venice.
  Take the bus directly to Piazzale Roma on the main island of Venice. Jason picked me up to the FALIER hotel not far away, and then left. Open the window of the old FALIER is a large group of milky yellow and dark red low-rise buildings. The houses are crowded, with mottled tile roofs, and sometimes peeling walls. Sometimes lush green plants hang from the broken balconies. There is barely a narrow and winding alley between the walls for people to walk on. Under the sunset, the yellow plum blossoms bloom just right.
  According to the ancient Venetian calendar, evening is the beginning of the day. I packed my luggage and walked slowly along the small canal not far from the old FALIER. The river water is turbid and green, and there are many boats covered with red, blue, white and gray canvases parked by the river. The streets meander along the river, and there are many old buildings on both sides. The Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Byzantine styles are mixed and matched. The high and low shadows are reflected in the water. Crossing several bridges and looking into the depths of the building complex, I can’t help but think of Juliana’s dilapidated and mysterious old house next to a small canal in Henry James’ “Aspen Manuscript”, as well as hidden in literature and history. Imagine the ordinary and trivial daily life of the Venetians behind the imagination. Not far from the Frari Church, there was a long bell for Vespers, and there was a sudden sadness in my heart.
  In the evening, Lydia invited me to dinner with ice-cold sparkling water and classic tomato pasta.
  The night in Venice is gentle and silent. Lydia pointed to the buildings in the night from time to time. The buildings on the bank are hidden in the faint lights, the canals of all sizes are dark, only the moonlight and the shadows of the lights drift with the waves. I was so exhausted that I didn’t even have a dream all night.
two

  Breakfast is at the old FALIER, with a variety of breads, jams and butters. The coffee is the original juice without milk foam, and then a lot of milk and sugar cubes are added. Missing Chinese food while eating.
  There was nothing in the morning, so I declined Lydia and walked alone in the old city of Venice. There are luxury and craft shops in medieval stone shells. The alleys are very narrow, and after a few turns, you will encounter a small canal and, of course, a bridge. There are more than 400 bridges in Venice, and I wandered aimlessly with the GPS of my mobile phone. The white marble Rialto Bridge in “The Merchant of Venice” has been encountered no less than three times. Goethe likened Venice to “the market of the country in the morning and evening”, so the Rialto Bridge market is undoubtedly the market in the market, but the time is neither early nor late, and there are not many people in the market. The water of the Grand Canal sometimes flows on its own, and sometimes several boats, gondolas, sandolos and other large and small boats pass by hurriedly or slowly. It is said that the modest Gothic house of the legendary doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, is nearby. The buildings were crowded together as usual, and they couldn’t find them anywhere, so they didn’t want to look anymore.
  In St. Mark’s Square, the magnificent and solemn St. Mark’s Cathedral with a history of nearly a thousand years is undoubtedly a landmark existence. The reconstructed bell tower stands tall, the open-air cafe scene is grand, and large groups of pigeons and seagulls fly in the square. walk around. The number of people gradually increased, and several Chinese students were excited to feed the pigeons and birds, shouting loudly that they were going to go on a gondola. When I was squatting to tie my shoelaces, a flock of big birds suddenly flew up, and their claws gripped my head, shoulders and arms tightly, each with a heavy weight. I didn’t dare to get up right away for fear of scaring them, but they left me unceremoniously in several places of white and brown excrement as a souvenir when they left, which made me laugh and cry. Jason listened to me about it later, laughing and kindly reassuring me that people in Venice think they are lucky to be kissed by a pigeon.
  Not far from Piazza San Marco is the lagoon bay, which itself is a low-lying swamp. No wonder this “the most beautiful living room in Europe” is still soaked in water for half of the winter every year, despite being raised many times. At this moment, the bay was shimmering with gray-green waves. The water and the sky are the same color, and the sun is just a clean, gray light. Gondolas are moored side by side, old bollards with natural bends standing one by one on the water. In mid-air, a seagull may fly by flapping its wings. On the granite column, the Venetian patron saint Theodore and the winged lion of San Marco are indifferent.
three

