* * *

I write this on my last night in Venice, a place that always makes me wistful, especially right before I have to leave: I'm always homesick for it in advance. A few evenings ago I was crossing Piazza San Marco, a space so gorgeous and otherworldly that not even hordes of tourists can diminish its magic, when I heard a song that I love, being played by one of the mini-orchestras set up outside the cafés that dot the perimeter of the square. I usually don't pay these musicians much mind; it's tourist stuff, your average random Vivaldi or whatever. But this was a pop song, one that always inspires in me a mix of joy and longing that somehow seems very Venetian: "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," a hit for Dusty Springfield in 1966.

I've always loved Dusty's version of the song, but what I didn't know—and which I learned thanks to the wonders of Google—is that the melody was co-written by the marvelous cinema composer Pino Donaggio, a Venetian himself. The song's original name, with lyrics in Italian, is "Io che non vivo," and in 1965, Donaggio, a singer/songwriter at the time, made it a hit in Italy. Of course, the mini-orchestra would know this—leave it to the clueless American tourist to have to look it up on Google. But now I know that a song I've loved since I was a little girl has Venetian roots. And that makes it easier for me to say arrivederci.

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