We drank steaming hot, silky chocolate in the most romantic cafe in the world - Caffe Florian on Piazza Saint Marco. Opened in 1720 its interior has hardly changed since then when it was the place where the elite and the most fashionable met to gossip and to be seen. Casanova entertained his ladies there in the privacy of the intimate parlours - and who could not fail to be seduced in such an atmosphere!
I could have sat at that wonderful marble table all day watching the world go by. Sumptuous velvet benches, old gold gilded mirrors , cartouched framed portraits in oils - all divine in the twinkling soft lights of the murano glass chandeliers and wall sconces dripping with lustres.
The chocolate was so rich it came with a much needed tiny crested carafe of chilled water to refresh the palatte. The waiters, immaculate in crisp white jackets and cravattes, were attentive but unobtrusive and I SO wanted to take that tiny crested porcelain cup and saucer home!
Whilst enjoying our drinks three ladies swept in wearing hooped brocade silk crinolines and high curled wigs, obviously preparing early for the masked ball due to take place that night and they looked so much a part of the place that hardly anyone paid any attention. They sat chattering in a corner and simply added to the scene and delighted me. I desperately wanted to photograph them but couldn`t bear to interupt their conversation. I got to thinking that I should have taken some of those huge 19th century silk curtains I sold last year and fashioned a costume for that masked ball!