Erotic itinerary in Casanova’s Venice

by Roberta Nalesso | Redazione VeneziaSì 

Erotic itinerary in Casanova’s VeniceAn itinerary in Venice and its places inspired by a seducer that literature and countless cinematographic interpretations and representations have most spoken and written about: Giacomo Casanova.

A journey to the places of a city that certainly agrees with love and eroticism through trips he described in his memoirs, memories of his gallant adventures, stories of his countless amorous ventures in typical places and surroundings of 18th century society of that time and all the settings of works in which the libertine was pre-eminently a protagonist.
In this portrait of Casanova who was a frequent caller at brothels, a wanderer and a womaniser, you will discover an image of a personality that characterised one era and its tradition that may finish with the age of enlightenment or with Venetian exploits of another famous Venetian seducer, Lord Byron, but that doesn’t stop ravishing the general image.
The image of erotic Venice, that with its charm seduced lovers and libertines who arrived here from every corner of Europe in order to consume their dissolute passions, had been handed down right from 18th century.
What we propose to you here is one unusual itinerary, on the discovery of places frequented by a character that was best renowned and representative from the lecherous, libertine and decadent aspects of 17th century Venice.
It's a one day journey, created to satisfy the curiosity of today's lovers and disclose the charm of places that had been theatres of Casanova's love adventures.

1° stage: (1 h) Starting point of this itinerary is Palazzo Merati, in Fondamenta Nove, a palace  where there used to live Giacomo Casanova's mother and sisters. Casanova  was born in 1707.
This lavish apartment, that has a recess with as much as a bed with canopy and stuccoes where the famous seducer had consumed his night adventures with many Venetian ladies, is the only one remained in the area where Casanova lived when he had returned to Venice after having received a favour.
Today it is a private house and it's not open to visitors.

2° stage: (2 h) From Fondamenta Nove continue towards Campo San Maurizio (ACTV waterbus stop Santa Maria del Giglio): right in this square with its recognisable leaning bell tower, in the palace on the right (today offices of Catholic Action) there used to live the Venetian erotic poet Giorgio Baffo who had a deep influence on young Casanova, starting from the art of seduction but who was also a great lover of Casanova's mother, actress Giovanna Farussi, known as La Buranella.
It was exactly Baffo who accompanied Casanova in wherry to Padua, on his first voyage of discovery of world's pleasure. When visiting this square, you will be able to stop in the shop selling antique glass at the corner where you might find Paolo Emilio Zancopé from Compagnia de Calza “I Antichi” who will tell you some anecdotes about Baffo and Casanova, being their great admirer. So, Casanova spent his life between this square, San Samuele, where his mother worked and Santo Stefano.

3° stage:
If it's almost lunch time we advise that you go towards Rialto, a market area of great bustles of Venetians and tourists, today as it was yesterday, where, just as you climb down the bridge, after the Court, you'll find Sotoportego dei Do Mori and could take a break in homonymous tavern where they have been preparing cicheti and typical Venetian dishes since 16th century and which you can taste while sipping on an excellent malmsey, exactly like Casanova did when he used to stop here and wait for his lovers or chat with regular customers.
Otherwise, continuing towards the fish market, in Campo delle Beccarie, you could stop in an old trattoria/restaurant Poste Vecie which has been around since 16th century and where Casanova also used to grant himself a feast or two.

4° stage: (3 h) After lunch we move towards St Marks' Square, an elegant square which was, with its cafés and its hidden corners, a theatre of the seducer's many erotic adventures. Behind the square, in calle Vallaresso, you can find what used to be the famous Ridotto, a theatre nowadays, but which once was a gambling house where Casanova, hiding himself behind a mysterious disguise, used to spend many hours gambling in company of Venetian noblemen, waiting for one of his gallant meetings. At the bottom of the lane there is Harry’s bar, a local belonging to the Cipriani family, a favourite spot for many artists, writers and poets amongst which there was a famous writer and seducer Lord Byron, and which would have surely been also for our Casanova if he had lived few more years!
To the most romantic ones, we advise to stop and enjoy this bar's atmosphere sipping on an excellent Bellini artistically prepared by Arrigo…
Before leaving the square, we suggest a visit to Piombi, terrible prisons of Doges' Palace that can be reached crossing the Bridge of Sights, where Casanova had been sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment, but from which he managed to escape through a hole in the ceiling after 15 months .
A few meters from St Mark's Square a new Museum of Erotic Art was inaugurated during the Carnival 2006 but it closed a few months later.

5° stage: (2 h) From the pier of St Mark's Square (San Zaccaria) take a waterbus for Murano, a last stage of our itinerary of Casanova's places.
One of the most legendary adventures of the seducer was consumed by desire on this island: story of love with M.M., a mysterious enclosed nun from the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Murano.
Getting off at the waterbus stop Venier, you'll still be able to find a wooden wharf and a door of the convent from which the nun came out, accompanied by a young friend, both Casanova's lovers, who waited for them in gondola, in the darkness of the night, hidden behind a mask that concealed his identity.
From that witnessing place of secret meetings, today there remain only desolated and crumbling remainders of the austere convent and the church, with a well curb in the garden, almost hidden in the middle of tall grass, but the atmosphere of mystery and solitude that reigns around to this day will take you back in time, leaving room for your fantasy…

Useful information:

Prisons of Doges' Palace
Address: Entrance door (Porta del Frumento), S. Marco 1  - Piazzetta S. Marco, Venice Tel: 041-5224951/ 041-2715911
Fax: 041-5285028
Opening hours: April - October: Monday - Sunday 9.00-19.00 (last entrance an hour before). November - March: Monday - Sunday 9.00-17.00. Closed 1st January, 25th December
Entrance fee: From 1st April with San Marco Museum Plus, the Museum of st Mark's square + 1 other of the museums run by Musei Civici Veneziani: full price 12,00 + 1,00 = 13,00 euro /reduced: 6,50 + 1,00 = 7,50 euro
Museum Pass, a cumulative ticket for alla the Civic Museums currently open and for those connected. This Ticket is valid for 6 months and grant only one admission to each Museum: full price: 18,00 euro/reduced: 12,00 euro.

Facilities: assisted access, archive, photographic archive, didactic activity, audio guide, didactic hall, library, coffee shop, book shop, museum publications, shop, guided tour
E-mail: This email address in protected from bots spam, necessary to enable JavaScript to see it
Actv lines: 1/2 waterbus stop San Zaccaria or San Marco
It is possible to accomplish a visit of secret itineraries of Doges' Palace, a walk through less sumptuous rooms of the palace where Civil Services carried out their daily work and the Court interrogated and tortured the suspects.
Visits by booking only with authorised guide. For information and booking: VeneziaSi-Ava Venice Travel.
Tel: +39 041 52 22 264

by Roberta Nalesso | VeneziaSì editor




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