Paula Weideger boarded a vaporetto on the Grand Canal, and under the sunny blue Venetian sky she, like millions of others, fell in love with the city. Venice was where she wanted to live and, with a combination of luck and determination, she did. This is the story of her adventures in one of the world's most treasured places.
Follow in her footsteps as Weideger makes her way into the labyrinth and discovers the city's secrets. There are mysteries, obstacles, and surprises - many of them delightful - at almost every turn. Always there are puzzles to solve: How to find an apartment? Where to buy take-away lasagne? Will she ever learn Italian or, more urgently, can she stop getting lost? Is it true that Venice is about to drown - or that speeding drivers destroy magnificent buildings in this city without cars?
Weideger's search for a home eventually takes her to Palazzo Donà dalle rose, perhaps the last palace in Venice to be continuously occupied by the family of the man who built it - in this case a legendary doge. She describes the rooms and their exquisite furnishings with a sensitive eye and an affectionate touch, and shows us how the story of the house fits together with the history of Venice and becomes part of her own.
Venice's art and architecture are a constant presence. Yet even more strongly felt is the passage of time, the panorama of the seasons as reflected in special events - Carnival, the Film Festival, September's historic regatta, Midnight Mass at San Marco - they are all here. And people. Always people.
We accompany Weideger as she explores the Ghetto, meets nobility and boatmen, artists and fish mongers. We learn how she makes peace with the ghost of Peggy Guggenheim, how her home is threatened, if briefly, by the Merchant Ivory crowd, and how she manages to survive both high water and high drama with her landlady, along with much, much more.
Weideger's vision of Venice - wry, intelligent, and love struck, if occasionally blurred by tears - is at once haunting and down-to-earth. With a glass of Prosecco, the traveler, armchair or otherwise, will experience a perfect pleasure.