The island of Torcello lies across the lagoon from Venice about 10km north as the crow flies (or halibut swims). There is a regular vaparetto (water bus) leaving from the Paglia Bridge near St Mark’s Square, which makes stately progress by way of Murano and Burano. This is not, although it sounds a bit like it, some kind of skittish homage to a well-known catchphrase of Mr Vic Reeves. It is, in fact, another pair of islets in the lagoon. Murano is famous for its glassware and tourists can readily purchase various knick-knacks and baubles. However these trinkets are - almost without exception - of hideous aspect and exorbitant cost and can safely be left to the Americans.
A convivial night culminating in us making short work of a large bottle of brandy meant that we missed the hourly Sunday morning vaparetto we were aiming for so, with a lunchtime table booked at the splendid Cipriani’s restaurant on Torcello, we hopped on to a water taxi. These little speedboats are, inevitably, a lot more pricey that the water bus but, on a crisp, clear autumn morning, as we bounced across the silver-blue waters of the lagoon, the exhilaration of the ride more than made up for the expense. And certainly did a lot to assuage any cognac-induced greenness around the gills.
Such was our air of wellbeing that we did not mind at all when the water taxi-driver insouciantly handed over control of the speeding craft to his 10-year-old son. The look of benign, paternal content on the father’s face as his nipper hurtled us across the deep brought to mind the dog in the Tom and Jerry cartoons (‘Spike’ was it?) with his indulgent chuckle of “That’s my boy!” as his yapping offspring chased Tom up a tree.
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