These personal luxuries in daily use are not listed in order of merit, so being No 4 doesn’t mean these are less desirable and valued than the previous things like Thomas and Laguiole.
After France, North Italy would be our favourite destination – and renting an apartment on Guidecca would be best of all. We did just that for years. Before the People’s Princess’ Favourite Piano Player moved in, Guidecca was real Venice. I called it Venezia’s Staten Island – genuine blue collar and earthy. My kinda town as Frank sang. Even the vulgarly ‘re-modelled’ Cipriani Hotel (nothing whatsoever to do with the smart Venetian family of the same name note bene) as out of view at the far end and accessible through a narrow alleyway.
Directly next to Palanca waterbus stop is the Bar Palanca. I ate my solus wedding breakfast of two tramezzini (ham and mushroom – and shrimp, egg and chiffonade) and a pair of Prosecco con Bitters in there, thinking of the day about to unfold and the water taxi to arrive. Further along the Fondamenta is Da Mori – a workers’ restaurant which has attracted knowing visitors for more than two decades. The owner was a Harry’s Bar chef in the 70s.
The Molino Stucky end, after the church of St Euphamia, was always special to us. From April to October we had the discreet Harry’s Dolci outside – with local customers arriving and departing by motor launch in the evening - and very few non locals at table. Martini’s and Manhattan’s, Bellini’s and plain Prosecco for aperitifs – the tiny chicken wing bones, separated, with the meat pushed up to the end like a baby drumstick and served warm as appetisers.
The Fortuny silk works was next door. Fortuny had a massive revival in the 70s/80s because his silks were so diaphanous it was said his evening dresses could be passed through a gold wedding band.
Glassware is what Venice does best – avoid the sub-standard stuff that comes in from Egypt (not many people know that; I found out by accident).
Carlo Moretti was one of La Serrenisima’s great master craftsmen and glass designers. We made a mission to collect his once-only 2000 collection of 24 – omitting only the three we really didn’t take to.
Slowly and gradually, two or three at a time, we built up a collection – quite something for two people who don’t care to collect.
Special meals are marked by using them as water glasses – to fill them with anything other than water is an affront to their beauty.
Slighty ovoid in shape, they are tactile and fall naturally into the hand. Each is hand etched ‘Carlo Moretti 2000′.
Carlo Moretti has since passed on – he died suddenly in 2008. His work with glass was above most of the others for design and modernity. Visiting Venice means you must call by the slate grey, cool oasis of L’Isola – his gallery/shop across from the Bauer Grunwald and Gritti Palace hotels. Is it not amazing how a post about a water glass can create such a flow of memories? That’s why objects of beauty are important to us all. Grazie Carlo Moretti.