We’re eating at Trattoria alla Rivetta in Venice. We’ve been coming here for over 20 years—for the seafood risotto, the moeche (soft shell crabs), the branzino, and whatever else they have that day that’s fresh. And always, in addition to great fish, there is a generous assortment of fresh vegetables that are boiled, sliced, and served with a generous anointing of olive oil. Was ever a potato so good?
Is there a more guilty pleasure than a fritto misto (frittura, as they say here)? You can see what you’re eating, sort of–rings of sliced calamari, curled shrimps, spongy scallops, a stray chunk of fish, and, if you’re lucky, some thinly sliced or shredded zucchini–all lightly covered in a crispy brown batter, lightly salted.
You come home struck by the warmth and generosity of people. Maybe it’s standing in front of astonishing sights like the Duomo in Florence or sharing the mind-blowing food at Fagioli or walking together in the rain knowing your feet will be soaked when you get back to the hotel, and not really caring. Or the hand held out to steady you when you step into a gondola. A bond is formed. You join hands and hearts for a few minutes, a few days.