"OOOH. What is this?" I cry to the slightly disheveled middle-aged man with spectacles seated behind an over-piled desk.
"It's not for sale. It's the only thing in the shop that's not for sale. It's the only painting that exists that was done by my father," and this leads us into conversation with this British ex-pat who has lived in Venice and sees the world from his small stuffed library of a shop. Chris buys a tiny Oxford University Press book Marlowe's 'Faustus" and Goethe's 'Faust' and we move onward to find Scriba the small gallery where I again torture the poor young and hip saleswoman by pouring over again and again the pointillist work of Rosario Morra which I find quite compelling. I can't make up my mind. We ask Alessandra where SHE would eat and, very helpfully she writes down the places she would go. One of them is ai Promessi Sposi on the Calle dell'Oca. We think this will be the place to head for and we start our quest. It turns into an overly long and winding trip through the maze of calles and campi and canals.
|We bought this art of
the Jewish Ghetto because it|
reminded us of how we felt in the Jewish Ghetto.
As we wend our way through some very narrow and steep alleys that are almost claustrophobic, I think of our guidebooks — that because it was a confined area for the Jews, they were allowed to build higher than elsewhere in Venice. As the sky darkens and the building walls seem to be closing in, thinking we are yet again lost there in the middle of the alley stands Valentina from our first night at Antice Stellato! She is smoking outside the restaurant next to a chef who is eating from a handheld plate of food.
”It’s the James Family!” she announces to her friend, who looks at her, startled that she knows this strange couple approaching.
“Valentina!” we sing out, smiling to find her here, knowing that the food inside will be good. "Someone told us to come here and—"
“You must, you must, you MUST have the beef tartare! It is magnifico!" she interrupts, "and the orechietto with caper pesto! You will LOVE it!!!”
We are introduced to her friend (who had a Greek god's name I can't remember), chat a bit and then head inside to find a cozy and romantic place with cream-colored walls, rustic wood-beamed ceilings, handkerchief-covered light pendants — and Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett playing in the background. It is perfect and so is our beef tartare, pasta and wine.
As we come and go down our fondamente, we pass by these magnificent doors day and night. The door knobs are crowned heads in brass. Our time in Venice is coming to a close.