(Venice, Italy) On Friday, June 11, 2010, I went to the funeral of Sandro the owner of da Sandro, a trattoria close to Campo San Polo (I borrowed that image you see from the blog of Market Manila; you can read about his da Sandro experience by clicking the link: http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/da-sandro-venice)
Sandro was so beloved, he was one of those people who are known only by their first name, like Madonna, or Cher or Bruce. I met him long ago, when I first started writing for the IHT-Italy Daily:
"Sandro was one of those people that if you were homesick, he would make you feel like family. If you broke up with your boyfriend, he would give you a pizza on the house. In a town famous for its fish, da Sandro is one of the few places where you can find a really great steak. Many times when I passed by, I stopped to just to hang out and drink red wine with Sandro. He was a real gentleman."
To illustrate the esteem in which Sandro was held by the locals, his funeral took place at one of Venice's most prestigious churches, the Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, where the Doges are buried. (In fact, I am looking at the awesome bricked side of San Giovanni e Paolo, with its towering Gothic windows, right now as I type this! I am sitting in Rosa Salva, a gelateria, a place for sweets and ice cream and drinks -- and another Venetian landmark that has been around since 1879.) A bit about San Giovanni e Paolo from Wikipedia:
The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is a church in Venice, northern Italy. One of the largest churches in the city, it has the status of aminor basilica. After the 15th century the funeral services of all of Venice's doges were held here, and twenty-five doges are buried in the church.
A huge brick edifice built in the Italian Gothic style, it is the principal Dominican church of Venice, and as such was built for preaching to large congregations. It is dedicated to John and Paul, not the Biblical Apostles of the same names, but two obscure martyrs of the Early Christian church in Rome, whose names were recorded in the 3rd century but whose legend is of a later date. Click here to read the entire article:
The enormous church was filled with people who came to honor Sandro. In true Venetian synchronicity, I found myself seated in the row behind our former mayor, Massimo Cacciari, who turned and shook my hand when it was time to wish each other "Peace," part of the Christian ceremony.
Leonardo, Sandro's son, has been carrying on the business as usual over at da Sandro, so if you are in the area, stop by and have a meal in honor of Sandro.
Rest in Peace, Sandro.
Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog