A private, expert-led walk through the city of Venice focusing on the century of Casanova.
Following a period of immense political and economic power, which Venice amassed during its period as a republic in the 16th and 17th centuries, the city slid into a riotous age of glorious hedonism in the 18th century, or Settecento (1700s). Artists such as Tiepolo, Pietro Longhi and Francesco Guardi, and playwright Carlo Goldoni depicted the culture of the age, including the casinos, elaborate parties, lavish fashions, and elegant cafes that made Venice a destination for the wealthy and decadent of Europe. The prime protagonist of this period was Giacomo Casanova, whose glamorous exploits (especially of the amorous type) became legends in his own time.
Our Casanova’s Venice walking seminar will explore palaces, public spaces, and churches that best illustrate this vibrant moment in Venetian history. We will visit a museum of the 18th century, either the Ca’ Rezzonico or the Querini Stampalia Museum, sumptuous palaces which now house rich collections dedicated to eighteenth-century art and material culture. We will spend approximately one hour inside, discussing the history of the patrician families who once owned these homes in the context of eighteenth-century noble culture, and examine a number of the sumptuous rooms, paintings (including works by Pietro Longhi, Canaletto and Tiepolo), frescoes and period pieces for what they reveal about the period. From here we will move through the back alleys of Venice, exploring both the social and economic context of this period, but also the effect it had on all of the arts of the time (painting, architecture, theatre, etc.). Discussion will turn to the popular social activities of the age – most notably, gambling and the importance of casino culture in Venice. We might also head in the direction of St. Mark’s Square, home of the Doge’s palace, where Casanova was imprisoned for dabbling in magic, and end with a coffee at one of the gilded cafes that were gaining in popularity during the Settecento.
As an orientation, this experience is lighter in flavor than our in-depth walks and is usually led by guides who currently live, or have lived, in Venice for a number of years. We will spend a certain amount of time explaining the sites along the route; but we will also try to situate you in the city, orient you to the major areas, and answer any of your questions. In short, it is an excellent walk to take at the beginning of your stay here.