In Venice, a Young Boatman Steers a Course of His Own
In Venice, a young boy named Antonio plays a small role in the history of his own city. He has spent most of the morning helping his family carry their belongings and prepare for the day-long journey that will take them from their home in the Campo Santa Maria Formosa down to La Cala de Uso.
Antonio may be young, but he’s one of few young men in the city who have made the voyage. Others have come for a day, but none have left the water to return to their own country. A young man with few opportunities, a young man who dreams of leaving home and returning to his own people, Antonio has chosen to be a little sailor.
One of only two women on board, a young Venetian named Caterina Gamba, is a skilled seamstress. Her job is to make the clothes that will protect Antonio and his family through the long, cold summer months.
As summer draws to an end and the wind picks up, Antonio, Caterina Gamba, and the rest of the young men on board a small, battered ship are sailing close to shore. Gamba’s work is done, but Antonio is still at sea. But with two young girls on board and a growing list of things that need to get done around the home, Antonio has no time to worry about his little ship or his journey.
The captain of the boat has decided to cut the distance between the shore and St. Mark’s Square by a mere mile, but the journey is going to take much longer than six hours. Antonio doesn’t even know how many hours he may be in for. A young boy who once dreamed of becoming a sailor may have to fight through many more hours than a young man has ever spent before on a ship.
In Venice, a short man has been given a great gift. A young man with few options and a young woman to assist him has been given the gift of the sea. Antonio is still young, but he is beginning to understand the gift and to live his life with it.