We’re on Dan’s birthday trip; he wanted to see Italy and Greece (I guess some of that classical education penetrated the neurocranium) and so we’ve planned to divide the trip into three: Venice, Rome, Athens.

Venice is IMPOSSIBLE to navigate. You just have to stare at the sky, keep walking, and hope you run into 1) the railway station, 2) the Grand Canal, or 3) a church big enough to be on your totally inadequate but picturesque map. A good part of our four days in Venice has been spent peering around corners looking for signs that say “Alla Ferrovia” (that takes you to the railway station) or “Per Rialto” (those roads lead to the biggest bridge across the Grand Canal). Unfortunately many of the signs are gone and have been replaced by placards which may or may not be pointing in the correct direction, depending on whether they’ve been pinned up by an Actual Authority or by someone with nothing better to do at 2 AM.

Like the roads, our trip to Venice has had no particular narrative; it’s been more like a series of vivid images. Venetian history, which I’ve been working on as part of Volume 3 of the History of the Entire World, is a little like that too.

So here are a series of images.

The view from our lunch table yesterday,

and from our lunch table today.

Shop windows.


Dan after the opera–La Traviata at the Opera House–having scored a piece of chocolate cake from a cafe just about to close its doors. The opera made him hungry; they had pity.

Dan, budding violinist, on the trail of Vivaldi.

The weirdness of discovering that the trees and shrubs of Venice are almost identical to the ones at home. Here’s a magnolia,

and we spotted holly, cedars, Virginia creeper, chaste tree, and this trumpet vine, which just proves that my mother was right all along, and if you don’t pull them up they’ll take over the world.

And speaking of the missing narrative…we wrapped our visit to Venice up with a trip to the international architectural festival which happened to be taking place this week. I struggled with this. Dan’s interested in architecture; it’s not my language. The exhibits were largely mute to me, even when I was trying very hard to hear.

(Pete is also puzzled.)

Heading for Rome tonight; more shortly.

Showing 7 comments
  • Kendra Fletcher

    Love this, Susan. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ellen

    My response to the architectural exhibit: Hmmm.

    I’m wondering at the significance of “historical pasta.” Anything like the food Egyptians placed in the tombs with the deceased?

  • Jeff

    What an awesome adventure!

  • Christine

    I don’t recall Venice being hard to navigate. . .We were only there one day though, so we probably didn’t go too far off the beaten path.

    Case in point: I didn’t realize they had trains!

  • Sebastian (a lady)

    What fun. I should plan something like this. And of course it would be justification for making several wonderful trips back to some places we’ve loved.

    While you’re in Rome, a trip to Ostia is well worth the trip. But double check which day of the week they are closed.

  • Kathleen

    Historical Pasta; Not Sexy. This is a great name for a book. Not sure what it’d be about, but it certainly is an attention grabber.

  • Pam

    Thanks for chronicling your trip. We just took our 16 yr.old in May 2010 and we hit Lake Como, Venice and Milan. THE best pizzas we ever tasted! With Venice you have to just follow the crowd and they will lead you to the Piazza San Marco which seems to be everyone’s ultimate goal.

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