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Hemingway Adventure

Venice (second day)

Venice, Italy 
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Barone Alberto Franchetti looking our from his family palazzo onto one of the great views of the world, the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureThe palace of the Franchettis is approached via a narrow courtyard from which rises the world’s smallest elevator, which disgorges the occupant into a cramped passageway, which gives on to a long, gloomy room at the far end of which is a pair of glassed doors which open on to a huge and dazzling panorama of the Grand Canal.

Alberto Franchetti is a slim, slope-shouldered man around my own age. The word languid could have been coined for him. He speaks softly and moves with a feline grace and an unmistakably aristocratic lack of urgency.

I ask him what I should call him. Should it be Signor Franchetti, or perhaps Alberto? He purses his lips gently, as if acknowledging some distant, unspecific pain.

‘Perhaps, Barone?’ he suggests.

After this opening skirmish he is courteous and helpful. He lights a cigarette and we stand on the balcony and talk about Venice until it’s too cold and we have to come in. The Grand Canal has changed, he says, registering distaste. Not one of the hundred or so palazzos along it is still occupied by the family who built it. It’s noisy with all the boats and the continuous activity. His mother was the last person to keep her bedroom on the Grand Canal side of the palazzo.

Aware of the short time we have, I try to deflect him from the plight of the nobility and in the direction of Hemingway. He recalls him with faint amusement, protesting regularly that he was only ten at the time.
Venice, Italy 
click to enlarge 
file size
Barone Alberto Franchetti looking our from his family palazzo onto one of the great views of the world (right), the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Venice (second day)
  • Country/sea: Italy
  • Place: Venice
  • Book page no: 61

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RELATED LINKS

  • Italy
  • Day 2 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 3 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

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