ITALY: The Big Party

In the lush old 18th Century, when Venice was all the world's nightclub, the best parties of all were thrown at the Renaissance-style Palazzo Labia, just off the Grand Canal. To avoid the clatter of dishwashing at his fancier banquets, Host Labia frequently ordered his soiled gold tableware chucked into the canal at the end of each course. (The ugly gossip was that he had laid a stout fish net on the canal bottom beforehand.) The Labias and their dinnerware have long since passed into oblivion, but last week the Labia palace was all...

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