Some years ago I visited Venice. I was only there a few days, but it’s a small place (the island I was on anyway, which is the best known one) and the faces quickly became familiar. I would duck into the glassmakers’ shops near the Piazza San Marco and eat in cafés along the Grand Canal, the Ponte Rialto looming behind me. It was lovely, and the locals (well, the men) took to calling me “Calletta.” I have no idea why. My Italian is extremely limited (it’s mostly menu items), and I couldn’t get them to explain the name satisfactorily. As I understood it, the name might mean “little bird” or “little lily.” But it was pretty, and it seemed like they were being affectionate, so I didn’t mind.
One of the nights I was there we had a freakish hail storm, very strange for June. The power on the island went out while I was having pizza in a little restaurant. They foisted gelato on me to keep it from going to waste. Funny the things you remember.
I’d like to go back to Venice, in large part (and this is a bit strange maybe) because I didn’t end up buying any glass while I was there, and I regret that now. I thought at the time that I really had no use for a beautiful punch bowl or whatever, and that having it shipped home would be a hassle, but next time I go—I like to believe there will be a next time—I’ll think differently.