How are Italians and Italy described?
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As indicated by its title, Death in Venice consists partially of travel writing from Venice. The world holds three levels of familiarity for von Aschenbach. He is most at home in Munich and Germany, but has ceased to feel stimulated artistically, thus he looks to the exotic to refresh himself. Moving south of Germany to Italy, von Aschenbach is still in familiar territory (he has been here before, he is still in Europe) but the scene is less familiar, and quickly becomes menacing. The unfamiliarity of Italy makes Venice seem a "labyrinth," and the unhealthiness of the air is blamed on the "sirocco," a distinctly Mediterranean phenomenon.