  Walking on the pier of the lagoon bay, an inadvertent turn came across the famous Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge of Sighs was built in the early seventeenth century. It is an early Baroque limestone closed building bridge. In the past, the Bridge of Sighs was the passageway for prisoners in Venice to enter the prison after being tried. Byron then called it the Bridge of Sighs at the beginning of the fourth chapter of the long poem “The Travels of Childe Harold”, and I tried to translate this short verse: I stand on the Bridge of   Sighs
  in Venice, The
palace, with the prison cell on one side,
  I saw her buildings rise from the waves
  like an illusion after a wizard’s wand was swung.
  The dark wings of a thousand years have embraced me, and
  the glory of dying smiles at the distant age,
  when how many foreign countries
  looked up at the marble piles of winged lions,
  where the Republic of Venice reigned over the hundred islands.
  Byron’s long poems are enough to immortalize the Bridge of Sighs in people’s memory and imagination. There are too many stories and legends about the Bridge of Sighs. The most affectionate and popular version is this: a death row inmate looked out of the window when he walked across the Bridge of Sighs and saw his former lover on a gondola under the bridge with others kissed, and died in rage and despair. When will this water stop, when will this hate be over? However, it is such a bridge of suffering and darkness, a place where emotions are ultimately lost, but now, like Juliet’s house in Verona, it has become a witness to the eternal love. George Roy Hill’s film “Love at Sunset Bridge” set a Venice love myth in advance – when sunset, the bells of Venice ring, if lovers are in the gondola under the Bridge of Sighs Kiss, and a miracle will come, bless them in love forever. The light and shadow, hope and fear in human nature, the imperfection and fullness of the human world, the joy of death and the joy of life, the process and the ending, all become one at the Bridge of Sighs. Is this a kind of opposites?
Four

  The sea symbolizes power and mystery, as well as danger and the unknown. It takes a lot of courage to build the highest administrative hall of a city-state near the sea without any defensive construction. The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale, also translated as the Doge’s Palace – Ducale Palace, Duji Palace, Ducal Palace, Doge Palace, etc.), the official residence of the highest administrator of Venice, was built on the shore of the lagoon, without walls and watchtowers, facing the Adriatic. Sea, a state of mind and peace of mind. If you trace the history of Venice, you will find that there is a unique life connection between Venice and the sea. The sea has always been the protector of Venice, and the Venetian’s mind is the God of the Sea.

  In fact, as early as the ancient Roman era, a prosperous town has been formed around Venice, and it was later incorporated into the empire by Western Rome as a province of Venetia. After the decline of Western Rome, in order to avoid the intrusion of some Germanic nomadic tribes, especially the Gothic cavalry, Venetia and the surrounding residents migrated to the tidal reef island centered on the main island of Venice to make a living, and the bay lagoon became their natural environment. shelter. The immigrants built the magnificent water city Venice on the sandbar with tens of millions of dense tree stumps, massive amounts of gravel and Istrian stone that is waterproof and corrosion-resistant. With the development of the city and the establishment of the Republic of Venice, the Doge’s Palace came into being.
  The Doge’s Palace was originally built in 814 AD. Due to the vague affiliation between Venice and the Eastern Roman Empire at that time, the main body of the building was a typical Byzantine style, surrounded by water, with walled castles and turrets. The Doge’s Palace has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in the centuries since. The existing Doge’s Palace was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. It faces the Adriatic Sea in the south, St. Mark’s Cathedral in the north, St. Mark’s Square in the west, and the Doge’s Palace Canal in the east. It is connected to the prison building by the Bridge of Sighs. . Since the Republic of Venice was not only independent at that time, but also became the hegemon of the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, with an extremely powerful navy, and controlled the trade between the East and the West, probably because of this economic, military and cultural self-confidence, the Doge’s Palace abandoned its defensive function. Sitting upright, with the sea as a screen, coexisting with the tides.
  The most classic modern way of living the remains of historical buildings is museumization. As early as 1923, the Doge’s Palace was opened to the public as a museum that witnessed the rise and fall of the Venetian city-state. Although after several fires and reconstructions, after being fully restored in 1867, the appearance and interior of the Doge’s Palace are still astonishingly well preserved and harmonious, making people almost forget that Napoleon’s soldiers were looted here, and the Venetians who were enraged. Self-destruction, and various past occupations by the Austro-Hungarian army. It seems that it is not history that is forgetful, but people who lack a sense of history.
five

