SUMMARY TRANSLATION OF LUISA BALLIN’S ARTICLE IN FRENCH: Return to Venice. Sometimes in the footsteps of Giacomo Casanova, a charming libertine, the only man, it seems, to have escaped from the Prison of Leads in the seaside town, sometimes in search of Hugo Pratt, designer, adventurer and watercolorist who is Venetian at heart, who made his life an iconic graphic work and his hero Corto Maltese, a mysterious and adventurous sailor, the ideal imaginary guide to pleasantly get lost in the Fable of Venice. The original edition of Favola di Venezia, a graphic novel by designer Hugo Pratt, was published for the first time, in eight episodes, in the Italian weekly L’Europeo, from June 3 to December 23, 1977.

Review the Veneto, the most attractive region of Italy which offers a range of exceptional riches: sea, lake, rivers, beaches, thermal baths, mountains, hills, valleys, parks, cities of art, Venetian town (“Venetic villas” ), craftsmanship and wine-gastronomic tradition of excellence. To better understand the impact of the regional, national and international influence of Venice, a few stops enhance the stay: Vicenza and the magnificent villa La Rotonda, the work of the architect Palladio who will leave his mark in other places; Padua and its famous university where Galileo taught and Copernicus studied; elegant Treviso where tiramisù was created, a dessert appreciated at all latitudes; and Cortina d’Ampezzo, winter sports resort which will organize with Milan the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026.

Without forgetting Asolo, one of the most suggestive towns of the Bel Paese, land of exile of Catherine Cornaro who was Queen of Cyprus, the divine Eleonora Duse, actress and muse of the Vate Gabriele D’Annunzio, and Freya Stark, writer, photographer, traveler and diplomat, friend of Churchill, Lawrence of Arabia and the Queen Mother. who, like his compatriot and British man of letters Robert Browning, had taken up residence in this enchanting vacation spot.

Traveling through the emblematic places of this Veneto, which can boast an exceptional artistic, historical, memorial and cultural heritage, is inspiring. Allowing yourself to be seduced by the charm of Lake Garda, the romance of Verona, the warmth of the sand in Jesolo, the sparkle of the sea in Lido or getting lost among hills, vineyards and peaks is exhilarating. Admiring the beauty of generous nature is calming. Discovering the flavor of local gastronomy or sipping a cocktail at the legendary Harry’s Bar is stimulating. Tasting a cicchetto in a bacaro with your fingertips, swallowing a caffè ristretto or corretto at the counter of a bar, or sinking your teeth into a slice of watermelon under an illuminated pergola at dusk are all reminiscences of adolescence and vacations.

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On the Venetian trail

Veneto also means following the Prosecco Route, from Valdobbiadene to Conegliano, after having lunch with the participants of the Centomiglia, a car race dedicated to distinguished old-timers, with stages in welcoming cellars to honor the appreciated local wines even in this China once explored by the Venetian Marco Polo. Then reach the Dolomites, these limestone rocks of the Pre-Alps declared a world heritage site by UNESCO – whose highest peak is the Marmolada – to reach Cortina d’Ampezzo, a high mountain resort popular with the political and artistic elite of the Peninsula, allows us to better understand the challenges of Veneto made up of the provinces of Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona and Vicenza, covering more than 18,345 km², populated by 4,841,193 inhabitants recorded at the end of October 2022.

Venice, millennial queen of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean basin, is not in the process of being Disneylandized. It is lively and innovative although it has become almost inaccessible to the budgets of average Venetians who struggle to find accommodation at decent prices due to rental or sale of homes to passing visitors seduced by its glorious past. The idea that Venice, idealized or fantasized by the approximately thirty million tourists who visit it each year – a figure estimated before the Covid-19 pandemic – could be swallowed up by high tide, is moving. And praying to Saint Mark so that the MOSE can save her from the waters is more than wishful thinking. The MOSE, Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, is this dike whose system is made up of floating valves to preventively isolate the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when the high tide exceeds the alert level of 110 cm.

Unforgettable Veneto. Understand it. Love it. And grasp its subtleties. As Rodolfo Bonetto, a retired teacher and school director residing in the province of Treviso, summarizes the point of the French language book Venise – La Vénétie est une fable (Venice – Veneto is a fable): “Venice is in Veneto and to a large extent it is Veneto”.

Living in Venice. Want to settle there or leave it to better return there. This is the aspiration of many Venetians by heart or by birth, such as the designer Antonia Sautter, creator of the sumptuous costumes for the Ballo del Doge which she organizes each year during the traditional Venice carnival; like Tiziana Lippiello, first woman elected rector of the prestigious Ca’ Foscari University; like the anthropologist and director Elia Romanelli who lives between Lido and Turin. These personalities evoke, in the second part of my book Venice – Veneto is a fable, the strengths, challenges and difficulties that Venice and Veneto, a region distinguished on several occasions by UNESCO, must face.

In this city, incredible things happen, says Corto Maltese, slipping away from the pages of the Fable of Venice drawn by Hugo Pratt. And when the attractive sailor waves, how can you not follow him…

The temptation of Venice. Like the title of the book by former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé (published by Grasset, 1993). In a brief interview with Global Geneva, during his dialogue with Richard Werly, as part of Convergences, the circle founded by Colette Cellerin in November 2023, Alain Juppé declared: “When I discovered Venice, an extraordinary city, I I fell in love at first sight. Every time I come back, I feel the same “On May 12, 1797, the illusion of this mythical permanence vanished when, in a final act of sovereignty and without the slightest resistance, the nobility which composed the Grand Council voted, under the threat of Bonaparte, the abolition of the institutions who governed the city-state since the Middle Ages, thus indulging, according to the formula of the writer Ippolito Nievo, in gran matricio (“great matricide”), we can read on the website of the monthly L’Histoire, from March 2017.

And the text continues: “At the time of signing peace with Austria at the Treaty of Campoformio in October 1797, Bonaparte ceded all of Veneto, Venice included, to the House of Habsburg, officially ending the independence of a State “that interest sold to despotism”, according to the formula of the Italian poet Ugo Foscolo appearing in his autobiographical novel, The last letters of Jacopo Ortis, written in 1798.

“Occupied alternately by the French and the Austrians, between 1797 and 1866, the date on which it was attached to the Kingdom of Italy, the city, “sold and resold along with a bundle of its old goods” as Chateaubriand wrote, became in the nineteenth century the place of choice for the champions of decadence, of meditation on time, on the end of civilizations, on death which triumphs over history. To enter the legend that made him immortal. And a desire for the Mediterranean.flight, a escape, but it’s not a definitive flight, since I’m coming back from it.”

Venice, yesterday and today. Unforgettable city of the Doges which in the Middle Ages was a great commercial power stretching from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean, without forgetting the Black Sea. Located at the heart of the largest maritime traffic at the time of its splendor, the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia had built its independence and its economic power thanks to the flourishing maritime trade transporting in particular silks, pearls and spices. Renowned also thanks to finance and to its aristocratic institutions stable over nearly a thousand years. Venetian merchants were a link between the Christian and Arab-Muslim worlds.

“On May 12, 1797, the illusion of this mythical permanence vanished when, in a final act of sovereignty and without the slightest resistance, the nobility which composed the Grand Council voted, under the threat of Bonaparte, the abolition of the institutions who governed the city-state since the Middle Ages, thus indulging, according to the formula of the writer Ippolito Nievo, in gran matricio (“great matricide”), we can read on the website of the monthly L’Histoire, from March 2017.

And the text continues: “At the time of signing peace with Austria at the Treaty of Campoformio in October 1797, Bonaparte ceded all of Veneto, Venice included, to the House of Habsburg, officially ending the independence of a State “that interest sold to despotism”, according to the formula of the Italian poet Ugo Foscolo appearing in his autobiographical novel, The last letters of Jacopo Ortis, written in 1798.

“Occupied alternately by the French and the Austrians, between 1797 and 1866, the date on which it was attached to the Kingdom of Italy, the city, “sold and resold along with a bundle of its old goods” as Chateaubriand wrote, became in the nineteenth century the place of choice for the champions of decadence, of meditation on time, on the end of civilizations, on death which triumphs over history. To enter the legend that made him immortal. And a desire for the Mediterranean.

À lireVenise – La Vénétie est une fable, par Luisa Ballin.

Livre paru dans la collection L’âme des peuples des éditions Nevicata à Bruxelles. Dirigée par le journaliste franco-suisse Richard Werly, L’âme des peuples, qu’il a cofondée avec l’éditeur belge Paul-Erik Mondron, fête dix ans d’activités et 80 titres parus.

Luisa Ballin est une journaliste italo-suisse accréditée à l’ONU, correspondante du magazine Global Geneva/Italo-Swiss journalist Luisa Ballin is a contributing editor of Global Geneva magazine.

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