They're everywhere in Venice. The city's past leaves traces of melancholy that are hard to describe, impossible to pinpoint. Murky mysteries as cold and as damp as la nebbia, the fog that creeps in from the plains of the Veneto, as chilling as any fog blanket there is. Venice, as magnificent, exotic, and achingly beautiful as it is, is not a warm city. It is a place made of stone and rain, fog and ghosts.
One sees it first in the sculpure. Black soot and eroding rain sadden and make more dramatic the already Baroque. The armless statues and bodiless heads are the major players on the haunted Venetian stage. All else is transformed into supporting cast. Nothing is immune. Mask shops take on the macabre. Cobblestones echo the sounds of the past. Even the pigeons take on phantasmic characteristics.
Venice is a city of the past and of faded glory. There are tales in the walls that vibrate like the chill up one's spine. But, as in watching a Hitchcock film, we delight in the scintillation. We always come back for more.