Italy: A day on the lake…a night at the opera

According to a news report from www.independent.ie, “The art, the history, the fashion, the pizza. Could Italy seduce Sankha Guha’s sons into broadening their cultural horizons?”

“There comes a time in every dad’s life when he wants his sons to set aside childish things; in this instance the collected works of The Simpsons on DVD. Even for diehard fans such as Tom (15) and Niko (11) there has to be a cultural horizon beyond Springfield,” said the story. “My Devious Plan is worthy of Mr Burns. Just drag them along to Italy and, sooner or later, the art, the history, the weather, the fashion and the pizza will seduce them. The Plan starts well. My accomplice is their granny, and as we leave Marco Polo airport we have agreed on phase one of our strategy. Before heading for our resort near Lake Garda, we will hit them with a pre-emptive strike – a lightning visit to Venice. We take the Linea 97 vaporetto from Piazzale Roma. As it chugs up the Giudecca canal, the outlines of the city begin to assemble on the water like the pieces of a well-worn jigsaw. Tom is slightly dazed: “Everywhere you look, it feels familiar, like you have seen it before.” And, of course, Tom’s déjà vu is not entirely imaginary: we have all seen Venice before at the movies. Each generation of the Guhas has its ready-to-roll celluloid memories. For my granny it is Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice. For me it is Nicolas Roeg’s eerie Don’t Look Now. For Tom and Niko it is the Bond carnage of Casino Royale. The vaporetto pulls into a stop on Giudecca island. I have a sharper sense of déjà vu; I really have been here before. In front of me is the Ostello di Venezia (youth hostel) where I stayed for the first time as a callow backpacker when I was 16 or 17. Now I am here with my 15-year-old son on his first visit. Venice must have seen many such generational handovers.”

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