Whenever I come to Venice, I find myself in constant movement. I walk, I walk, and I keep walking. By the time I come to my senses, I realize I’ve spent an entire hour simply walking around the city. The reason for this is obvious—with no traffic signals and no cars at all, there’s no cause to stop walking.
As I walk, various things come into view—bridges, street signs, rattling washing machines on the other side of arches. Any sense of anxiety upon entering a narrow, dark tunnel vanishes before long as a bustling piazza with cafes and restaurants reveals itself. The more I walk, the more I feel at peace.
During one of my walks, I locked eyes with a woman as I was crossing a bridge. She was stood right in the middle, and I thought that she was perhaps wary at me, a random tourist strolling into her neighborhood. As I reached the other side of the bridge, I noticed that it only led to a dead end. This street was most likely only accessed and used by those who lived on it. Filled with guilt that I’d invaded this space for residents only, I turned around and saw that the woman on the bridge had lifted her arm up and was pointing to the right. The sign was clear to me; I turned and saw a street through an arch in between the buildings. I gave the OK sign and carried on with my journey.
The city is constantly in movement—the people who visit and then leave, the culture that travels both east and west. I wonder if the chiming church bells or the whistles from the boats are occasional reminders for the people of this city to take a moment to stop and pause.