Backstory: I never dreamed when I wrote The Japanese Art of Sex: How to tease, seduce and pleasure the samurai in your bedroom, I would be speaking about geisha and performing Japanese dance at La Biennale in Venice, Italy, the oldest and most prestigious cultural arts festival in the world. I also had the opportunity to sign copies of my Harlequin Spice novel, The Blonde Geisha, in Italian: Passioni di una Geisha. Come to Venice with me as I explore the city in my video series: Jina’s Excellent Adventure in Venice, Italy.
Today’s Venice Video Episode: Pizza
I have always believed the most immediate way the intrepid traveler can experience the history of a city is to eat its food. Venice is no exception. Among its many charming restaurants, imagine enjoying your repast sitting in a replica of an eighteenth century Venetian chair, fresh bouquets of flowers everywhere, wrought-iron chandeliers overhead and marble floors under your feet.
You can dine on scampi in a sauce of green peppercorns at such a ristorante, knowing that Thomas Mann or Ernest Hemingway supped there (Hemingway is said to have ordered a five-pound tin of Beluga caviar at Harry’s Bar). Or enjoy the tempting smells of tomato and basil filling your senses, the bubbling cheeses, the perfect pillows of hand-made pasta.
Venice offers the traveler everything from the familiar (spaghetti with clams) to the exotic (pheasant), but after my speech and performance at La Biennale, I wanted pizza. No twenty toppings and gooey extra cheese for me. Real, authentic, perfect-crust pizza the way I remembered it from previous trips to Italy.
My Harlequin editor in Italy, Alessandra Bazardi, and I scoured the city’s narrow streets and canals, over bridges and through tiny squares, looking for pizza. Darkness covered the city, making our search for pizza difficult, but I swear the gourmand ghosts of Venice’s past urged us on.
Somewhere, we knew, we’d find a pizza place open.
Around midnight, we spotted a lively outdoor restaurant ablaze with lights. And pizza. As you’ll see in my video, I enjoyed a fabulous pizza at Acqua Pazza on the Campo Sant’Angelo.
February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”