I admit I have a romantic view of Venice. I have been one of those tourists who has fallen in love with the beautiful lady. My visits with her have been too short. And I will admit to every resident of the city, she has given me more than I can ever give back.

I do not deny the struggles La Serenissima has faced for centuries and faces, still. When I have been with her, I have tried to treat her with respect. In my work over the years, I have tried to show her heart and her beauty as I see it.

Because here's the thing: I love La Serenissima's resilience. Despite predictions, she simply will not die. She suffers and struggles but still lives with grace and pride. She still tells powerful stories of art and love and heartbreak and power, and every emotion that can be experienced in the human condition. She is a wise and aging beauty who still touches hearts and souls. I am grateful to her for her inspiration.