I hadn't known what to expect; in fact, that was my perspective on Italy in general.
Venice's feeling of historicity is overwhelming, and it is filled, jammed with tourists, but there are quieter parts where families and children predominate. Built on the lagoon, water is both frame and circulatory system. All public transportation on the center islands is waterborne, and the vaporetti pull up to the dock, disgorge and load passengers, and pull away faster than buses in most cities. When for the first time I exited the railroad station onto the plaza that lay between me and the canal, I saw boats of all shapes and sizes moving in every direction, a crowded, purposeful waterscape, and I found myself overcome with emotion, for I wasn't just lucky enough to see a living relic of the past, I was seeing one possible utopian future, the water city.
Oh, and we hadn't planned our trip to coincide with the Biennale, but there it was, and there were few restrictions on shooting pictures, so.
And one day we went to Gorizia, a border town, and walked into Slovenia.