“I’m an old Veneto fan and this is where I’ll leave my heart”. Ernest Hemingway actually penned these words in Italian to a friend – Sono un vecchio fanatico del Veneto ed è qui che lascerò il mio cuore. He wrote them in 1948, thirty years after first coming to the region as an 18-year-old volunteer ambulance driver and winning an Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. In ’48, the now middle-aged author and celebrity stayed at the Cipriani Inn on charming Torcello, writing Across the River and into the Trees. The novel was largely inspired by the peaceful, leafy island on the Venetian Lagoon and by friends like Giuseppe Cipriani.
It is only poetic justice that on Saturday, April 23, 2016 (400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death), at the same Locanda Cipriani, Giuseppe’s grandson, Bonifacio Brass, inaugurated a photo exhibition on Hemingway, Veneto and the Venetian Lagoon: when Across the River was published, the New York Times critic hailed it as the work of “the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare”.
More poetic justice was celebrating the launch with the zappy taste of Canella Prosecco Superiore DOCG: as crisp, terse yet layered as Hemingway prose.