After a lot of walking and exploring, B and the girls headed home to rest before dinner. I stayed behind on a bench at the piazza--a couple of alleyways from the apartment--to enjoy some quiet time, and to sketch a bit.
Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio
A few moments later, the woman beside me on the bench removed her shoes and changed into stilettos. I noticed more activity on the piazza--people started milling around greeting each other, smartly dressed women arriving and chatting.
Then loud tango music began, and one couple started dancing--right in the middle of the square.
More women changed shoes and more couples joined in. They didn't seem to arrive in pairs, yet as soon as a woman stood up in her stilettos, a partner appeared with an outstretched hand.
Buzzing activity now surrounded my park bench. I asked an English-speaking woman behind me if she knew what was going on.
"On Tuesday nights, the locals gather here for an evening of tango," she said. "My mother rented an apartment around here last summer and her landlady told her about it."
I sat, mesmerized, watching couples tango elegantly.
I texted B to bring the kids back out to watch.
They watched a bit, and danced a bit (not too elegantly).
After a while we had to tear ourselves away to go to dinner.
I took this video on my iPhone.
A google search revealed that what we witnessed was a milonga and these Tuesday gigs at Campo San Giacomo are popular with locals and traveling tango enthusiasts. The exchanges between people also looked formal and polite because proper etiquette is expected of the participants.
If I had gone back to the apartment, I would have missed it. The best part? I never even moved-- everything just unfolded before me-- and my once-peaceful park bench turned into a ringside seat at this popular local soiree.