Fighting your way through dark narrow & damp calles then suddenly arriving in a sun drenched and nearly deserted campo fronted by a gorgeous forgotten church, but finding your curiosity suddenly peaked by a sotoportego to your left through which you can just catch a glimpse of a garden beyond… You venture down it only to find yourself at the precipice of a canal with no way across… Being tempted, of course, by a half-rotted rowboat that is moored there. This has to be, for many people, a perfect metephore for exploring the contours of your mind.
Alternatively, one could say that Venice is a city in that will force you to experience every possible mood. As it often does to me. One especially moody day that I recall well: The weather forced me away from F. Nove, but in high spirits due to having seen an old friend. I decided, since I "needed" a new dress anyway, to seek out shade in the labyrinths of San Polo and Santa Croce and start documenting a variety of clothing stores. There is quite the variety in Venice! I traveled from Prada to the 10 euro store and back again. Definitely a dress for every budget! Also a dress for every mood?
My quest for the dress ended when a sales woman refused to allow me to try one on because certain of my assets are, allegedly, too plentiful. Of course, as a friend later explained, she's just "an Italian woman who wants everything to be perfect". She didn't want to sell me the wrong dress. (In actuality, of course, she was an evil shrew who dressed like a circus freak herself…never mind...)
While it may seam superficial to discuss this experience in relation to the metaphor I proposed, they are the everyday experiences that color our impressions of the world. The maze that was so exciting to me on the way out, was dark, stinking and frustrating on the way back. Everyone who proffered a "Ciao Bella!" was running a serious risk of becoming a eunuch. Nevertheless, just walking into the sunshine of Campo San Giovani e Paolo completely dissipated that mood.
It helped, of course that I ran into some friends shortly thereafter who taught me how to say eunuch in Italian. And by the time I felt the spray of waves on my face on my way out to the Lido I was in pure ecstasy once again.
If this example doesn't work for you, imagine the tourist's experience this way: You're tired, hot and hungry. You've been lost all day. You finally decide to just-eat-here. But, when the menu finally does arrive, it's ten pages long and you are faced with fifty f-ing kinds of pizza! Of course, the restaurant is not actually out to get you. Considering all you went through to get there, they want to make darned sure that your favorite pizza is available! But you have already chosen so many rights from lefts today…and thought it was magical, it was also exhausting.
Here's a brutal truth: If you spend any significant amount of time in Venice, there will be times when it feels as though the whole city - from the door knockers to the dead ends to Google maps having it 60% wrong - is teasing you. But, most of the time, Venice actually does have your best interests at heart. If you are going to survive Venice, you must love the variety that is the spice of life.