“Then I turned into the Street of the Assassins, where four shadows waited for me.”
– The Venetian Game
It’s always a pleasure to get messages from readers who’ve been to Venice and have checked out some of the locations in the books. “Church Pub” / “Corner Pub” has been doing well recently, but most visits, of course, are to the Magical Brazilians and the Calle dei Assassini. And, occasionally, I’ve been asked questions along the lines of “where’s the architectural feature that casts the three (or four) shadows on the ground in The Venetian Game?”
Indeed, a friend of mine told me he spent ages walking back and forth looking at the street from all angles, in order to try and work out where it could be. So to save other people the trouble, I have to point out – it doesn’t exist. Or rather it does, but it’s not on the Street of the Assassins.
Let’s flash back seven years : I’ve only been in Venice for six months, and I’m walking back from practice with the coro. I walk over the Accademia Bridge, down into Campo San Vidal and then, as I often do, I try and find a random route home, enjoying the feeling of getting lost in the dark streets..
I walk past the church of San Vidal where Vivaldi, as ever, is being played. I turn left into the Calle del Frutariol and cross the bridge over the Rio de San Vidal. Then I turn right into the Ramo del Teatro. It’s quieter now. There’s no Vivaldi, and nothing to be heard except the sound of my own footsteps. There is no-one to be seen.
I turn left into Calle del Stampador, and stop dead in my tracks. Because three shadows are waiting for me. And then I laugh, feeling immensely silly but also immensely relieved.
Light shining from the open window behind has cast three human-looking shadows upon the ground.
I walk on. I’m not even thinking about writing a book at this moment. But the street with three – or is it four? – shadows waiting is not going to be so easily forgotten,