  In terms of style, the Doge’s Palace in Venice is a late Gothic building with classicism, with three floors in general and four floors in part. Its most distinctive south and west façades are more than 70 meters long. In the early years, gold, blue and vermilion variegated colors interlaced. Today, only the diamond-shaped mat veneer of Islamic-style dolomite and rose dolomite remains. The first floor is a dolomite semi-circular porch with strong and strong columns; the second floor is a dolomite pointed porch with columns dense and slightly slender, with flame-shaped capitals and carved Gothic four-leaf flower windows; Each has seven Gothic pointed arch windows. The main entrance of the Doge’s Palace, Porta della Carta (or “Paper Door”), opens on the west side and is currently used as the exit of the museum. The main body of Carmen is two huge bronze doors with mesh patterns, and the top of the cornice is carved with the patron saint of Venice – the flying lion of San Marco holding the Gospel, the 65th Doge of Venice, Francesco. Kafuscari knelt before the lion. The porphyry statues at the bottom left are said to be the four emperors of the Roman Empire, Diocletian, Maximilian, Valerian and Constantine. The third-floor balcony on the west façade is said to be where the Doge of Venice delivered his speeches to the citizens who gathered in Piazza San Marco. The stone sculpture above the balcony is exactly the same as that of Carmen, the difference is that the person kneeling in front of the flying lion of San Marco has been replaced by the 77th Governor of Venice, Andrea Gulliti. The goddess of Venice stood at the top, leisurely and contemptuous of everything. The overall building of the Governor’s Palace feels solemn and lively, gorgeous and elegant.
  Entering the Doge’s Palace, the first floor displays many originals and replicas of heavy Greek marble carvings. Inside the loggia is a black gondola with a canopy. I don’t know how much Venice’s past it has carried, and now it is stranded on the edge of history. The golden ladder on the second floor is painted with gold, and the tall dome is engraved with extremely complex patterns. In the past, only nobles who were listed in the “Golden Book” could climb the stairs and go everywhere through the golden ladder. The lion’s mouth (Bocca di Leoni) on the left side of the top of the golden ladder is the place where reports and informative letters are received. It is said that the old stone lion has been destroyed by Napoleon’s soldiers, so all I see is a hideous face. The Map Hall, the Four Entrance Hall, the Ten People Hall, the Elder Hall, the Ambassador Hall, the Council Hall, and the Grand Council Hall are distributed on the second and third floors of the building. Everywhere you walk is an important testimony to the aristocratic political life of Venice in the past. In each hall, the classic oil paintings of the Venetian masters such as Titian, Giorgione, Tintoretto, and Veronese, as well as countless frescoes are splendid, the stone sculptures and the glass chandeliers of Murano are beautiful. It is so beautiful that it is not difficult to imagine the opulence and luxury of the Doge’s Palace in the old days. No wonder Goethe would say that the glory of Venice’s history is preserved in the rooms of the Doge’s Palace.
  As a museum, there are four exhibition halls in the Doge’s Palace that display a large number of weapons from the Middle Ages to modern times, including many cold weapons from the Crusades, axes, spears, helmets, armors and shields decorated with exquisite family emblems, especially the types of swords. Many, I can only barely recognize broadswords, greatswords, array swords, dress swords and armor-piercing swords, and the complete armor installation of the wooden horse and the bronze horse reminds me of the hero in Calvino’s novel “The Knight That Does Not Exist”. The knight Dirolfo, then remembered that in his book “The Invisible City”, the Venetian merchant Marco Polo stated with conviction: “Whenever I describe a city, I describe Venice.
  ” The narrow ladder to the Bridge of Sighs, seven turns and eight turns, turn to the inner court of the Governor’s Palace, and you will see the “Giant’s Ladder” built in the 16th century. On the thirty Carrara marble steps, the statues of Mars and Neptune, the god of war in Sansovino, stand on the left and right, symbolizing the supreme authority of Venice’s overlord of sea and land. The grand coronation ceremony of the new Doge of the Republic of Venice was also held here. So I couldn’t help but sighed at the few pedestrians in front of me – those old masters of the Governor’s Palace, those governors and nobles who once stirred the Mediterranean situation and were the heroes of the world are now in peace? The sun and the moon have passed, and there is no way to catch up. Only the palace standing on the hundreds of thousands of mineralized wooden piles still shows the unique survival wisdom and courage of the Venetians.
  Go through the Arch of Kafoscari and exit the Doge’s Palace via the Carmen. Sunlight is like a waterfall. The cafes in Piazza San Marco are crowded with tourists from all over the world, not a single Venetian native.
six

  In the afternoon, I gave a speech at the University of Cafuscari in Venice. It was still early after the end. A Chinese Mr. Shan offered to take me to the viewing terrace of the DFS German Chamber of Commerce for a bird’s-eye view of Venice. When I saw Lydia smiling and acquiesced, I knew each other. Familiar with him, he went with him with confidence.
  Xiaodan is from Jiangxi Province. He is just in his thirties. He is capable and has a Chinese style of elegance. As a curator, he has been in Venice for many years and is about to marry his Italian girlfriend. During the chat, he told me many unknown details in Venice, such as the gold owners behind the many palaces in Venice, the real situation of the Chinese in Venice, where and what the Venetians are doing today. I told Xiaodan about my impression of the Venetians, and I felt that they were very friendly. Xiaodan laughed, and then told me plainly that Venice is mostly immigrants. Unless the real Venetians want to sell you something, they don’t like anyone and are not friendly to anyone. The reputation of the Merchant of Venice was not a fiction of Shakespeare.
  Talk and talk all the way, cross the alleys and bridges, pass by the oldest church of St. James Rialto in Venice and the Rialto market, and finally come to the DFS German Chamber of Commerce, an 800 store that is used as a top luxury store. years old building. Xiaodan is obviously a frequent visitor here, and the staff greeted him with great enthusiasm.

