Boating with the Medicis               An Italian Carnivale Picnic

Saturday Afternoon, 14 October 2000        Lake Merritt, Oakland

We are happy -- and relieved -- to report that the wine was not poisoned at this event. There were no mysterious drownings and everyone avoided political discussions. The Medici family is undoubtedly the most powerful influence today but, thankfully, the afternoon was given over to wine, food, and relaxation.

The festivities included gondola rides provided by Gondola Servizio, guitar music and Italian songs sung by our wonderful gondoliers, a bit of silliness, a lot of laugher, just a dash of flirtation, and a large dollop of contentment.

It wouldn't be Carnivale --- it wouldn't be Italian! --- without beautiful women in sumptuous gowns. Throughout the afternoon, we had all three gondolas in the water. It was a romantic site out of dreams and imagingings: all that shimmering fabric, those mysterious masks. One is tempted to wonder what assignations took place later in the evening.

We set up our picnic tables and spread blankets under the large Oak trees just above the Gondola Servizio pier. It was a perfect vantage point from which to admire costumes as each group strolled down the path to their gondola rides. We watched the gondolas set out on the lake and heard the gondoliers songs float across the water. Later in the afternoon, April and  Angelino (Gondola Servizio) joined us and Angelino played guitar and sang romantic songs to an enthralled audience. Our sincere appreciation goes out to the entire staff of Gondola Servizio for making this a memorable and beautiful event.

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