Hemingway witnessed, from close up, the horrors of war. When he was still just a youth, he volunteered to serve in the Red Cross, in a place at the extreme limit of the north Lagoon: Portegrandi, in the Municipality of Quarto d'Altino.
We observe with curiousity the abandoned shack, once a first aid station, near a newly-built wetdock, and may stop to reflect that rivers of blood once flowed there.
Today, an illuminated businessman is requalifying, from a historical point of view too, an entire zone, rich in important testimonies of the past. Portegrandi itself is the ideal place for taking, in reverse, a journey that had as its final destination the mythical Harry's Bar. Across the flowing waters of the Sile River, in tranquil navigation, to the rhythm of the slowly-flowing, placid waves, where the silence of nature is a symphony of ancestral sounds. Behold! On the horizon appears Torcello. A stop at the Locanda Cipriani, another at Burano, the island of a hundred colours. There is a temptation to go onward, to Treporti, taking an excursion among the sandbanks and vegetable gardens of Lio Piccolo. Here, the open sea laps against the waters of the Lagoon. But in the Lagoon we remain, skimming past Lido, approaching the fortunate pier at Saint Mark's, crossing over to Venice, divided as it is from the rest of the world. Harry's Bar is the archtype of a spot-becomelegend, going beyond mere spatial dimensions.
written by Fabio Marzari
Venews agosto 2006
Tr. Maria Fasolo