By Lisa T. Bergren, of The World is Calling
View on a Venetian Neighborhood
In Venice, ancient city of mariners and merchants, we rented a second floor apartment facing Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. This wide avenue, once a waterway, now a canal of stone and cement, swirls with grandmothers pushing children too old to be in umbrella strollers (but in them anyway), schoolchildren, businesspeople. Here, the tolling bell of a neighborhood church awakens us each morning, calling parishioners to mass. We hear the creaks and groans of shutters pushed aside, the metallic grate of gates opened in front of tiny shops and markets and bars.
Men set up temporary market stalls, hawking cheeses, bread, fish—and enormous piles of fresh, rose-colored shrimp. One vendor teases/taunts us, tearing off the raw crustacean’s head and legs in a practiced move and offering it to us as a sample. To see if they’re fresh? Or merely as a dare? I smile and shake my head and point back to the vendor, taunting him in turn. He shrugs his burly fishnet-hauling shoulders and sucks it out of the shell—like a pimento out of an olive—raises an eyebrow and nods in exaggerated appreciation. I laugh and purchase a mound for dinner....
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