Italy | A Serious Venetian Surprise

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” –Truman Capote

Most of us had been to Venice, and we called it for what it was: mostly, a tourist trap. An overpriced, heavily clogged mess of people and pigeons and pickpockets. Alas, Mary’s desire to see the city was immense, and I certainly owed her a kindness from having forced her aboard a Mykonos-bound sea vessel some years before.  Thus, it was with a general lack of gusto that Mary, Davide, Brooke, and I found ourselves caught in torrential downpour, en route to the famous municipality via car. Mother Nature can be quite mean; the torrent did not let up, even as we trudged along those rocky streets and charming bridges. We were soaked before having gone 100 meters, but resolutely clutched umbrellas in hand and continued on.

To escape the chill of rains in Italy, one must caffeinate immediately. After this, in typical Italian style, it was all about the food. For years, Davide has made an annual trip to Venice with the precise intention of eating at little restaurant buried in the labyrinth of Venice. He insisted on treating us to late lunch here, as he could not bear the thought of our leaving without sampling the delicious fare. Alas, it is difficult to know the exact location of anything in Venice, and once you wander too far from the main river, goodness knows if you will ever find your way out of the giant maze of sprawling, minuscule streets. Thus, we spent a good bit getting lost and meandering nameless hideaways until we found the destination of choice. And, friends, this was a turning point, for what was sure to be a gloomy day turned into one of the best of our lives.

Once seated, an exchange of eager Italian resulted in the emergence of the house white and extensive appetizers du jour. For our mains, we elected to let the waiter decide on dishes, and each space was soon filled with freshly caught fish and other delightful sea creatures for each of our palates. The meal was a brilliant feast, each dish a zesty work of art – every bite was savored, discussed, and analyzed. To finish off, we all tried the limoncello and a bit of caffe as per Italian custom. By the end of our long meal, the digestifs haven taken effect, we were dancing along the Venetian streets with a newfound vigor. Though we had been laughing since we set out, the joy, rain and beauty really hit us in these moments. Particularly enjoyable was Mary’s face upon seeing these splendid new sights: the canals illustrated in storybooks, the worship-worthy churches, the quaint bell towers and bridges. Absolutely drenched, Venice took on a new light: there were almost no tourists, and the thrill of each other was enough to warm us thoroughly. Indeed, we very nearly jumped in a canal after having explored Saint Mark’s Square and strolling happily around. It was a high that a soul rarely knows, an absolute euphoria. So, for this, Venice, I thank you. I thank you for surprising me and exciting me. And to my dearest of friends, I thank you for a lovely, perfect day.

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2 Responses to “Italy | A Serious Venetian Surprise”
  1. Davide says:

    Great day, and your writing just makes the memory of the perfect day so intense in my heart that I have tears in my eyes. The restaurant was called Trattoria Le Antiche Carampane if anybody is interested, an absolute must if you are strolling happily along the streets of the sinking city….

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