Venice: Me in the middle of paradise | Io nel mezzo del paradiso

Giorgio rows in his sciopon, a traditional boat of Venice, through the abandoned canals of the city. It is a feeling he will never forget. An image of him, in the middle of paradise, was captured by a photographer. Here, Giorgio reflects on this unique moment.


At the moment this picture was taken, depicting myself in the middle of paradise, I found myself at the crossroads of three unanticipated conditions.


The first condition is Venice's lockdown which has been imposed by the Italian government. Actually, on those days it was still allowed to row on your own. Nowadays, you cannot go further than 200 metres from your home. The second is my decision to explore Venice in a sciopon, a traditional Venetian craft, exploiting the total absence of motorboats. The third condition is the presence of a photographer, who actually knows me, but did not recognise me at first.

When I was on my own in my sciopon, these conditions met. I experienced different layers of the state of being and the space, by accepting the inevitable. In an attempt to feel most alive at the best place possible, I witnessed and experienced this moment.

'In an attempt to feel most alive at the best place possible, I witnessed and experienced this moment'

Photo by Marco Sitran

I'm not a philosopher, nor a politician or a sociologist. I have no particular knowledge nor skills to analyse the impact the current restrictions have on our lives. Of course, sooner or later, I will have to face the economic challenges that undoubtedly I will suffer from, as much as anyone else.


Instead of trying to analyse it, I decided to live in the moment - as this was still possible at the time. The photograph depicts my credo. To get my boat and go. Visiting places no one has ever thought of before. Will I ever experience this level of freedom again? A feeling of pure, holy loneliness.

'Will I ever experience this level of freedom again? A feeling of pure, holy loneliness'

I will never forget those four hours, which I spent rowing along all the abandoned and quiet canals. To pass underneath the Ponte dei Sospiri and enter the Bacino di San Marco. Will I ever experience this again? What it offered me, with all its majestic beauty? A unique intimate feeling in such a wide space.  


I'm a lucky person.

This story was shared by Giorgio, a resident of Venice, Italy.

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