Venezia is a wide city, so wide (not geographically), that it can keep the opposites within without any fear of contradiction. So it happens that high and low, élite and folk live together as if it were the most natural thing. More, this game of opposites adds life and lymph to the city, a kind of energy you could rarely feel elsewhere.
Let us think about Venetian summer and its events. La Biennale attracts art and architecture lovers, but (literarly) a few steps from there, you will find another Venezia, genuine and ‘folkish’ but never too rustic, which can charm and amaze the visitor walking on with “Flash Art” or “Dwell” under his arm; a contamination that makes every experience unique, may it be high or low in one’s first thoughts.
So no wonder if, after you’ve admired the best of uman arts and architecture and silently contempled La Tempesta from Giorgione (so no one will say you’re here only for the Biennale), you’ll find yourself in a Venetian “campo”, under a poor set of coloured lights cobbled toghether, sitting at a rough wooden table, speaking with (not for a long time) unknown people, sipping good wine which will never be barricated nor complex, but fresh, abundant, and most of all, necessary. And how free you will feel, when you’ll realize that pork ribs and sarda fish – fried or baked makes no difference – can (must) be eaten with your bare hands; and maybe fried seafood will have never been so crunchy in your palate.
Intimate supper conversations are not necessarily excluded, but you’ll need to talk out loud, because some live music will certainly remind you’re in the middle of a midsummer Venetian sagra (= folk festival). And it’s not difficult to predict you’ll enjoy the baccalà mantecato, the sarde in saor and the other typical homemade dishes of the Venetian cuisine – and eventually, if you’re particularly thoughtful – you’ll ask yourself how can they possibly taste so good.
We know why, and we’d be glad to reveal it to you with Charles Spence, author of “Gastrophysics”: Fish & Chips always taste better at the seaside.
Why? It’s Venice, baby!
Photo courtesy @thesisterfoodvenice