Hitchcock on the Riva

There seems to be little sympathy for the South-American tourist who was robbed in broad daylight by a Venetian resident, as reported in La Nuova Venezia:

The sequence of events was caught with great clarity by a professional photographer, Maurizio Torresan, and immediately found its way into the local newspaper, and from there to social media. The tourist was sitting on one of the trestle-walkways used during acqua alta when the resident swooped down on her, in an attack as notable for its precision as for its speed and violence. Just as the tourist raised her sandwich to her mouth, the beak of the seagull snapped shut on the other end of the bread-roll, and with a superb display of aerodynamic agility, the bird then veered off, the broken end of the sandwich clasped firmly in its beak.

As it is forbidden to eat one’s own food in St Mark’s Square and the surrounding area (which basically means any food that costs less than a box at the Fenice theatre), the locals generally feel that the hapless tourist got what she deserved – at least if one is to judge from the comments on the newspaper’s Facebook page. One reader suggests that the seagulls might be the city’s last line of defence against the invading hordes.

However, the very next day a group of tourists from Turin had turned the phenomenon into a game, profiting from the fact that at present the laws specify that it is forbidden to feed the pigeons in St Mark’s Square, but not the seagulls. The rules of the game have not been fully clarified but it mainly seemed to consist in the daring act of holding up high tempting morsels of food. The seagulls soon got into the spirit of the thing.

Once again the Venetians were not impressed. A certain Renee Ventura commented, apparently with a certain wistfulness, “Chiss√† che i ghe porta via na man” –¬†maybe they’ll carry off their hands…


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2 thoughts on “Hitchcock on the Riva

  • Scribe Doll

    Brilliant. A Norfolk seagull reportedly snatched a man’s iPhone. More regularly, though, they steal people’s chips. Hamburg seagulls are extremely polite, in my experience. I once stood eating a Kartoffelpuffer at a Christmas market when a large seagull landed on the side of my table, and gave my food a significant look. It stayed just a few inches away from my paper plate for quite a while, long enough for me to explain that, much as I would have loved to share my lunch with him/her, I was afraid the local residents would not approve of my setting a precedent. The seagull clearly understood, spread his/her huge wings and flew away. Perhaps Venice and Norfolk seagulls should attend finishing school in Hamburg.

    • Gregory Post author

      Yes, clearly much better manners in the seagull community of Hamburg. Do the gulls pick up their social modes of behaviour from the local human population, along with their chips and iPhones? The Venetians tend to blame it all on the tourists…