Last night I watched a little Italian movie on Netflix. The story took place in Venice and seeing the canals, bridges and narrow "streets" of that unique city took me back to the one day I spent there about six years ago.
My middle son, Seth, a violinst, was playing in an orchestra that was doing a concert tour in Austria and Italy. I was one of the chaperons for the one hundred forty (plus) high school kids that had the privilege of playing their music in a few historic cities of Europe.
Our tour began in Vienna and ended in Rome. We went to ten cities in eleven days; the orchestra performed four concerts. This means we hit the ground running and didn't stop to smell the roses anywhere along the way.
It was an amazing and almost overwhelming experience. We saw so much in such a short time it was difficult to take it all in sometimes. This photo was shot at the last concert, an evening outdoor performance at the elegant Terme Tettuccio spa in Montecatini, Italy. I am not a brilliant enough wordsmith to be able to put into words the feeling this mother had hearing her tuxedoed baby boy play Greig and Brahms with his friends under a starry Italian sky. Surreal. I have the photos so I guess it really happened.
After a week of whirlwind travel seeing the sights in Vienna, Salzburg and Cremona, we landed in Venice during the height of the tourist season.
I remember the meal we ate in the evening at the designated taverna for the tour group- risotto. I ate risotto in Venezia! (And lasagna in Roma). From a bridge I drank in the sunset over the waters with background music provided by a guitar soloist in a near-by piazza. Can I use the word "surreal" again? In the evening I skipped out on a scheduled Vivaldi concert in a church so that I could do more walking. I was surprised to find out that the streets were abandoned, the sidewalks rolled up and the tourists gone. In the evening light and the absence of a breeze Venice became much dingier looking and quite... smelly. The feeling was similar to walking through a carnival site after the rides have shut down and people have gone home. I know that there must have been sections of the city where the Venetian residents enjoyed some night-life but I wasn't able to locate those areas in my walking tour.
It certainly takes more than one whirl-wind day to see and understand a place but I was happy to get the impressions of Venice that I have and to revisit them with photographs and movies.