The weather report was for rain so we wanted to get going. Ken and I went downstairs to the bar and the father/owner was there. He began telling us about the “Teatro in Barca” (theater on a boat) that is a Venetian tradition. People on boats gather in the little bay at Arsenale and there is a play. You watch from your boat. At the end of his long Italian explanation his wife comes out of the kitchen and is asking about raincoats; it becomes clear to me that they are actually inviting us to be their guests for afternoon on their sailboat to see the theater. I am so touched by their kindness but we decline—mostly because we want to be with Pat and Bob and also because I cannot imagine sitting out in a boat in the cold rain. They said, “next time” and we said yes.
We get to Palazzo Ruzzini and have a great chat with the two guys behind the desk. Mario has now become our best friend and the other, tall, gray haired, officious one shows us a drawing of his grandfather who was a famous gondoliere. These moments are priceless and are truly what charge the magnetic pull of Italy for me.
The boat for Murano arrives. Even though I’ve read horror stories about taking these free excursions to see glass in Murano, we are assured there will be no pressure but, of course, no ride back if we leave the Signoretti factory. The ride is only about 10 minutes—flying through the lagoon in style. We arrive at a factory that, by appearances, could be a small hotel in the Caribbean. It is painted sea blue and white and lots of tropical plants line the walkway. We are never really left alone, ushered into the demonstration, which is totally impressive.
First the master makes a horse and then a vase while another man does the explaining. I love how, after he completes the piece, he touches a small square of paper to it and it bursts into flames—it’s that hot! From there we are lead into a string of showrooms—small chandeliers, larger more ornate ones, vases, glassware, and sculpture. Pat looks at some earring right before we exit but no purchase. We walked from there all along the fondamenta looking in some of the other shops. View from the walk:
Pat and I got Kathryn a very pretty pendant in one of them. We can tell it is just about to pour so we decide to head back—for lunch, of course.
Osteria al Ponte is right across the calle from our apartment and is always full of people so I decide to go in and see if they have “take out”. They do, so I proceed to ask about all the different looking cold fish dishes they have—just on platters behind the counter. I got some branzino and something called cagneletto which looked like it eel—I have to look it up—and some little shrimp, eggplant, beans, zucchini and, of course, two salami panini. It was totally chaotic in there but the woman behind the counter insisted that I drink a glass of prosecco before I leave.
They serve it from an old fashioned, blue glass seltzer bottle. So we go upstairs and I notice the guy in the rooftop garden across the way is looking up and that another man is lifting a basket, on a string. The picture, in this case, doesn't really tell the story but it was a weird thin I noticed--a lift for herbs???
eat and go to our respective rests.
Ken and I took a nice little walk later on and then we got ready to go to dinner. We had a reservation at Osteria dei Orto Mori and it was a good thing because they turned away some people who didn’t. Our meal was outstanding. The place is different from any other I’ve been to in Venice. It is very contemporary, cozy, arty, but noisy with the tables quite close together. It could have been in any big city in the US. The food was really excellent. We started with a mixed fried seafood and vegetable platter. There were two kinds of a lot of vegetables, shrimp and calamari with a wonderful thin batter, no trace of oil. Then Ken had shrimp with asparagus (well cooked and chopped in the center of a long, white, rectangle plate) and Pat and Bob shared a terrific salad of pears, parmigiano, fennel and walnuts over lettuce. Bob had steak in nebbiolo sauce, which he loved. Ken had pappardelle with white ragu and peas. He was not as thrilled with his choice but I thought it was delicious. Pat and I shared a stunning dish—thin veal rolled around asiago and Parmigiano cheese and wrapped in bacon. So when you cut into the roll, the melted cheese oozes out. The bacon was sweet and salty—the whole combination in the mouth—I loved it! Our plate also included some lovely green beans. We ordered, what I thought was the best wine of the trip, so far: Ronco dei Tassi Collio—a blend of red grapes from Friuli and velvety soft. We were all just too full for dessert although they looked interesting around the dining room.
We walked back to the vaporetto stop in the rain. It was fun to have the whole front cabin to ourselves.
Another perfect day!