Venice Quilt

The Venice Quilt. 

There is a pattern to this Quilt, assembled and nurtured for over 1500 years.  Most observers wonder if there is a pattern, how it can be seen, traced, and comfortably used.
The Venice pattern was formed through the creative absorption and transformation of classical values, periodically cleansed, refined of corruption and impurities to regain its rightful course – refined by the Lagoon, the Sea, distant lands and cultures, and by Venetian innovation.  Those creative values drew from Venice’s mainland Roman heritage, infused with Byzantine order, far before Florence became a cultural and political force.  Venice is something that the Florentine Renaissance  could simply never understand, could not stand to leave alone.
Quilted Walls, Quilted Plazas (c)2015 R.D.Bosch

Quilted Walls, Quilted Plazas (c)2015 R.D.Bosch

More than a few alterations have occurred over the centuries as pieces were added to the quilt, island by island, stitched together by bridges.  A few rents have also occurred in the fabric, like the Rio Novo and the Strada Nova.  Some parvenues stitched in chunks of their own design and desire, and continue to do so, like the Giardini Publicca, Ferrovia Santa Lucia and Piazzale Roma, or straightened a seam perhaps best left alone, like the already infamous “fourth bridge”.  Perhaps a few have, intentionally or not, beneficially finished a ragged patch in the completion of Piazza San Marco, or repaired a tattered or missing binding on the Fondamenta Nove and the Zattere.  You, and history, have the liberty to judge those things.  There is no competition against other urban quilts.  Venice is unique, one of a kind.
Guggenheim Patchwork (c)2015 R.D.Bosch

Guggenheim Patchwork (c)2015 R.D.Bosch

Quilt!  In Venice?  Of, course!  The pattern of sun-dappled wavelets found again and again as the inspiration for built Venice in its tessarae floors, masegne calli, campi, sacri, even the Palazzo walls – reflecting the very light of Venice from the Sea.
The Venice Quilt is illuminated by the sun and the moon.
Repairing the Quilt - Piazza San Marco (c)2015 R.D.Bosch

Repairing the Quilt – Piazza San Marco (c)2015 R.D.Bosch

In any media or application of patterns, “course correcting” is necessary,  whether assembled in cloth, plowed into a fallow field, or built into a community.  That endless challenge as exhibited throughout Venetian history reminds me of the lesson of “tacking” at sea to accommodate tides, winds, obstacles and foes.
There is no straight path from “Point A” to “Point B” at sea, in the mountains, in your city, or in Venice.  Any passage through the labyrinth of Venetian calli requires exquisite tacking skills on the sun-danced wavelets of masegni and tessarae.  Over time, with practice, your course will vary due to lessons learned, changing seasons, sightings of landmarks, or the ever-moving flotillas of tour groups and school children.
Navigating Venice is  like sailing in the Lagoon. 
On land, in Venice, that tacking benefits from using campanili as bricoli, ponti as runs before the wind –dritto, siempre dritto!,campi as leeward bays – not calm but perhaps becalming, to ease the constant, necessary course adjustments en route to any destination.  They also enrich the journey immeasurably, allowing you to revise any plotted course opportunistically to imbibe things newly observed or finally recalled.
A non-narrative approach to Venice – the one place that inspires in each moment, in every turn with a pattern so complex yet so comfortable.  Paradoxically, a non-repeating pattern.  Venice is unlike any other Quilt you will ever find.
Wrap it around and lose yourself in its warmth!

About randysrules

From a professional background in architecture, community and regional planning, urban design, leadership, and fine arts, this blog provides insights on ethics, leadership, architecture/planning/urban design, Venice, and whatever intrigues me at the time. Enjoy!
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3 Responses to Venice Quilt

  1. agnesashe says:

    That’s a very thought-provoking view. Do you write as a Venetian, or an Italian or Italian American – I am perplexed as being English I find the notion of ‘a quilt’ applied to Venice does not carry the same diverse readings. Maybe, that’s just me. However, I do agree ‘tacking’ works on multiple levels when experiencing Venice and its history. I could imagine, too, this idea would resonate with numerous Venetians across the centuries.
    Always find your posts an interesting read.

    • randysrules says:

      Thanks for your thoughts! Quilts vary so much around the world, and range in style from extremely precise, replicable patterns to some that are more post-modern than a Jackson Pollack painting! Venice is neither replicable nor consigned to a specific genre, with 1500 years of work on its fabric. The patterns and quilt that you see with your great artistic sense are real, and can be intensely personal. Venice inspires!

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