The Current Issue
Nikon Owner Issue 4
Venice - City of Haunting Dreams
By Simon Marsden
Venice appears to us as if in a dream, its breathtaking architecture and overwhelming weight of history challenging the soulless uniformity of our modern-day world. This unique city of so many contradictions, of shifting light and dark shadows, subtle movement and fleeting glances, quickly seduces us with its timeless beauty. It is only later that we become aware of its other, more sinister side.
Walk away from St. Mark’s Square, and disappear into the maze of narrow streets and canals, crossed by ancient bridges. Here you find yourself in another world where time has stood still, preserved like the cadavers of the saints that lie in the many dark, melancholy churches.
Before long you are standing in a moss-grown courtyard – how you got there you don’t know. In front of you is a rotting wooden door that appears to hide a terrible secret. Out of the corner of your eye you see a lizard dart between the crumbling brickwork. You begin to feel lost and alone, as if you are at the entrance to another world. As you retrace your steps over a bridge, a rat swims across the canal to disappear beneath the massive iron gates at the water entrance of a ruined palazzo. As the mist begins to roll in from the lagoon, you stare at the grotesque stone head that surmounts these gates. The smell of stagnant water is overpowering and the only sound is the haunting cry of a gondolier. There is a pervasive sense that a second spectral city exists beneath the façade of everything you see; a timeless realm that we visit in our dreams.