To Venice We Will Go

This morning I was poking around Google Maps, thinking about what I might want to do in Venice, Italy next year–and I couldn’t remember if I’d been to Ca’Pesaro. Not a crisis, but certainly something that irritated me. In a situation like that, I’d normally head to my travel blog to see if I had a post about it to jog my memory–but my travel blog bit the dust a few months ago. To me, that leaves only one solution: my little blog at this author site is going to have to do double duty. My bad memory demands it!

In point of fact: I have been to Ca-Pesaro. This is going to sound ridiculous, but the thing that finally solidified it in my memory is the museum’s small cafe that is situated right on the Grand Canal. I sat there for an hour with an Aperol spritz during a solo visit to Venice earlier this year, just watching boats flit back and forth on the water. And then I remembered that the museum has an Andy Warhol Brillo Box piece upstairs, among other things. But that is neither here nor there, aside from the fact that it’s strange how much of my sense of recall is based on food and drink.

A friend last year asked me why I keep going back to Venice. He was puzzled–he’d been there and didn’t enjoy it at all. He found it stinky and over-crowded and way too hot. I told him to try again outside the summer months. I’m convinced one’s enjoyment of Venice is entirely contingent on two things: 1] avoiding the city from mid-May through mid-September-ish (the popular cruise ship and day-tripper period) and 2] avoiding the areas around Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square. I am very much a fan of visiting in April. The weather is usually warm but not hot. There are crowds in the usual crowd places, but it’s possible to find peace in Venice outside those hot spots. It smells of jasmine and linden blossoms, maybe a little like salt, instead of sweat and urine. It’s lovely and wonderful. That is why I keep returning. There is nothing quite like arriving at the ferry dock that is connected to the airport, jumping on the Alilaguna, and seeing Venice emerge right in front of you from the water–I get excited about it every single time.

Venice canal at sunsetThat next trip to Venice in 2024 will be my fifth–and my fourth art biennale, the reason I started visited Venice in the first place. What I’m super excited about for this trip is that I might actually be able to communicate in Italian a little better than normal. Before I visit anywhere, I pick up some basic politesse in the local language. With Italian, I have the advantage of having Spanish and French language experience (probably fluent at the level of your average four year old, which isn’t great, but it’s something), so I’ve been able to scramble by over the years–I can get by in Italian when ordering in restaurants, asking directions, etc. As of this morning, though, I made the decision to take Italian at the local community college during spring semester…and I think my husband will take the course with me!

We’ve never academic-ed together before, so it’ll be a new and entertaining experience, for sure. I’ve been thinking about taking Italian at the university where I work for years, but their classes are intensive–an on-campus, hour-long class every single day. I work from home, so that’s not exactly convenient. The community college course is two hours once each week–I can do that, even during this book launch year. And plus, I’ll have a built-in study friend, although it will be interesting to see how my husband approaches all this. I’m a self-admitted grade-grubbing Type A when it comes to school… while my husband is more laid back. Whatever the case, it’ll be nice to have another Italian speaker at my side, even if neither of us knows much!

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