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Report 884: Single and Solo in Italy: One Woman's Tale of Love, Latte and The Pursuit of Happiness...

By teachick from Los Angeles, CA, Winter 2005

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Page 3 of 6: And Then There Was Venice...

photo by Kathy Bray

I like traveling to my own rhythm. I turn where it feels right to turn. I stop when I want to eat and I flirt with whomever I want to as I am single, free, and independent. Sometimes itís just nice being a woman.

I wind up at the CAFFE FLORIAN that night to have a pot of tea. As I wander in and take a seat at one of the only available tables, I realize two things: first that it is ridiculously expensive for one pot of tea and secondly that I am the ONLY single person there. There are couples EVERYWHERE! And then it hits me: Itís St. Valentineís weekend and I am in the most famously romantic city in the world - alone! What was I thinking?

Okay, so Iíve realized my snafu and I promptly up and leave the Florian. I opt for a small bar in the Castello area and I order up my favorite drink of Amaro Montenegro. I have landed at the BAR ROYAL and I end up going the next day as well. I can write there in peace and have that public solitude that I so often crave. It is also a small and quiet place and they offer up pieces of cheese for sale as well. I like that I am left alone there, plus they give me huge glasses of my Montenegro. After an hour or so of writing I head back to the Astoria for a long and much deserved hot shower and bed.

The next day I travel around the city some more. I have to admit Iím not in love with Venice. It is crowded and I often feel claustrophobic. And as someone who has spent time on film sets and lives in Los Angeles where you can almost stumble on to a film set without even meaning to, being in Venice feels just like a film set to me. Itís so crazy beautiful itís like the land of make believe. It is wonderful and freakish all at once. It makes me miss Florence. I actually feel like I need to go home and home is Florence to me now when in Italy.

Later that evening I head back in the direction of the Bar Royal as I am ready to hunker down for a spell of writing and Montenegro. I canít find it. I admit it; I am utterly lost. I ask the first man I see if he can help me. Okay I must confess here that he happens to be a rather handsome man at that. He proceeds to tell me in quite good English that although he is indeed Italian, he is from Rome and is a tourist in Venice as I am. He decides he will ask people for directions and we will find my bar together. Not only that, he INSISTS heíll buy me a drink as well. Well, if you insist I say (downright handsome at that!). We spend the next half hour looking for the street and just as weíve given up because clearly I have lost my mind and this place never existed we walk RIGHT INTO IT. You see that kind of stuff does happen in the movies, right? Iím telling you...

He orders us our drinks and he proceeds to tell me all about himself. Heís 29 and he is an investigator with the Italian Police (Carbinieri). He is finishing his law degree and is staying in Venice for three weeks as he is doing some training there. He is handsome but talks so much I want to swallow my tongue. Iím a talker. This man makes me look like a full blown mute. But, he is pleasant company and he buys me drinks. The more I drink the less he seems to be talking. Itís working out nicely. His name is Marco and he insists on walking me back to my hotel. As we make our way to my hotel I tell him a bit about Bologna boy and he tells me he is crazy to let a woman like me be on my own in Italy. He is the second man to say this to me on this trip. I, of course, agree. He MUST be crazy.

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