Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It's one of the most visually stunning, and romantic, places on earth.
Also, in the middle of August, it is one of the hottest.
We visited Venice two years ago in a summertime heat wave. Generally on holidays, I carry on despite the weather. If it’s raining or snowing, if it’s hot or cold, I know I’m still unbelievably blessed to be travelling. I’m not interested in hearing complaints from myself or from others about the weather.
But this was the kind of day that could make you forget that notion. The heat was overbearing, and we had spent a long time that afternoon shopping at the Rialto Bridge. My oldest daughter wanted to buy a mask, and the final decision was a while in coming. The Patient Mother in me battled it out with the Prickly Non-Shopper, and barely held on to win. By the time the purchase was finally made and we were plodding back to the hotel, both sides were soundly defeated by the Sweltering Globetrotter. The heat of the sun struck like a hammer and every step I took seemed like a scientific experiment in inertia.
By the time we reached our hotel, I never wanted to leave again. But, as usual, the rest of my family was hungry. I knew that the Taverna San Trovaso was a half-minute walk from our hotel, and had been well-reviewed. Frankly, I’d have eaten in a silo if it was a half-minute walk from the hotel, so we decided to give it a try.
I was so hot that I literally didn’t care what I ate. (Note: That hardly ever happens.) I asked the waiter what he recommended, and he urged me to try the beef with arugula and parmesan. Roast beef when my overheated body could barely sit up at the table? It didn’t sound promising, but I didn’t see an alternative that interested me. Roast beef it was.
I nearly wept with joy when he brought me a plate with a cool roast beef salad, served in the way that only the Italians could. Three simple ingredients of the highest quality made this salad perfectly refreshing. Suddenly I could eat again. In fact, I was so restored that I had a bite of the meringue my youngest daughter later ordered, and actually considered ordering a second one for myself.
We returned to Taverna San Trovaso three times on that trip, and I ordered the same meal every time. I’ve tried to duplicate this salad at home and, although I’ve had great results, nothing has ever been as perfect as the roast beef salad served in a Venetian tavern in a heat wave.