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I left Los Angeles for Venice on April 8, 1998, planning to stay for three months to write, the amount of time an American could stay on a tourist visa. When the three months were up, I stood in the middle of Piazza San Marco, weeping. I didn't want to go back to Los Angeles. My then-husband didn't want to come to Venice, so I went back to LA and started divorce proceedings. I was back in Venice by September with an extended visa, and have lived in Italy ever since. "In Hollywood, behind the facade there is only illusion. In Venice, behind the facade is where reality begins." ---Cat Bauer I fell in love with Venice on our first vacation here, back in 1991. I wandered off alone, strolling through the calli and campi , astonished that such a city could exist. I took the vaporetto to the Lido and back, sitting outside in the front seat, not knowing exactly where I was going... swept up in the journey... just enjoying the ride. Venice felt so fami

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