Venice, Italy – “La Dolce Vita” (the sweet life) and “Death in Venice” have already been taken as titles of major novels and films. Decaying Venice is either a place you love or hate; some people see only death and deterioration. Some are fascinated by the sinking city as home to some of the greatest architectural treasures and artworks in the entire world, along with its many notable cemeteries and crypts located throughout the lagoon.
I am a member of the last group. So, what to call a series of articles about this glorious city? What else, but “Life in Venice”! (“Vita a Venezia”). And there is lots of life in Venice!
Our flight arrived at the Marco Polo Airport on Tuesday. After a one-hour boat ride on the Alilaguna into Lido, we treated our friend, Patrizia, to her birthday dinner at Paradise Beach (spicy shrimp and spaghetti), a charming restaurant located right on the Adriatic offering food, and beach privileges. On Wednesday, we secured our vaporetto passes and made a quick trip into Venice, travelling around the lagoon to the Ferrovia train station, then boarding a different vaporetto which took us straight down the Grand Canal. We were able to observe many pieces of art and sculpture along the canal which are part of this year’s Biennale Art Exhibit. A favorite piece for us and for the local Venetians and tourists is the sculpture of the gigantic white hands appearing to “hold up” the C’a D’oro, by artist Lorenzo Quinn. Once back in Lido, we shopped at the Conrad grocery store, filled up empty water bottles at the Wine Shop (7 and a half euros for 3 litres of wine), and enjoyed gelato – fragola (strawberry, we think!) and menta (mint). On Thursday, we made another quick excursion into Venice and had sandwiches and sodas at Giacomo’s Pizza Bar. This Cafe was run by a Chinese staff, and I introduced Jim (Giacomo in Italian) as Giacomo, and they appreciated the joke: Giacomo Davis in Giacomo’s Pizza Bar.
During one of our leisurely strolls into downtown Lido, just 3 blocks from our apartment on the canal, we passed the Roxy Ristorante. I reminded
Jim that the Roxy was where I had plugged in my charger and worked on articles for the The BayNet.com in 2015, spending 2 or 3 hours at a time with a 1/2 carafe of wine and French fries while watching the world walk by on the GranViale. Just as I had finished my story, one of the waiters at the Roxy, Sherwin, saw us standing at the door and recognized me. He repeated what I had just told Jim: he remembered that I had come into the restaurant often to work on my articles. Now, what are the chances of that happening? So of course we sat down at an outside table there and ordered drinks and – – French fries! These fries are delicioso – and not at all like American French fries. They are wide-cut and not greasy. Jim poured Italian balsamic vinegar over his share and pronounced them to be fab. We plan to return to the Roxy for an evening meal in just a few days.
On Thursday afternoon, I spent 3 hours walking up and back on the Lido beach searching for seashells and seaglass and found several little treasures (most rewarding was the “find” of a tiny white ceramic bottle-stopper). I also encountered 3 washed up dead (thankfully!) jellyfish which I was told were called “Medusa”. That name didn’t sound good. We are thinking we will go swimming at this same beach on Saturday; the Medusa probably aren’t any more dangerous here than the bull sharks are in Breton Bay, right?
Tomorrow (Friday) will be a day filled with adventures. We will be taking the vaporetto from Lido and getting off at the San Marco stop in Venice. We will walk to Campo San Luca to meet with the head of the Venice Rotary Club who will present Rotary flags to Jim for the Lexington Park Rotary Club. And as I’ve said to Jim every single day: no matter what plan you make for the day, things will never ever turn out quite the way you expected! At every turn in this city in the sea new surprises will occur. And our vacation is only just beginning!
Please see accompanying photos which will illustrate more about Vita a Venezia.)
Here is a recipe from my Lido friend, Patrizia, for Bellinis:
By: Patrizia Mel
1 litre prosecco or white wine
2 peaches, peeled and cut up
Directions: place peaches in a blender tile smooth. Stir into a pitcher of the wine. Chill. Serve. Delicioso! (Note: You may substitute one cup of strawberries for the 2 peaches).
Thank you, Patrizia Salute, and chin-chin!
Watch for Vita a Venezia 2 to follow soon!