Venice is at its best in winter, once the carnival is over, with mists and empty alleyways. The highlight of my recent few days there was an evening at the aptly named La Fenice (Phoenix) theatre, rebuilt after it burnt to the ground, and not for the first time. We arrived in all our finery to compete with all those fur coats and evening gowns, the sparkling chandeliers, mirrors and gold decorations. Tickets cost an arm and a leg, but for a once in a lifetime occasion it was fabulous.
We had a tiny box which seated four people, and we were on the front two chairs. The production was the Barber of Seville, a familiar opera, but our enjoyment greatly assisted by having subtitles in both Italian and English.
Proseccos in the interval gave the perfect opportunity for people watching, then back for the second half, where the conductor had an active comic role in discussing the music with the performers.
With a magical walk back through a subtly lit St Mark’s Square where the fabulous buildings seemed ghostly and unreal, we almost danced our way home on the Vaporetto.