Ted and I watched The Italian Job on a date night back when it was in theaters. I bought the DVD and would turn it on it during college procrastination sessions. There’s that scene at the beginning: magical morning mist, a burst of pigeons rising in unison from St. Mark’s Square, and soon after, a speedboat chase shattering the calm of idyllic Venetian canals.
We were in Italy for a month, surely we could visit Venice, fall in love with the ambience, flirt with cliche, and make it out unhindered by the logjam of 15 million visitors who arrive each year.
Not forty five minutes in, though, and we were ready to call it a mistake. Such a shame, we thought, considering the city’s magical reputation.
We’d taken the train in from Verona, hoping to see the highlights before bidding Italy “Arrivederci!” later in the week. True to warning, sluggish crowds gawking at fake murano glass and glittered Venetian masks clogged the zigzagged streets. Shop windows, mobile stalls, sweaty bodies, pushy people, narrow walkways, dead ends, crowded footbridges and kitschy gondoliers wordlessly taunted us, “Suckers! You’re in for it now!” Continue Reading…