• Nicoletta Fornaro

In Castello Eating Chocolate Pastries on a Foggy Day

The first thing that is taught when studying the difference between Florentine and Venetian Renaissance is that the first is line and drawing, while the latter is light and colour. In such case, the Venetian painters of the time must have chosen perfectly clear days with magical dusks and dawns, because actually some days the light in the lagoon can be so harsh to make my fair eyes cry. It's not that it isn't sunny, it's just that the sun is hidden by a thick layer of humidity, so the light results thin and the feeling is the one of walking in a ghost town.

But Venice is so beautiful that it is appealing even in these dull days, and not only to the eyes, but also to the nose, with a pleasant odour that reminds me of dew. Yes, okay, maybe taking pictures may be a little more complicated, but... who cares? After all, I embrace the praise the imperfections philosophy and I appreciate images that tell me a little something of the real world too!

With Carnival over, the city is now calm. Not that I found it particularly crowded for the feast, it was only at the weekends that locals and visitors alike experienced moments of panic, but for the rest it seemed more or less like usual. The truth is that Carnival as we know it today was launched in the 80s exactly to make people come to Venice in a cold and foggy period, to fill hotel rooms and make the economy go round. Before that everything revolved around Fat Tuesday and Thursday and the only ones wearing costumes were small children, with the boys disguised as cowboys and the girls as princesses. Then came the 80s and things changed.

My husband worked very hard in this period, as he was in charge of the costume atelier of Antonia Sautter's Doges Ball, one of the most exclusive events in Venice and in the world. So, yesterday that he was home in the afternoon for the first time after a full month, he just wanted to relax, go for a short walk, do some shopping and then lie on the couch, while watching his Crozza Italia, reading the papers and eating comfort food. I was looking forward to spending some time together, as I was missing him. Besides, I love our afternoons spent doing nothing...

As you know, we live in a side corte of Ruga Giuffa, so for our walk we decided to go towards Ss. Giovanni e Paolo. The first destination was the historical pastry shop Rosa Salva, where we bought four pastries to take home: two croccantini with chocolate and two with pistachio. From there we went to Panificio Crosera to buy some bread and then proceeded towards F.Ta Nove to enjoy a walk with a view! Excluding the F.Nove vaporetto stop, it is always quiet and peaceful here.

Once passed the hospital bridge, there is really no one. We were heading to my absolute favourite supermarket, located next to the rowing club Canottieri Querini, thus in a totally unique and unconventional area! But before arriving there, we explored two very special porticos. In the first one, on your right there is a lovely shop where it is also possible to repair old objects, while the second one is called Berlendis and is one of the most photographed spots in Venice, as inside it has some 'remains' of an old house wall. Recently, the film director Sorrentino filmed a couple of scenes of the new Young Pope here, and it seemed magical, as it was crowded by actors dressed up as normal people engaged in normal everyday activities.

Then we just kept kept walking along the fondamenta, crossing the different bridges and stopping to look at one of the few squeri still operating (shipyard for gondolas), until we reached our destination (the Coop supermarket...) and bought all the essentials like coffee for the mocha, olive oil, pasta and other small bits.

It's funny that, although according to Vito he is Epicurean and I am Naturally, I sometimes buy the cheaper olive oil with mixed grapes from the EU (just because it's cheaper and I use it to cook and not to dress salads or make hummus, etc.), while when I'm with him he reprimands me if I even look at it, reminding me that he wants to buy 100% Italian (possibly organic and unfiltered....) because at least he knows the disciplinary laws the production has to respond to... and I just obey and put it in the trolley!

And I can't even complain... because as it is said, birds of a feather flock together!

Anyway, with the shopping done it was time to go home and switch to our comfy tracksuit mode! We took the long way and passed behind San Lorenzo, where the scientific high school is. Once home I put on a mocha, heated some milk to make a nice foam for Vito's cappuccino, while for myself I just heated some water (dear Italian friends, I know you disapprove of this ... but please, forgive me!!!). I also noticed that the pink flowers we had bought in Santa Maria Formosa on Saturday were fading, so I separated the tops from the stems and wrapped them between two old sheets of paper, leaving them inside an old book to dry.

Finally, we unwrapped the pastry tray, armed ourselves with spoons and napkins and sat on the couch. I realise it may not seem fun, but for me... these days are perfect! Each of us has different priorities in life and right now... mine is to focus on my affections and enjoy the small things that the everyday has to offer.

With love,



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