Volunteering at the Biennale: the expectations of a historian

PERSONAL DIARY: Part 1

Never mind that I am Italian- prior to this placement at the East Midlands Pavillion #EM15 at the Biennale,  I had never been to Venice and the only images I had in my mind about the city were those provided by literature, history, fiction and fantasy novels.
On the one hand, popular books such as  Cornelia Funke’s Thief Lord shaped my imagination creating a sort of mythical expectation towards the city. On the other hand, my historical studies gave me another Venice to imagine, as the powerful and great maritime republic ruling in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages.

Gentile Bellini, Procession in PIazza San Marco, Academia, 1497. Source: Wikimedia Commons, CReative Licence.The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.
Gentile Bellini, Procession in PIazza San Marco, Academia, 1497.
Source: Wikimedia Commons, CReative Licence.The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

However, what is the real Venice? Is it the one described by novelists or the one emerging from historical evidence? When my feet touched Venetian soil for the very first time, after almost two hours of travel, I felt like a medieval pilgrim who does not know what his journey will be (OK, it would have taken a medieval pilgrim a lot longer to reach Venice but you get my point…).

LdS-Guidebooks
©Laura di Stefano, 2015

I was  surprised at  the whiteness of the buildings’ stones emerging and the way the stone reflected in the blue of the lagoon. The first thing I thought was “oh, no one lied” and it is true, Venice is amazing, like the mythical city described in fantastical narratives and at the same time she has preserved the great majesty of an old and great maritime republic. I think that for this reason, the city’s environment and look are unique.

Really, there are no words to describe how small you can feel in Piazza San Marco, surrounded by the gold aura of the Church, the immensity of the campanile, the smell of salt coming from the sea and the sound of classic music played by the musicians in the square. I can definitely say that if I had an expectation, the reality is much better.

©Laura di Stefano, 2015
©Laura di Stefano, 2015

Laura di Stefano

Advertisements

One thought on “Volunteering at the Biennale: the expectations of a historian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s