By Alessandro Carosi
Venice have been my first love ,the only city I have ever been over and over again ,the only city that more I visited and more I liked.
I remember my first trip to this magical place ,it was by a night train that leaved San Benedetto del Tronto my hometown at 10 pm and arrived at 6 am the day after ,I was around 20 years old and obviously to reinforce the Italian stereotype I cheated on the train ticket paying half of the price purchasing it with a Kid discount ,I was lucky that the ticket collector would check only city destination and the date, in Italy we aren’t famous for our work efficiency, I slept pretty well and woke up when arrived, I will never forget the astonishment to across the bridge from Mestre to Venice over looking the Adriatic sea anywhere around me ,on the right ,on the left ,below the train
I felt I was entering some sort of magical realm ,a realm Immediately realised to be special as soon I come out of the train and started to discover this city made of canals ,where there was no cars and the only means of transports was legs and boats.
The peacefulness of the canals ,the magical atmosphere of those hidden streets away from the tourists where the Sacred silent was interrupted only from the sounds of cutlery on the plates of people having lunch ,what an experience ,what I had in front of me was something I would never could even imagine, I was at the beginning of my life journey and after that more and more magical experiences would occur but that was my first encounter with what I could just explain it as unreal, an illusion, no wonder my favourite comic writer, Hugo Pratt, staged a story of Corto Maltese the character that would inspire me to start my life journey around the world, in Venice.
One time I bought a book where the Author would explain where to find the spiritual and magical places in the city ,in my next trips like an adventurer I begun to search for it that made my stay more interesting and got me to discover parts I would never seen otherwise.
Venice is an expensive city due to the high percentage of tourist going to visit it all year around and for me that I’m famous to be tight with money the idea to spend a fortune for just one night would piss me off ,I would normally go for the weekend and mostly in summer so no problem to sleep outdoor ,the authority was quite relaxed about that ,too many tourists doing it and I found out that the ferries would be left open at night ,not that someone would be interested to still one so normally I would go to sleep in one of them.
One night something would change the way I would see and perceive people with money forever ,I believe that episode was a crossroad that would take my life to a completely different path.
In that summer was the second time to go back and for the first time the ferries was locked ,it was strange they never done it before, oh well I thought no big deal I will go to sleep on the bench in San Marco square, I was happily falling asleep when a policeman came and told me I wasn’t allowed to stay, what’s going on? I realised that the council adopted a stricter policy to solve the problem of people sleeping all around to save money and wouldn’t give a good image to the city,or maybe they wanted to push stingy bastards like me to pay for a hostel, I don’t know, all I know was I needed to sleep and I would’t pay a fortune for a stupid accommodation.
I wandered around looking for a place where I could crash, only solution was to sleep on the ground in some hidden street but the thought to be food for the big rats didn’t exciting me and trust me in Venice you will encounter a lot of rats especially at night, after so much searching here we are, the five stars accommodation for any backpacker trying to save money, the train station, why I didn’t think about it earlier but arrived at the main entry disappointment took place all over me, it was close,what the hell only Train station closing at night in Italy, looking around I noticed few people sleeping on the pavement outside the station that meant the police didn’t bother to kick them out, perfect, that would be my bed, I outstretched on the floor and tried to sleep but it was so cold and hard, I kept rolling around trying to find a good position but nothing till something happened that would change me forever, a homeless guy holding cardboards told me to place it on the ground, it would work as a bed and insulate the cold concrete from my body,then he came back with more telling me to use it as a blankets,I fall asleep able to rest for 3-4 hours enough to recharge my energy and to wake up with a new big question mark,why this homeless guy wanted to help me? he had nothing to gain from helping me, he had no reason to do it,no one ever done something like this for me, it was the kindest gesture I would ever experience, at the time I was working in a factory, tapped, treated badly, from young age I learned how for money people were willing to screw you up, my father died for someone like this and my family ruined emotionally but this guy had nothing then just a kind heart, nothing meant everything, simplicity meant all, greediness was the evil emotion that ruined my family and me,that was ruining the world,all in the name of a God made of paper and power, this homeless had nothing but decided to help a young man in search of adventures, why he did it I will never know but for sure I will be forever grateful to have been redirected to an other life path, some people believe that nothing happen by coincidence, everything has a reason to be,life events are made to shape our personalities to send us on the right life path and being on the service of humanity, not everyone gain this understanding but that’s what those event we seen as pure coincidence are made for,then in the moment we become aware of our life purpose we are free to co-create our realities, maybe,maybe,who knows but I like to believe is true.
That homeless guy in Venice changed me,probably he doesn’t know what he did within myself so we don’t know how a small kind gesture can change someone life,isn’t easy to be kind especially when life isn’t kind to us but remember, just one word,just one gesture can transform entirely one person life.