Around our table that evening, the Italians likened Dubai to another city that has, over many hundreds of years, also enchanted many a traveler. At our perch, in the still of a winter night, it taxed the imagination to draw parallels between Venice and Dubai. Perhaps it was the wine, or that we had all had a long day. But upon further conversation, the notion that Venice was the Dubai of the 13th Century was parsed, aided by further bottles of wine.
This little jewel, with its maze of paths, many different ways to get to one place, how many times have the DNA in these bones trod upon them? Why does Venice compel one to think about things that haven’t been thought about, or maybe things long forgotten? How does this figure into a life of wine?
For both places, trade is important. While there might not be a reason for one to go to Dubai, trade has made it a modern crossroads. Venice was not so isolated, although the difficulty of travel made getting around more challenging than in the modern day. But the water made it possible. From Venice, adventurers would launch their voyages and pursue their dreams, bringing them back to this little dew-drop of a city. Treasures found on the other side of the world would be traded all over the Italian peninsula. Trade was the satchel the visionaries put their dreams in.
Yes, I imagine Dubai has superseded anyone’s imagination of a shining city of the future. And yes, Venice is now part of a history that no longer is as vital. Except those of us for whom those memories are real, flesh and bone and for whom telling the story of Italian wine is still very much alive and moving forward.
written (and photographed in Venice) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
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