02 dicembre 2011

The Country of the Blind

"L'avventura è una faccenda troppo seria per lasciarla in mano agli uomini / Adventure is a too serious matter to be left to men." (Venexiana Stevenson, from Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt)

Venice, again. Following faint trails of alchemic, hermetic past. This floating city has an unbelievable golden church built by pirates during the sixth century. It's a mixture of everything, it's a huge crux of the matter.

" San Marco  è davanti [...] strano e misterioso edificio, squisito e barbaro, immenso forziere di ricchezze, chiesa di pirati, fatta di pezzi rubati o conquistati a tutte le civiltà [...] un sogno orientale pietrificato dalla magia di un incantesimo, una chiesa moresca o una moschea cristiana innalzata da un califfo convertito. [...] Una caverna d'oro incrostata di pietre preziose, splendida e oscura, a volte sfavillante e misteriosa.  /   Saint Mark is before you with its five cupolas; its porches glistening with mosaics on a groundwork of gold ; its slender steeples; its immense area of glass-work before which the four horses of Lysippus paw the ground; its gallery of columns; its winged lion; its gables adorned with foliage and bearing statues; its pillars of porphyry and antique marbles; its aspect of temple, basilica and mosque; a strange and mysterious edifice, exquisite and barbarous, an immense accumulation of riches, a church of pirates, made of fragments stolen or conquered from all civilizations. [...] One might regard it as an Oriental dream petrified by the might of some enchanter, or a Moorish church or a Christian mosque built by a converted caliph. [...] The first impression is that of a cavern of gold incrusted with precious stones, splendid and sombre, at the same time sparkling and mysterious."  -

(from Journeys in Italy, by Théophile Gautier - transl. by Daniel B. Vermilye)

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