Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The scent of ripe peaches

Ciao bella! Ah, is there anything quite as bitter sweet as the first day back at work after a holiday? Such delicious memories to think back on, but all over…


Well, as expected I ate too much but if you saw the seafood in the Rialto Fish Market then you’d judge a little less harshly. Plus I had the hunkiest fishmonger EVER (see photo above).

Venice may be a small city but it is spectacular: we stumbled across a dazzling firework display for the Festa del Redentore on our second night, a festival to give thanks for deliverance from the plague; a very Venetian interpretation of an age old (and slightly grim) tradition in spectacular modern style.

A happy week encompassed meals of uber fresh fish, drinking bright orange Prosecco spritzes “con Aperol” as we lazed in the afternoon sun, browsing the highbrow culture and lowering the tone by schmooching on every bridge.

There is a tradition for couples in Venice to add a padlock to a bridge, etched with their names. I guess it’s to do with marking something, somewhere, as a permanent reminder. We added ours too, and it makes me smile to think of it there.

My highlights: the tiny tapas-like cicheti served in Al Portego near the Rialto bridge, and Al Bottegan in Dorsoduro, where you can watch the last remaining gondola workshop beavering away as you lazily sip a glass of something frosty. And the fact that every street has a gelato shop, and all with ice cream to die for. More on that later.

The Rialto fish market was packed with exciting produce (snails, argh!) but it was the small canal boats selling fruit and vegetables that really tickled me. I passed one moored to the Ponte dei Pugni bridge just off from the Campo Santa Margherita where the air was thick with the scent of ripe peaches, so juicy that they ran down to our elbows as we ate them.

I never quite managed the cicheti crawl through Venice. The lure of a refreshing glass of something was always far more tempting but that just leaves me something for the next visit. Roll on 2013.


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