"In Venice," Gabriele D'Annunzio writes in Il fuoco, "one cannot think except through images."
With the image above I found myself thinking of a work of Alberto Giacometti's from the late 1940s entitled Piazza that you can see at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum here in Venice.
The museum's website provides Giacometti's own explanation for the work's (or series of works') inspiration:
In the street people astound and interest me more than any sculpture or painting. Every second the people stream together and go apart, then they approach each other to get closer to one another. They unceasingly form and re-form living compositions in unbelievable complexity. . . . It’s the totality of this life that I want to reproduce in everything I do. . . .
One of the things that is lost to mass tourism is the dynamism of the public space, whether piazza or campo, as described by Giacometti. Mass tour groups simply clump or trudge, volitionless; tourists, needing to be nowhere in particular, and not knowing how to get there in any case, merely drift, washing up on steps, clotting in calli, adhering to any brightly lit display window, like sea wrack.
But sometimes, and in some places, on brisk fall or winter nights (or mornings), you can still see what Giacometti had in mind.