Birthday in Venice: Delight No. 2

In Travels and events by Roger Thomas

The second in the series of small birthday delights coincided with the fact that my birthday falls on the same day as one of the three greatest floods in Italian history. Fifty years ago on my date of birth was the most severe flood of the twenieth century, known as Acquagranda in Venice. This was the same flood that overflowed the banks of the river Arno in Florence, claiming thousands of masterpieces of Renaissance art.

This extraordinary event was commemorated with the creation of an original opera, Acquagranda at the legendary Teatro La Fenice, with a score by Filippo Perocco based on the story of our friend Ernesto Ballarin, who spent the days and nights of the flood with his father and uncle stranded on their rooftop on the island of Palestrina. The gala opening continued into the upstairs salons of La Fenice for an elegant seated dinner.

Arthur and I were joined by San Franciscans Mark Evans and Charley Brown, Bay Area and Fellow Venetophiles Patti and David Schwartz and by our dearest native Venetian friends Sandrina and Andrea Rubelli, Nicolò Rubelli and Carlo Giordanetti, creative director of Swatch.

It was an evening of total cinematic beauty from the dramatic flooding of the stage of La Fenice to the beauty of the gala dinner and the glittering crowd who attended.


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