Author Archives: Living Venice

Dial + for confident international cell phone dialing.

To always reach the person you’re calling, no matter what type of cell you’re using, who you’re calling. in what country or from what country, always dial or program your cell phone number with the plus “+” sign first, followed by the country code and complete phone number:

+ country_code phone_nbr

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No Smoking: Vietato Fumare.

Alla Cantina, VeneziaYou’ve probably heard by now, by Italy recently passed a law that prohibits smoking in all public places. And just like that, there’s no smoking in restaurants, bars, trains…almost anywhere. Combine that with the fact that people fewer people smoke all the time, and sometimes you can barely tell you not in the U,.S. (Ma scherzo — now you know I’m kidding!).

You may still encounter un po di fumo while sitting outside in a cafe or bar, but overall, it makes a big difference. Lots of Italians are pleased as well.

So now more than ever, you can enjoy l’aria fresca!

The Bells of the Campanile: La Marangona

The largest bell in the San Marco campanile — there are five, and they each have a name — is called la Marangona. There is certainly no mistaking that superb, resonant, all-encompassing BONG, in distinct contrast to the chorus of energetic chiming from around the rest of the city at any appointed time. This largest one rang out in the past to time the work-day, the smallest to annouce an execution. (It’s been while, yes.)

campaniile At midnight, that massive bell resounds da sola, proudly, from high in the Piazza, and can be heard from almost any point in the city. Sometimes I call friends in the US so they can hear, especially the ones who’ve been here before. I just open the window and stick the phone out in to the calle. Che nostalgia.

If you’re out and about with a Venetian and the bell sounds, Aaaa, they’ll say with a glance and a nod, La senti? È la Marangona. If you allow it, you’ll be reminded just how often, on how many midnights, and for how many centuries, this small scene has been repeated.)


I guess it was inevitable…and an opportunity for another cross-cultural experience. I got my first viable illness out of the country: strep throat. I frutti della stagione — fruits of the season — says the check-out lady at the supermarket.

After realizing there was no getting better on my own, I stopped by a pharmacist (5 minutes on foot), and he recommended a doctor nearby (another five minutes on foot). I entered a small waiting room where there were two other people, and sat down. There was no receptionist, nurse, nothing; just a room with people sitting patiently (no pun indended). The next person who came in greeted everyone, Buon giorno, and they responded. I must have seemed like a bit of an ogre walking in in silence.
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