Steven Varni

Everyone knows that people on vacation, let loose from the rigors of their daily lives and desperate for a good time, are prone to do some pretty dumb things. And as everyone has long known—from the ancient Greeks, through Shakespeare, …

“I must count as half-lost the year I spent in Venice before I took a house upon the Grand Canal,” wrote the once-influential American writer and editor William Dean Howells. “There alone can existence have the perfect local flavor.” Though …

The image of a gondola has for over a century been synonymous not only with Venice, but with European tourism in general. None of the continent’s other famous tourist icons—not the Eiffel Tower, not the Colosseum—so succinctly embodies all at …

It was the best of decisions. It was the worst of decisions. It was, if you believe Italy’s Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi, a triumph for the city of Venice. It was he who announced on August 8 that beginning in …

I’m a book person, having devoted pretty much all of my adult life to them in one capacity or another, from working as the book-buyer and manager of independent bookstores, to editing them, to publicizing them, to writing them. And …

It’s easy to be completely overwhelmed by the spectacle of Venice. For nearly a thousand years people have been describing it as nothing less than a feast for the eyes, and in our present ever-more visual culture it’s common to …

Childhood is in the details. Perhaps this is obvious, I don’t know. But it occurred to me recently that as much as we adults might, in depicting childhood, get caught up in the sweep and swoon and sentiment and swim …

It’s not easy to be a dog in Venice. Plots of grass or even of unpaved earth are rare, as are trees. There are few open public spaces of much size, and even the city’s one substantial park–on the island …

According to a recent article in the New Republic magazine about the admissions process of Ivy League universities, a college like Yale now considers any applicant whose parents have no more than a high school education “a genuine hardship case.” …

  The unveiling at the end of this summer of a large new piece of playground equipment in the park on Sant’Elena where Angelina and Brad used to take their kids during the filming of her movie The Tourist, reminded …