'Venice is like a school of life'

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Cat Bauer runs the Venetian Cat blog. Photo: Cat Bauer.
09:39 CEST+02:00
Cat Bauer left Los Angeles for a three-month writing trip to Venice. She speaks to The Local - 15 years later - about why she never left.

What made you decide to move to Venice?

I had always had a fantasy of going to Venice and writing for three months. I was living in LA and my agent in New York said, ‘Why don’t you just do it?’

After three months I didn’t want to go back.

You fall in love with Venice, there’s no other city like it.

There’s so much ancient knowledge here that Venice is like a school of life.

What were the greatest challenges of moving?

I didn’t speak a word of Italian or Venetian when I came here, so I communicated with my heart!

The Venetians are very closed and particular. They’re not easy to get along with, but it’s great when you can manage to communicate with them and they trust you.

For example I’ve worked with the gondoliers. They come from generations of gondoliers and still have their own ancient rules.

What’s the most rewarding thing about living in Venice?

Experiencing the nobility of Venice.

For example to experience this very civilized way of living, of classical music and dinner parties.

It’s very old-fashioned but as an American I have no foundation in this and I really appreciate it!

It’s just such a civilized town.

What’s your favourite event in the city’s calendar?

The Assumption, on August 15th. They move the Pala d'Oro, the gold altar in the Basilica di San Marco.

I’ve had the honour to pray directly in front of it. There’s such energy coming off this ancient wall of gold; that’s my favourite part.

But every month there’s something very unique going on in Venice, all rooted in the past.

Is it easy to find work in Venice?

It’s not easy; it’s a real battle. You have to create opportunities.

Originally I was a novelist for young adults. Then I wrote about Venice and its culture; that’s when I made connections with all these incredible organizations.

Then I made a blog using these contacts, which has local sponsors.

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I also freelance for organizations such as CNN Travel.

What advice do you have for people thinking of moving to Venice?

Come before moving permanently to give it an extended try.

It’s a very different town to live in and it’s not for everybody, it’s completely unusual.

It’s a completely different way of life to the mainland; there are no cars and you have to move around by boat.

But lots of people have the experience of not wanting to leave; they ache when they’re not here. If that happens to you, it’s like falling in love.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. 

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