VENICE--Rain in winter should be no surprise, even to the makers of masks and purveyors of merriment who swamp the Piazza San Marco every pre-Lenten season. The tourists have to decide whether to stay away or to adapt, whether to suffocate inside a 5-euro poncho or put on a bright face and ruin their expensive costumes.
The plan! The plan was for visitors to inspect the Fabrica on the square itself, to see how the artisans of Venice make gondolas, masks, and fabrics. Not happening. Thousands of visitors are hunched in the colonnades, afraid to expose themselves to the elements.
The Venetians themselves seem indifferent. The apostles of fashion gather for safety behind the shop windows along the Campo S. Moisè, The deity, Georgio Armani, is missing, but Cardinals Prada and Gucci are present, along with archbishops Ferragamo and Fendi, Msgrs. Valentino and Versaci. Even the harlot, Miu Miu, shows her ruffles. Prada's slacks and sport jacket make an appealing vestment, assuming you have 1,300 euros in the pockets of your shabby jeans; you'll need another 1,300 for shirt, tie, cardigan and shoes. The shop windows have help-wanted signs for sales assistants who speak English.