The first time I fell in love with Venice
by Stephen Killick
In Love with Venice – As you probably remember, a few years ago I was running a series of guest posts entitled “Best Memories of Venice”. Some of the best travel international bloggers shared their best memory of Venice with my readers.
Well, thanks to Stephen Killick, a dear British friend of mine, a real passionate about Venice, its history and its culture, and a great gourmet, I decided to run some more posts along the same line, so….if, like Stephen, you would like to share with me and my readers your Best Memory of Venice, send me your article. I will be happy to post it here on my blog!
Now, let’s see what happened to Stephen during his first time in Venice!
Memories of Venice by Stephen Killick
The first time – In love with Venice
We had been married barely three years, but, not only was I young and in love, but, also, I got on extremely well with my parents in law.
My father in law was an academic: Her Majesty’s Inspector responsible for fine art education.
Years before, after training at the Royal Academy of Fine Art and The Slade, he had started his research into perspective during the Renaissance. It was incredibly technical, requiring a lot of mathematics.
Put simply: perspective creates a vanishing point in a painting.
Imagine pushing a long piece of string to that point, so that the middle of the string is on the vanishing point; now pull it taut. It is possible to calculate points along the string to provide a scale. It was the scale that my father in law was trying to calculate, to prove that it ran through Renaissance paintings, architecture and music.
He was getting on with the study but life, work and four children, all of whom went to Cambridge University, rather got in the way. ‘I shall never finish it now,’ he used to tell me, ‘because I should have to go to Venice to get started again and when are we going to find the time or the money to do that?’
My wife and I were doing OK at work, so we decided that for their 40th wedding anniversary we would take them on a short break, flying out on a Friday morning in March and back Sunday evening and staying in the Luna Baglioni Hotel, just off Saint Mark’s Square.
My parents-in-law’s delight was palpable and we all thrilled in the journey, albeit on a charter plane, when we saw the snow covered Alps, out of the left hand side of the aircraft on the way out.
Having landed at the scruffy old airport that was then Marco Polo, we all bundled into a slow moving motorboat on the quayside and headed towards Venice. I had been before, although only as a child, and my wife had been as a student, some time before we met, but only on a visit from Jesolo, where she was camping.
By craning our necks, we could just start to see out of the window, full as it was of people and luggage, the islands that rose up, before us, on the left hand side and then finally, finally, buildings began to take shape in front of us, blurry and indistinct like looking at a painting by Turner.
As the bell towers and buildings took shape we cut across, somewhere towards the southern end of Castello, before chugging out into the basin of San Mark and there it all was, this most wonderful time capsule of a once great empire, all still there and unspoilt, in all its majesty.
We docked alongside the Luna Baglioni Hotel and scrambled ashore to check in, but we did not stay long, because we had to go out and see this wonderful place and stand in the Piazza possibly, and to my mind definitely, the finest square in the world. My father in law stood with his hands in the air spread wide, as he pointed out the design of Longhena’s Procuratie building, on the south side of the square, smiling broadly as he did.
After our short, but wonderfully happy trip, he started his research again and at the age of 63 won the Leverhulme Foundation scholarship, enabling him to spend a number of weeks in the city, meeting academics and measuring paintings and church architecture to produce his thesis.
My wife and I have been back many times, on three or four occasions with her parents whilst they were alive. It was my father in law who taught me to love the place as much as he did, albeit in a slightly different way.
I rejoice each time I return and always find something new, but there has never been a happier a time than that Friday evening in March 1983 when the four of us stood together in Saint Mark’s square for the first time just looking up at it all.
If like Stephen, you are totally hopelessly lost in love with Venice, why don’t you tell us all about it?
I will be happy to share your love with all of my readers!