The first times, you feel lost in Venice's nights.

Venice does not resemble anymore the city it was during the day. It is another world. You can walk around for a long time by hushed alleys with the sound of your lonely paces; alleys which impose you the way as they will, making you wind and wind and come back to the same bridge, passing by shut doors and windows.

The breeze comes in by channels. It is filled with the scents of the sea : it smells water, tide, it smells nice; it makes you long for space and high sea; it takes away your worries, the time to breathe in the air which urged Venetians to sail the seas.

What a strange feeling, being there in the night snug and warm - just like a child in its bed!

In Venice, night is present and touchable. An opaque night that devours houses, destroys patches of squares, consumes canals; a thick night, impossible to penetrate.

Nevertheless, light pierces night. It abandons an enchanting spray of light in the end of an alley, and upon the quayside something like the luminous steps of an angel; it shapes out a sharp edge in a winding alley, lets a romantic balcony loom, outlines the small enigmatic stone sculptured heads which will tomorrow hold the shutters. Some motionless steps hang over the emptiness, a bridge begins to shine in the dark like a hallucination and a well draws its oblique shadow on the iridescent pavement.

The light shows the track and asks : why did we come here, where does this dark alley lead, what is there behind the bridge?

Palaces watch with gaping eyes, the teeth of their balconies shape a strange smile, the monsters of the night move about. Dear shades of the past, it is as if you were dancing, lame and disfigured by trials; like old friends, who would have preceded us and who are winking at us to show that they have come and that we are not alone.

Silent houses rise in the night; big buildings seem to float adrift; bridges stretch forth towards an invisible world. Other houses crowd beneath a lantern; the inky still water of the canal closes back when the boat is away.

Night is Venice's dominion.

Venice lets you roam in its antre and goes along with you, quivering with a searching look. "Who are you? Have you come as a friend or as a foe?"

If you are a foe, Venice draws back behind its plain bricks, flaked off roughcast, winding alleys, monuments, churches, doors and windows, canal smells.

If you are a friend, Venice rejoices at having found you, laughs and weeps. "One can cry in Venice".

Sometimes it rains in Venice, like an overflow of sadness that pours out with limp warm drops. You shelter out of the wet under the cheerful arcade of a gateway, and you look at the pavement in the dark, worn round by the steps of passers-by, glinting in the dancing light of falling rain. You nibble a piece of bread and listen to the rain which is covering the town.

The breeze of the sea springs up; the clouds make way for the stars; a wet warm wind sweeps into the gateway and delights you. The pavement dries up quickly, here and there small puddles are left where the shivering light of a lantern or the peeling facade of an old palace are reflected. To humans it is the time to be free of struggles and worries, for sinking into unconscious delightful sleeping. Their peaceful breath persists in refusing the coming dawn, the blue gleam of which is growing in the sky, the chill sharp cold of which is gripping you, the sonorous sounds following the first rays, the morning light slightly appearing and shaping shadows and houses, lastly swallowing the poor dreaming light of the lanterns.

Legs are heavy and eyes tired. "Cafè?"