By Joan Leacock
The Venice Experiment book cover
Photos: News & Experts
In this book, the author shared the story of how he quit the rat race of Florida in the United States to live as a resident of Venice, Italy. He and his wife took a year long journey, a cultural exchange from their lifestyle and expectations, and threw themselves at the mercy of living and being Venetians, experiencing the oddities of being foreigners abroad.
Having visited Venice many years ago and only vaguely remembering taking gondola rides up the Grand Canal, I found myself easily transported to the squares, bridges and streets of Venice and imagining all the characters mentioned in the book, as easily as if they were long lost friends. The Venice Experiment: A year of trial and error living abroad (Savory Adventures Publishing 2011, $14.95), a 238-page book by Barry Frangipane with Ben Robbins, captures the flavors, smells, warmth and frustrations of the year he and his wife spent living in The Floating City. I fell in love with Venice, through the eyes of the author, all over again.
Frangipane navigates the problems he encounters as a foreigner living abroad well. I laughed and moaned at the difficult situations he found himself in, as he and his wife fumbled their way through the narrow corridors of the Italian language, the city’s unique history and diverse personalities.
Barry Frangipane, author, The Venice Experiment
The book provides a concierge service of do’s and don’ts surrounding the legalities of moving to Venice. It became a fun expose of the complexities he experienced with language, assumptions and misinterpretations of cultural norms and, in particular, time management as he wondered at the beginning of their adventure, “Would I learn to see things from their perspective? Given a whole year to figure it out, how hard could it possibly be?”
Overall, I found this book to be an easy read with wonderful references to use and visit should I ever find myself in that part of the world. It is a quaint, funny and informal source of relevant information. The author provides a humorous induction of his move to this city, by cleverly disguising and exposing the red tape that he encountered. I was left with a comprehensive checklist of doable tasks in relation to the transferring of pets, visa requirements, how not to organize a lease for an apartment, the choice of ground floor versus first floor apartments, postal boxes, water taxis, vehicle parking and where to purchase everyday items in unexpected places.