I’ve decided to begin a sporadic series. Every now and then I’ll dip into my journals and type up something about Venice. It’s been a while, but here’s a new installment. Stefano is one of the gondoliers I befriended back in 1997 when I was writing my book about gondoliers. (I think the original journal is from Feb. 2001.)
We ran into Michela on our way back from SS Giovanni e Paolo. She was with baby Sara and Stefano’s mom and they invited us to dinner Friday night at 7:00. While we were walking with them, Stefano’s mom pointed to some dog poop and said, “Attento!”
The funny part of the afternoon was when the doorbell rang at our apartment. La nonna, the owner, was there looking very worried and nervous. She was asking about my Italian friends in the room. I was quite confused (wondering if my Italian language skills were really just that bad) until I realized that she thought I had a man (men?) in the room. Apparently, since Stefano had dropped off a CD for me earlier to the hotel next door, now all the neighbors were gossiping. Of course La nonna didn’t want to believe there was a man since “I am her family.” She seemed very relieved when I walked her to the bedroom and showed her Karen and Dawn (who were stifling giggles from their jokes about stuffing the men under the bed).
When we arrived to Stefano’s house later, he was making gnocchi at the kitchen counter. Dawn had him tell her the whole recipe. Once he had kneaded the potato with flour, he rolled it into a cylinder, cut this into pieces, and rolled each one on a grater to give it pockmarks. Then into the pot. We also ate a salad of finocchi, which we discovered was fennel.
We also looked at their wedding album. Such a beautiful thing. Stefano, especially, looked so young. He was saying that it was just a normal day for them, but I asked Michela and she said, “No!” so I whacked Stefano.