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A Great Start in Venice

October 8th, 2011 · No Comments · Time and Place

In this excerpt from her new book, Perfectly Crazy, novelist Mitzi Penzes takes a successful woman entrepreneur, teams her up with a man as desirable as the Michelangelo statue, and folds both into Venice. 

Finally they were in Venice. They stayed in a small room in Hotel Flora close to Piazza San Marco. Despite being in an alleyway, the room was intimate and charming, with a huge bed and its own bathroom. They had access to a little garden, a small enclosed oasis in the built up quarter.

Only minutes away were the piazza, the Grand Canal, and little cafes and restaurants. The characteristic small bridges crossing over smaller waterways looked like the backs of fighting cats, arching up in the middle. The gondolas were everywhere, and the Vaporetto station and Doge’s Palace were next door. The row of little shops where her new place would be opening was close as well. It was an ideal setting for both business and romance.

They had already gone to see the horse statues on the roof of the basilica, seen the view from the top of the Campanile, walked on the Rialto Bridge, and eaten some excellent gelato on the way.

But she had work to do too. Sofia turned out to be a friendly middle-aged woman with a severe bun on the top of her head and silver-framed spectacles. She welcomed Nell like a family member, and introduced her associates, two younger ladies who would be the salespeople. They both were pleasant, and Nell was sure they would work out just fine.

Then Nell excitedly examined the stock. The layout for the store was already there, but the racks were still missing and some of the shelves had their places marked but were not on the wall yet. The wallpaper had a very interesting pattern, and though Nell was not sure if it was a good idea in such a humid area, Sofia assured her she had the same kind of wall covering at home, and it never got moldy. She had lived all her life in Venice, so Nell trusted her opinion.

Nell decided to decorate the shop windows with a few glass pieces and traditional Venetian masks. She planned to hang up a chandelier at the top of the window, on whose arms she’d place elegantly dressed mannequins. Flanking the window would be two mannequins in masks and some beautiful vases. In the background, she wanted to display scarves and fabrics that would unite the scene. She did not like standard-issue mannequins; hers were especially detailed and lifelike, made by an Italian company.

The printed materials and other ad items were top quality, since David’s company had made them. His designs were always successful, so she was sure they would help her sales get started. They also decided to display enlarged photos of Nell’s other stores on the wall between the shelves and the racks of garments. All in all, she was very satisfied and was sure they would have a great start.

© Mitzi Penzes, 2011. Used with permission. Author Mitzi Penzes grew up in Hungary, where she trained and practiced as a neurologist before coming to the United States. Now an entrepreneur, she lives with her family and cat in Napa, California.

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