So, anyway, there we were sitting at the Ristorante Beccafico in Campo San Stefano enjoying a magnificent meal and the sight of the Venetians promenading past us on their nightly passegiata. Restaurant packed and a queue waiting for tables. I had prebooked (Emma Ah Cheh Ee Eh) so was feeling pretty smug until I spotted that the people waiting were being plied with free drink.
An elderly gentleman wandered up to the front of the restaurant. Sudden commotion. The proprietor rushed forward, greeted him effusively and ushered him to the only free table in the place. All he ordered was a glass of water and a mixed salad but every single waiter in the place took the chance to hover attentively and have a chat. They all called him ‘Maestro’.
Since La Fenice is close at hand, I thought that he must be something to do with Opera. Then I overheard the owner using the magic words. Maria Callas’ when telling another diner who the guy was. When we had finished, I went over and asked as well.
It was Bruno Tosi, Artistic Director of the Carnivale, and, much more importantly Presidente dell’Associazione Internazionale Maria Callas. Friend and biographer of that divine diva.
Here she is singing one of the truly great arias
For good measure, the owner told me that the boy sitting at the table next to us was a Senator who was having an intimate dinner with a ‘friend’. Very civilized the Italians, in my opinion.
Off to the Rialto.