In Venice, a Young Boatman Steers a Course of His Own
When he was a little boy, his grandfather would take him to the Piazzetta to enjoy the view. It’s the main square on the Grand Canal, with the lagoon shimmering in the distance — a watery world for him.
“He was my hero. I really loved him,” says Dario Vittorio, then a young resident of the city, “I lived my entire life with him.”
A few years later, when he was in high school, “there was a guy named Antonio Poggi over in Porto Marghera, and he was like a god. And he started a program with the youth in the Piazzetta where they invited young people to go out at night to the Lido.”
“I used to go there every Saturday night with my friend Gennaro and we would go out with a group of people and go into the lagoon,” Vittorio recalls, “and we would do all kinds of things like go to the museums, go to the casino, go to the shops. We had a lot of fun.”
At night, the Piazzetta is a different place altogether. When the moon is full and the sky is clear, the Piazzetta is like no other. No lights. No cars. Only the soft glow of a thousand twinkling lights set against the night sky, and a quiet that makes the whole town feel like a child’s secret playground.
In this atmosphere, the young Dario Vittorio, with his father and grandmother and a group of friends, made his first voyage.
“We would take a boat and go up to the Piazzetta. We would do a sort of party in the middle of the lagoon. And we just had a good time.” Then they would move on into the night.
Soon after, he began taking friends down.
“I was one of the youngest, at the