A Wanderer in Venice

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER IV THE PIAZZA AND THE CAMPANILE Tbe heart of Venice—Old-fashioned music—Teutonic invaders—The honeymooners—True republicanism—A city of the poor—The black shawls—A brief triumph—Red hair—A band-night incident—The pigeons of the Piazza—The two Procuratie—A royal palace—The shopkeepers—Florian's—Great names—Venetian restaurants—Little fish— The old campanile—A noble resolve—The new campanile—The angel vane—The rival campanili—The welcome lift—The bells—Venice from the Campanile. S MARK'S Square, or the Piazza, is more than the centre of Venice: to a large extent it is Venice. Good Venetians when they die flit evermore among its arcades. No other city has so representative a heart. On the four musical nights here—afternoons in the winter—the Piazza draws like a magnet. That every stranger is here, you may be sure, and most Venetian men. Some sit outside Florian's and the other cafes; others walk round and round the bandstand; others pause fascinated beside the musicians. And so it has been for centuries, and will be. New ideas and fashions come slowly into this city, where one does quite naturally what one's father and grandfather did; and a good instance of such contented conservatism is to be found in the music offered to these contented crowds, for they are still true to Verdi, Wagner, and Rossini, and with reluctance are experiments made among the newer men. In the daytime the population of the Piazza is more foreign than Venetian. In fact the only Venetians to be seen are waiters, photographers, and guides, the knots of errand boys watching the artists, and, I might add, the pigeons. But at night Venice claims it, although the foreigner is there too. It is amusing to sit at a table on the outside edge of Florian's great quadrangle of chairs and watch the ...
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