  In the rough-looking low hall on the top floor, I saw a small modern art exhibition. The four sets of art installations, with white door panels, wardrobes, tables and chairs, cartons, clothing, shoes and bags as the main body, each occupy a corner, occasionally dotted with light yellow, light pink, bright red, gray-green, orange and black, creating a scene. color difference. Xiao Shan pointed to one of the installations, saying that it was the work of his girlfriend. Are they a metaphor for the blandness, rigidity, tedium and limitations of modern life? I know very little about modern art, and I was very confused when I saw the exhibition.
  ”Do people understand?” I asked Xiaodan.
  ”Italians can understand it, but the Chinese can’t.” Xiaodan replied.
  ”Okay, count me in.” I stood in line silently.
  On the viewing terrace, it is dusk. The sky is getting late, and the setting sun is hidden in the thin clouds, and it is bright. The curved Grand Canal is still surging, and the boats on the river are in a shuttle. The buildings on both sides of the strait are lined up, you call me. The owners of the building, those ancient families of Venice have mostly moved away. Thousands of years are out of reach, and Venice, once dressed in fresh clothes and angry horses, has already changed the world. In the distance, you can see a line of mountains in the Alps.
  Goodbye Venice, you tears of God, pearl of the Adriatic, I am gone.
seven

  Unexpectedly, three days after leaving Venice, I encountered Venice again in the ancient town of Piazzolas ul Brenta on the banks of the Brenta River in Padua.
  At that time, my friend June, a Chinese-American curator, wanted to hold a “Chinese New Year” event in Piazzolla, and chose the Villa Contarini, known as the “Versailles of Veneto”. ). Condalini is one of the oldest and most prominent families in Venice. For more than 600 years from the eleventh to the seventeenth century, this family had a total of eight Venetian governors, in addition to the governors of the Principality of Athens, cardinals, geographers. Scholars, etc., it can be said that there are many people who have achieved success. It is worth mentioning that the dazzling Golden Palace on the Grand Canal in Venice is the old house of the Condalini family.
  Piazzolla’s Villa Condalini was originally built in 1546, and the first drafts of the design came from Andrea Parra, the master Renaissance architect, the designer of the Villa Rotunda in Vicenza and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice Dio. The original site of the villa is the ruins of an ancient castle, which has been used as the country palace of the Condalini family in Padua since its completion. In the mid-17th century, the owner, Marco Condalini, expanded the villa to a large extent, resulting in a large villa and garden that today covers an area of ​​about 50 hectares.
  Looking at Villa Condalini from a distance, the building has a distinct Baroque style, which looks spacious and solemn. The interior is typical Rococo style. The space is very detailed, and it looks exquisite, quiet and delicate. And the elegant atmosphere, only the four walls and dome of the main hall are engraved with scrolls of grass and flowers, inlaid with various oil paintings of square, round or four-leaf patterns. with carving. The murals, oil paintings and sculptures around are mostly myths, noble feasts, hunting and other worldly life content, full of mundane fireworks. The guide told me that at that time, the area around Padua was under the rule of Venice, and the Venetians would come here after they returned home from the wealth they had seized from the sea, and lingered and enjoyed themselves in the wine, music, singing and dancing. Life. The open semicircular square in front of the main entrance of the villa is the main square of the town of Piazzolla, where the large-scale festivals and gatherings of the people were at that time. In the surviving documents, there are still several pictures of the square’s grand festival gatherings and traditional equestrian performances. Arguably, Villa Condalini is the face of the happiest and most worldly city life in the history of Venice.
  I spent a long time looking forward to the shell corridor in the main colors of gray, white and black in Villa Condalini. The environment in the villa is too real, and the old objects are spotless, as if the owner of the villa is only going out temporarily and will come back at any time. Outside the window was the drizzle of the Mediterranean in February, and the surroundings were extremely quiet, without a single tourist. I didn’t realize that I kept my steps light, and tried to keep my voice low when communicating with the instructor, for fear of disturbing anyone. When I left, I wrote a sentence on the guest book:
  History stopped its footsteps here.