Nooteboom’s love for Venice, this ‘absurd combination of power, money, genius and great art’, has been ongoing for more than fifty years. The first visit was in 1964, in the company of a young woman. Then, in 1982, he arrived on the Orient Express. Only on his tenth visit did he take a gondola ride. And in 2018 a violent storm cut off the only road and rail connection between the city and the rest of the world, ensuring that he stayed on much longer than planned. He has dived deep into the labyrinth and discovered his own lagoon city between the alleys, locked gates and countless canals. He is surrounded by the dead, and pays homage to the painters and writers who lived and worked there, to the palaces, bridges, painting and sculpture that give the city a kind of immortality.