Saturday, March 7
Our last day in Venice. On Friday we met our friends Roberta and Alessia for one last, leisurely, two-hour lunch together in a little Venetian fish restaurant near the Scuola. We ate delicious fried sea-food and drank wine. We shared residency stories, reminisced about Roberta’s time at Zea Mays, made plans for Alessia to come to our studio and lamented about the hardship that the virus was causing the Scuola and all of Italy. The precautions that were in place on Friday still permitted us to meet as friends and dine out. Little did we know that things would change so dramatically in the next couple of days.
So after our lunch we took one more long walk around this beautiful city. The streets were nearly empty. The canals much quieter than before.
Since the first week we arrived we had been monitoring the virus situation diligently; reading the cdc and state department websites daily, reading news reports, checking in with the airline. We found ourselves caught in a cycle of going out in the day and enjoying the beauty of Venice, or the creativity of working at the Scuola and coming back to the Palazzo in the evening and reading the news and getting exceedingly anxious about all things virus. As our departure date neared, and the restrictions increased we got really worried about being unable to leave Venice and come home. We vacillated between joy and anxiety, hope and fear on a daily basis.
But Saturday morning arrived, our water taxi came and we got to a nearly empty airport with plenty of time to spare for the screenings we anticipated we would go through. We boarded the plane to Munich, filled out a form about how long we’d been in Italy and off we flew. In Munich and then in Boston, we breezed through customs and passport control without a single question, health screening or anything. We were surprised (and both relieved and dismayed) that we weren’t subjected to any pre-cautionary measures. We decided to self-quarantine at home for 2 weeks to be safe, and to reassure our studio members that they would be safe as well.
This experience in Venice has been incredible. We experienced the warm, caring hospitality of Matilde Dolcetti, Lorenzo Di Castro, Alessia Bertolli and Roberta Feoli of the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica. We witnessed the pageantry of Carnivale, and the near emptying of the city upon its cancellation. We roamed a tourist-free city that most visitors never get to see. We made prints that explored the decorative architectural elements of the city, which opened our eyes in new ways to the world around us. And we got to come home. Grazie mille Venezia!