Luisella Romeo’s reputation preceded her. I had heard so much about her knowledge and passion for Venice before I got to meet her last summer. I was also delighted to have her contribute to First Spritz Is Free: Confessions of Venice Addicts, where she shared the story of rowing in a sandolo with her grandfather plus the moment she realized she could no longer get lost in Venice. Luisella has been a licensed tourist guide in Venice since 2000. She started her own blog on Venice in 2015 as she discovered she liked sharing her passion for Venice and for its human stories, not just while she worked. Luisella has always loved writing, but also taking photos and living in Venice is a great experience in this sense thanks to its amazing light and reflections. Read more below to see how she responded to the “Venice, My Muse” interview questions.
How has Venice seduced you?
Venice is a city that seduced me for its ever present beauty, for its quiet waterways and silence already when I was a child. When walking on my own or crossing the canals on a boat I felt a sense of freedom and a sense of solitude that I loved! Nowadays it’s less easy to find these places, but they still exist just as in Corto Maltese’s stories.
What do you never fail to do in Venice?
That’s surprising. I never miss looking north, hoping to see the Dolomites, just like in the paintings by Titian, coloured pink or blue at sunrise or sunset, or after a storm. They appear magnificent over the lagoon water. So, yes, I need to see the mountains!
What is your Venice soundtrack?
The sound of my footsteps along the street at night. But also the early baroque music by Claudio Monteverdi, the “maestro di cappella” in St. Mark’s Basilica in the 1600s, with its gentle notes.
Walk or take a boat?
As a tourist guide, I walk a lot, but I love rowing, it’s something really relaxing and connecting me to the lagoon and its environment.
Which church or campo best epitomizes you? Please explain.
I love the Campo dei Gesuiti. A long time ago, I started studying its history, and as it was my first historical research, it earned a special place in my heart. But the beauty about it is that after all these years, this square has still a lot of history to uncover for me, and I keep on learning more about it! A fascinating, never ending story!
Which is your favorite Venetian festival and why?
I would say the Salute festivity on November 21st. When my grandma was still alive, I used to accompany her to the holy service and help her with the candles and prevent her from being squeezed in the crowds of pilgrims.
Spritz or Bellini?
None! Maybe spritz with Cynar, but I don’t dare spoil a glass of prosecco with anything else!
What do you always tell friends to do when they visit the city?
I tell them they should visit the city museums and the workshops of the local artisans. I find it incredible that there are museums in Venice that risk to close down because not enough people visit them. Not to mention how many visitors miss understanding artisans’ heritage.
If you could have dinner with any Venetian, living or dead, who would it be and why? What would dinner be?
Oh, that’s a cruel question to ask somebody like me that loves history and art! A long list. Writers, artists, famous politicians, notable women of the past, as Elena Corner Piscopia, the first woman to get a degree at the university. But, if we talk about having dinner with them, well, I have to confess that when I have dinner, I don’t like talking, as it distracts me from enjoying flavors! So I would need some gourmet companion appreciating silence while eating!
Casanova: genius or cad?
I think he was very good at promoting himself, but in fact it’s sad that he is mainly considered just as a “Casanova,” don’t you agree?
What would you do with $30,000 U.S. to spend in Venice?
I am not an expert in costs and business plans, but I would like to help organic farming on the island of Sant’Erasmo and promote the cultivation of local and healthy produce.
If money were no object, which palazzo would you buy?
I would like to buy the Fondaco dei Tedeschi [a palace built in 1508 recently turned into a luxury mall] and turn it into a space promoting Venetian local crafts.
Which gelato flavor are you?
Definitely ginger gelato — and there’s one place only where that is really good and well made!
How can readers learn more about you and your creative pursuits?
Check out Luisella’s blog for more of her travel tips and highlights of Venice plus lots of history and art, at seevenice.it/blog.