Luca - The Birthday Boy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesMeet Luca.

Like fine wine, he’s Romano DOC (Conrolled Origin of Denomination) — born and raised in Rome.

And, this easy-going, affable Aquarian just turned the calendar over yesterday to the BIG FIVE-OH.

That’s a lot of mileage, and he added a few more kilometers to the count when his wife, T, convinced him that they should celebrate this benchmark achievement not at home down in the Eternal City, but on the road up in La Serenissima — Venice.

Rialto Bridge - Venice | ©Tom Palladio ImagesLittle did he know, his wife had been plotting for quite some time to throw him a surprise birthday dinner party, with a “little” help from family and friends around the Veneto, including me, a Yank in a battered Borsalino.

It was a feast fit for a Venetian Doge — or, at least someone passing the half-century mark — at Al Graspo de Ua, a restaurant of note just a few paces from the Rialto Bridge, tucked away in one of the narrow calli (streets) of Venice.

Luca's Birthday Cake | ©Tom Palladio ImagesEnjoy the VideoPress reel (below) of some of the highlights marking Luca’s big passeggiata (long stroll) into the record books as we “anonymously” lauded his big day in the City of Canals.

Buon Compleanno, Luca! Here’s wishing you many, many more…especially if you celebrate them up in Venice.

©The Palladian Traveler

©Tom Palladio Images

TPT's Borsalino over Venice | ©Tom Palladio Images


Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him in and out of 49 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway somewhere in the Veneto. You can also follow his dispatches from the cobblestone at and


  1. Now that is the way I want to celebrate my 50th birthday. Oh wait, that one is long past. Oh well, win some, lose some.🙂 Beautiful pics that capture a very special celebration. Made me feel like I was there – thanks for letting me join in.

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