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HIDDEN DEPTHS

Camilla Purdon discovers the secret world of the Venetian lagoon with a culinary cruise on board one of the region’s last historic fishing vessels

I’m standing on the deck of Eolo, one of Venice’s last historic fishing boats, looking out across the limpid green waters of the lagoon. On the horizon I can trace the faint outline of the city’s spire-studded skyline, while high above my head a pair of russet sails flap in a breeze laced with aromas of lunch being prepared in the galley kitchen below. By my side, leaning on the tiller, is the boat’s owner, skipper and head chef Mauro Stoppa. “I truly love and respect the Venetian lagoon,” he explains. “When you know its story and how to approach the area, it opens up a magical world. That’s what my mission has been for the last 20 years with Eolo.”

Mauro was introduced to the lagoon as a young boy by his father, a wild duck hunter, with whom he spent countless hours navigating its waterways and marshes while learning about the area’s native wildlife. He dreamed of owning and living on a boat from an early age, but it was only in 1998, after several decades of working internationally in the field of agriculture, that he finally realised his ambition and bought the 56-foot vessel we’re chatting on today. “The idea was to find something that was close to my soul, close to my heart”, he tells me. “Having sailed and lived in the lagoon since childhood, I have a heightened awareness of the region’s rich history and natural assets, which I’m passionate about sharing

Mauro dreamed of living on a boat from an early age

GOD OF THE WINDS

Named after Aeolus – the Greek god of the winds – Eolo is a bragozzo, one of the flat-bottomed fishing boats that for centuries plied the shallow waters of the Venetian lagoon and the upper Adriatic. Serving as a working fishing vessel until 1967, she has since been lovingly refurbished and today offers bespoke, luxury expeditions for small groups of discerning travellers. Each itinerary is adapted to the groups’ interests and preferences, as well as the ever-changing whims of the wind, following Mauro’s firm belief that “you need to take time and respect the rhythms of the lagoon, which is timeless”.

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About Italia!

Welcome to this first issue of 2020! We send you our best wishes for a productive and peaceful time in the year ahead. Here we are looking forward to travelling deeper into Italy, discovering new places and seeing the familiar in a new light.