Hilton-Stucky Five Star and Pugiotto’s in Venice…
I have never stayed in a Five-Star hotel so would be the first time. I arrived in Venice on Tuesday afternoon and soon after de-boarding the train that comes right to the Grand Canal Piero with his four year-old son, Cristiano showed up in his boat to take me to his home on Isola Judiaca only four hundred meters where he works as a concierge for the Hilton. Natasha, his wife works there as well in the gift shop.
They have a cute little place of their own and after walking from where he moors his boat we walked into a simple but charming AIR-CONDITIONED apartment. Natasha finally arrived home at eight to an incredible meal put together by Piero, one of my favorite Venetian chefs. This boy, he do know how to cook.
The first night I would stay with them on a rather comfortable couch right beneath the air conditioner and was warned that if I got cold, I could do this or that -not a chance! After days and nights of almost intolerable, sweltering heat, I was happy to sleep in my clothes if it should prove necessary. What is cold to an Italian is tepid to an American. There are many apologies regarding moving air to which I say, “Bring it on!”
Imagine trying on clothes in a dressing room where the temperature is forty-one degrees, humidity at 90% and not a hint of air? Jeanne nearly suffocated once while trying this in Napoli. She panicked as anyone from America would though the Italian’s seem to take sweating in stride.
The next morning as soon as possible Piero booked me into the Hilton as his Uncle Tony at a measly sixty euro for a night. Soon thereafter we were back on his boat treading through the canals of Venice dodging this gondola and that delivery barge. Again, it was a sweltering hot day and the sun beat down on us. Sadly, to make matters worse, my camera had begun to fail me and no matter how much time I spent adjusting this setting or that, the camera would not shoot into direct light, the only light we had.
Recognizing that not everyone gets a personal and free tour at eye level, I took what pictures I could, though none, it seems, turned out to be particularly impressive. Piero announced that we would soon be out into open water and then we would catch a good breeze which should make the day more enjoyable and this was the case. He put up the canopy to cover us but the wind was so brisk that it broke a strap and left us with a pile of canvas. All of the time, I did my best to hide behind the skippers shadow. He took me across to Murano where they have the amazing glass factories. Next it was on to Burano an island made famous by its brightly colored houses. He made one more run to the first settlement in Venice where now only eighteen people live. The island was the first to be separated from the sea and provided a bastion against the invading hoards coming from the north.
With pizza in a nearby restaurant our day ended. In the morning I packed and waited for Piero, Natasha and Cristiano to come by boat and take me to the station and off I would go to Verona for a day to myself before ministry in Trento.
My camera was failing fast while in Venice so some of the photos re pretty “Iffy.” Next, I do want you o know that the Five Star wound up costing me sixty Euro. This isn’t bad when one considers that my Two Star night in Milan cost the same amount. Here’s a picture of my exciting Two Star experience. It wasn’t only the room that was horrible. My next door neighbor was an African that called his friends on the phone in the middle of the night. Have you ever heard African’s talk on the phone? They scream.