Venice is a maze of twisty streets, all alike. As with most mazes, the walls are much less interesting than the paths. The shopping is shit: it’s either Gucci, Prada, or street vendors selling plastic bath toys. There’s very little in between. Save for the overpriced restaurants and the occaisional art gallery, there’s little reason to ever set foot indoors.

The maze consists of tiny streets and the famous canals intertwined. Venice is like a bonsai tree among cities. It’s been cramped in the same small space for so long it’s grown stunted and warped. (I’m ignoring Mestre, which we didn’t visit. It’s a suburb on the shore of the lagoon half an hour’s bus ride from old Venice. That’s where the locals eat and sleep. I hear it’s rather normal compared to the theme-park atmosphere of central Venice).

As a city, Venice is disappointing, but as a maze it’s astoundingly intricate and the finest I’ve ever explored. If I ever do a game prototype that demands a maze, I’m going to be tempted to crib from Venetian satellite imagery.

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