Thoughts on the Veneto region ~ Romancing Italy

Aug 24, 2010

Thoughts on the Veneto region

Millions come to this region to get lost in the ancient beauty that is Venice, or to wander in awe among the rugged mountains. I passed by so many large villas with gorgeous gardens imprisoned behind iron gates; curious gawkers like myself find ourselves standing under the protective gaze of the lifesize statues that flank the entrance.

Veneto has so much to offer as it is so diverse with sport, relax, the canals that make the region unique, the history, the wine. Yet, for all the tourism that it draws, it lacks one thing. Hospitality. 

I've become so used to the warmth of the people from the south and the civility and courtesy from those from the Northwest, that it came as a surprise when I ran across rude Italians. Twice. In the space of a week.

The first time was at a cafe where one would expect service. No one came to take my order, but they did come to serve the family that arrived after me. Even after going inside to the bar to place my order, the woman spoke as if I were bothering her. I took a bottle of water and waited at the table until the water was finished. I wanted so badly to just walk away since they had ignored me but decided to go inside to pay. If you can believe it, they still didn't pay me any attention and I had to ask to pay! I am an idiot.

The second time was at an agriturismo, a bed and breakfast type facility where food is typical of the area and more than likely produced at the property.

When I arrived just before the dinner hour, the women setting the large outside farm-style table completely ignored me. I could have been invisible. I followed them unhindered through a door that I discovered led to a small kitchen and bar. Ok, wrong entrance. I then caught the attention of one woman and asked if a room was available and she indicated that I needed to talk to... the other lady. The one a few paces ahead of me. I couldn't believe it. What happened to service?

Once I was registered...part of the clan so to speak, they warmed up like I flipped a switch. But if I had had a   choice, I just might have gone in search of other lodging.

PS. This dinner brought back memories of another dinner about 3 years ago when I was near Bagni di Lucca. I found myself seated next to a long table where only men filled the room. They all turned to greet me as I left at the end of my evening. Here, I found myself seated, the only woman among nine men, Italian and German. Italian men are wonderful and can boost a woman's ego in milliseconds and this group made me feel incredible. I laughed and laughed and laughed. That was an awesome dinner. Food was good too.


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