That’s Italian for fireman.
I have two fireman stories for you, Venetian firemen, that is.
Years ago a girlfriend of mine was staying in this great little one-star hotel where we knew the owners. (I had stayed there in the past, too, and was friends with the owners, though on that trip I had a little apartment nearby.) Sometimes we’d just pop into this place to say hello, or pick up a spare brochure for something, or use the bathroom. The tiny lobby bathroom had walls about three feet thick and a solid wood door about two feet thick. The lock often stuck, but we always managed to get out okay.
Well, this girlfriend had a very early plane to catch; she was leaving around three in the morning. She thought she’d use that bathroom one last time, and–you guessed it–the door stuck. But this time it wouldn’t open. After mounting panic, she started to make more noise until the night shift guy heard her. He couldn’t open the door, either. Apparently reluctantly, he called the firemen. My friend watched the time slip by, wondering if she’d make her flight. A whole team of firemen arrived and had to hack through the door by the hinges, and through part of the wall, to finally get her out, while she cringed against the far wall. Of course at this point, other hotel guests got up to see what was going on. One guy whispered to my friend, “You have to get a picture with these guys!” Late as she was, she still got the shot–and still made her plane. The firemen were hot (pun intended) and gracious and smiley.
A different girlfriend of mine was in Venice visiting a number of old buildings, including the Teatro Malibran, which used to be the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, which used to be Marco Polo’s house. As she stood staring at the building and perusing its history in her guidebook (that would be Seductive Venice, by the way), a fireman spotted her. “Would you like to see the inside?” he offered. This girlfriend had been to Venice enough times to know this might be a pickup line, and she’d be going into this building with him by herself with no one else around. But firemen are here to protect us, right? She decided to put her trust in the fireman and not pass up this opportunity to see the interior. All went well. Besides, the fireman was hot and gracious and smiley.
Shoutouts to Venetian firemen!