Perhaps my favorite day of the Venice trip was our vaporetto (a public water taxi) excursion to Burano and Torcello. We had visited these islands on our first trip a few years ago and I loved being out on the Lagoon so much that I thought my students would really appreciate it, also. To understand the work of some of the finest painters of Venice, like Turner and Whistler, you have to get out onto the water (where some of them painted after hiring gondolas) to see the light effects that they felt so compelled to paint. I took this photo in the late afternoon as our vaporetto returned to Venice. It reminded me of the lines about Venice from Shelley's poem Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills: Sun-girt city, thou hast been/ Ocean's child, and then his queen;/Now is come a darker day,/And thou soon must be his prey,/If the power that raised thee here/Hallow so thy watery bier. Researching the poem, I discovered that Shelley wrote these lines in October 1818. I was struck by his awareness even then, of Venice's tenuous grip on terra firma. Seeing Venice in early and late light was only one of the many pleasures of being out on the Lagoon. Just as remarkable was the opportunity to see the greater watery world from which Venice arose. Once again I saw a good array of water birds, including this egret and the swans. There are some extensive wetlands in the Lagoon, and it always lifts my spirits near big cities to find wildlife flourishing.