“I’m writing to you from a city cut off from the world. We live here in a perfect solitude that is not an emptiness. Every day we pay a little less attention to what we can no longer do because Venice, in these singular days, brings us back to the essential. Nature has regained the upper hand. The water in the canals is clear and full of fish again. Thousands of birds have settled in the city and the sky, limpid, is no longer scratched by the passage of airplanes. In the streets, at the time of the spesa, the Venetians are once again at home, among themselves. They observe the distances, they talk to each other from afar, but it seems that these days a benevolent community is reuniting, a community that was thought to be forever diluted by the din of the tourist waves. Tourism, many have wanted it, believed they lived off it, staked everything on it until the manna turned against them, escaped them and passed into greedier and bigger hands, making their paradise a hell.
Venice, in these singular days, seems to me to be a metaphor for our world. We were on an angry train that we could no longer stop when so many of us were dying to get out! Wanting something other than all the wonders it already had to offer them, men were destroying Venice. Confusing the essential with the futile, no longer knowing how to look at the beauty of the world, humanity was in the process of running to its doom. I am betting that when we can leave our homes again, no Venetian will want to return to the Venice of old. And I hope with all my heart that, when the danger has passed, many of us on this Earth will refuse to reduce our lives to this forward flight. There are millions of us tonight who ignore when we’ll regain our freedom of movement. Let us be millions to take the freedom to dream of another world. We have weeks, maybe months ahead of us to think about what really matters, what makes us happy.
Night falls on the Serenissima. The silence is absolute. That’s enough for my happiness for now. Andrà tutto bene.”