Today I'm craving pizza, but none of the pizza around here will do. I want the kind we had in Venice, a broad slice with thin, floppy crust, chunky tomato sauce, fresh cheese, and either prosciutto or spicy salami. I want gelato - one scoop hazelnut, one scoop coconut. I want spaghetti al pesto and grilled seabass eaten in candlelight and breeze while the waters of the Grand Canal lap at the deck beneath us.
I want to ride in the sun at the front of a vaporetto (water bus), while unspeakably beautiful buildings slide by one after one after one - pink, yellow, cream, red, white. I want to go inside all the buildings we saw only from the outside. I want to crane my neck to see more ceiling frescoes and enormous paintings. I want to turn a corner and gasp, turn another and gasp again, to see so much beauty my eyes hurt.
I want to go up on the rooftop bar at our hotel in Florence and see the Duomo looming large and uplit orange in the dark sky. I want to lean against a wall and read a creased city map; I want to say all the street names out loud just to hear the way they roll off my tongue. I want to get lost in all the neighborhoods in Venice.
Most of all, I want to go back to the quiet squares in Venice, where the web of narrow streets suddenly opens up and the wind swirls down. I want to sit on the steps of a fountain there, while the local children play around us as if we're just another fixture, and I suppose we are.
Oh, dear readers, I wish I could tell you how much we loved it, especially Venice. Florence is lovely, but Venice is the place that stole our hearts. The 12 hours on a plane? Worth it. The money flowing out of our wallets and into the cash registers of Italy? Worth it.
As our plane took off from Marco Polo Airport, we took one last look out the window at the jewel of a city in the glittering water, and it was like saying goodbye to a friend.
Oh, how I miss it. They say it takes two weeks to form a habit, but I'm addicted already to Venice and the unhurried life we lived this week. My car, my clothes, my office, even my beloved house feel like strangers. I don't want to look at this city full of glinting metal and bumper stickers. I want quiet, pastel Venice. When oh when can I go back?
Italy photos as slide show and photo set. I'll be adding more over the next day or two.
P.S. I also want to watch Rear Window, this time in English instead of dubbed Italian.