My happiest times are spent in a city of water. I often say that my veins run with the waters of Łaguna de Venesia – the Venetian Lagoon. I love being near the water (which is good, as it’s never very far away in Venice). Floating along a silent canal in a gondola, or crossing San Marco during acqua alta, with the water almost to your knees, are moments of pure joy to me.
Like most true Venetians, I cannot swim. Learning to swim is considered an insult to the sea, as if you don’t trust her. Our relationship with the sea goes back over 1,000 years. Every year the Doge dropped a consecrated ring into the sea, and with the Latin words “Desponsamus te, mare, in signum veri perpetuique domini” (“We wed thee, sea, as a sign of true and everlasting domination”) declared Venice and the sea to be indissolubly one. We still hold this ceremony every year.
But being on, or near, the water is such a pleasure. The sound of a flowing river, the susurration of the surf, or rain pattering down are all soothing to me, especially in this world of too much artificial noise.
What I despise are the powerboats, jet skis and other watercraft that make such a horrible racket, ruining the tranquility of the environment. Anyone piloting one of them should be ground up into chum and fed to the fish.