Homemade Gnocchi with Ragù Bianco
Frittelle con Zabaione
The noise is audible from inside the train carriage as we glide across the Ponte della Libertà and into Santa Lucia station. Whistles, horns, drums, occasional shouts, festive choruses, and bursts of laughter. With too much luggage in tow, I disembark the train. From the top of the station steps the scene below is arresting – a full-swing masquerade party is in motion on the streets. Women in curled white wigs and enormous bustles, men in every manner of decorative mask, and children decorously dressed as little barons and baronesses (or less decorously, and more frequently, as little superheroes!).
It is the central weekend of the Carnevale di Venezia, an unseasonably warm and bright day in February, and, I now realize, the entirely wrong day on which arrive needing to traverse Venice carrying three weeks worth of luggage. My plan had simply been to stride down the stairs, onto a waiting vaporetto, disembark at the Rialto, and be all settled into my temporary new home in the space of thirty minutes. With the normally efficient railway piazza transformed into an uncrossable terrain of revelry however, there is simply no option but for me and my baggage to join in the festive crush of human traffic, and get pushed where the flow is to take us…