Venice – Secrets and Masks

It is the Labour Day weekend. Venice is full. My first twenty minutes on the island are spent stuck in a slow moving mass. It takes an eternity before my husband and I escape into a derelict lane; it’s the back alley of a Venice hotel. The kitchen doors are cracked open and the madness is visible.


Along a street corner, a gondolier is taking a break. He is slumped over a black chair, his arms and head rest on his thighs. Even if he wasn’t in uniform, his upper arm muscles would give away his profession. His hat sits near his feet.


Walking around tiny streets we came across a local grocery store. It looks out of place amidst the souvenir shops and Italian high fashion, a crack in the facade the city puts up.


It’s hard to go wrong with pizza. It should be impossible to go wrong with pizza in Italy. But it happens in Venice. Not only is the food awful, but a waiter drags out two stuffed garbage bags in the middle of our meal. If that isn’t enough, the manager yells instructions at the top of his voice and then promptly drops a tray of spoons on the tiled floor.


You can’t hide in Venice. Be it drying laundry or a troubling thought, it all gets captured in a stranger’s camera.


Sitting on a bench along the promenade, I spot an old lady looking out of her window. Her hair is white and pulled back, her brows are pulled together. She sits on ledge oblivious to the passing cameras. A shard of sunlight hits her face. She still has high cheek bones.

6 thoughts on “Venice – Secrets and Masks

  1. Lovely, poetic writing as always, although the pizza bit is disappointing. Haha. Love the detail about the gondolier’s arms too, never considered that fact.

  2. Great post. This totally captures my experience of Venice: crowded and overrun with tourists (and woefully bad food), but with a bit of magic still lurking down the alleyways. My memories of the city are not of the big sights, but the searingly beautiful images like the ones you capture: a man loading produce onto to a boat, two college girls gossiping over cigarettes in a doorway.

    Nicely done! (And love your tag line BTW!)

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