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PostJumping in a Venice Canal (Roy Domenico, USA, 03/29/21 3:35 am)
Regarding the water in Venice, I frankly never have had a problem with it. I think it's more of an issue there, however, because you're much closer to it than you are to the Thames in London or the East River in New York. In Venice you're always within feet of a canal so you're more aware of it. I wouldn't swim in it just as I wouldn't swim in the Hudson.
Once I was having breakfast with some of my students during one of our tours of Italy. I asked them what they did last night and--of course--they had gone clubbing. But on the way home a couple decided to jump into a canal. I just asked them to let me know if they're having any reactions (stomach? eye?) over the next day or two. Neither of them did.
I also wanted to make a distinction between most beautiful and favorite cities. Venice is the most beautiful city I've ever seen, but it's not my favorite. A favorite often is a very personal thing. My favorite city--at least in Italy--is, I think, Rome. It is, first of all, a splendid city of enormous historical importance. But it's also the city where I do most of my work. I not only lived there as a student, but I spent a Fulbright there with my wife and children and that leaves us with particularly happy memories, and it's also the city where I have Italian relatives, so I am always comfortable there.
Bologna is special because of a university year spent there. And I personally love the tranquility and sanctity of Assisi. I used to spend the night there with my students until we were talking about the experience and they said they'd rather not--because there was no club scene there. I guess you can't have everything! Finally, back to Venice. As my Roman relatives say, they wouldn't like to live there. It would make them feel as if they were part of a museum exhibit.
JE comments: The title of this post may not be the most descriptive of its content, but I couldn't resist. Oh, the intrepid creature known as the American College Kid! I'm relieved, Roy, that none of your students came down with trench foot or worse.
Roy, your Rome is my Buenos Aires. I spent some of my happiest research time there in an earlier life, and still fondly recall my days wandering the streets, thinking I was Borges or Roberto Arlt.
Are living museums that, well, liveable? To Venice, we could add Toledo, Cuzco, Ouro Preto, and dozens of others. Eye-candy is great for the spirit, but sometimes you just need a big-box store. My home turf of Southeast Michigan is the opposite extreme: not much to look at, but there's plenty to do, to buy, and parking is never a problem.