More Puzzle Therapy #1

Here I go again–starting a new puzzle!

Posted in Gondolas, Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Casanova’s Footsteps: Rome–The Church of Trinità dei Monti

The facade of the church

In a previous post I told how Casanova met Mariuccia at the house of Momolo, a Venetian gondolier who had come to Rome and worked as a sweeper for the Pope’s rooms. You may remember that Casanova staked money on the lottery, using the number that Mariuccia suggested, and he had won big, sharing his bounty with the family. Mariuccia expressed her gratitude by pressing C’s hand at dinner and then agreeing to meet him at the church of the Trinità dei Monti, not far from where she lived on Via Gregoriana. I will share C’s description of Mariuccia in full because it encapsulates the ideals of beauty for that era:

“At seventeen or eighteen years of age, Mariuccia was tall, had a very good carriage, and seemed carved by the chisel of Praxiteles. She was fair, but her fairness was not that of a blonde, which with its unrelieved brilliance almost suggests the she had no blood in her veins. Mariuccia’s fairness was so alive that it offered the eyes a rosy bloom which no painter could ever have caught. Her black eyes, very large and prominent, and always in motion, had a dew on their surface which seemed a coating of the finest enamel. This imperceptible dew, which the air very easily dissipated, was continually restored by the rapid blinking of her lids. Her hair was gathered into four heavy braids, which joined at her neck to form a beautiful boss, yet not so tightly as to restrain a quantity of little curls which everywhere escaped from it, more especially to ornament her high and broad forehead with a random pattern as artless as it was unstudied. Living roses animated her cheeks, and sweet laughter dwelt on her beautiful mouth and her fiery lips, which, neither quite meeting nor quite parted, showed only the extremities of two perfectly even rows of teeth. Her hands, on which neither muscles nor veins were visible, appeared long in proportion to their breadth. This Roman beauty had not yet been seen by a connoisseur; it was to me that chance presented her in a blind alley where she lived in the darkness of poverty” (Vol. 7, Ch. IX, p. 197).

The interior of the church, where Casanova met with Mariuccia

The two met at the church at 8:00 in the morning but didn’t actually stay long. Once she caught C’s eye, she left, with Casanova following her to an out of the way staircase where she said no one would overhear them. Once there, Casanova quickly confessed, “You have made me fall madly in love with you; tell me what I can do for you; for, hoping to be granted your favors, my chief thought must be to deserve them” (198).

“Make me happy,” Mariuccia replied, “and I shall not find it hard to surrender to your love in return for your bounty, for I love you too.”

She then proceeded to tell Casanova about her tyrannical mother who never let her go anywhere except church or her confessor. However, just two weeks prior, a young man had spied Mariuccia at the church and later gave her a letter professing his love. He was a young wigmaker who wanted to marry her, but he asked for a dowry to set up shop so that he could support her with his earnings. Mariuccia had about half the money and asked C for the rest. He quickly agreed to bring it to her confessor, who would help arrange the marriage.

“With gratitude depicted on her features,” Casanova explained, “she received all the tokens of affection which she could receive and I give in the tormenting place where we were, but they amounted to so little that I left her on the stroke of nine o’clock much more in love with her than before and very impatient to have her in my arms the next day” (199). After Mariuccia left, C found a woman nearby who helped him find a room to rent for the next day, also asking her to procure furniture for it. (As far as I know, no scholar has identified this address.)

He then returned to the church to talk with the father confessor. Casanova contrived a story that would save the girl’s honor and allow the priest to accept the money for her wedding to the wigmaker. The priest agreed, and Casanova eagerly awaited his assignation with his new love.

The next day, Casanova again went to the church at the Trinità dei Monti, where Mariuccia saw him and followed him at a distance to the room he had rented. He undressed her and they made love, with him remarking that it was certainly her first time. The bells at the nearby church tolled the next hour, causing the lovers to dress hastily and depart. “As she departed,” C wrote, “she assured me that she knew she had surrendered to love far more than to interest” (203). Casanova dined again that night at Momolo’s, making sure he lost money at faro so that the family might win. Mariuccia clandestinely told C that her confessor had visited her with the news of the monetary gift and to get the name of her young wigmaker so he could arrange the marriage. Casanova left the next day for Naples.

C saw Mariuccia again when he returned to Rome in 1770-71 and found her very happily married to her wigmaker and with a nine-year-old daughter. See the post about Frascati for these details.

The church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti was actually supported by the King of France up to the Napoleonic period; it was partially destroyed in 1798. But up to that time, the church and convent were home to Minimite friars, to which Mariuccia’s confessor would have belonged. Casanova probably met this confessor in the convent rooms. As you can see, the church holds a prominent position at the top of the Spanish Steps.

(All images from Wikipedia.)
Posted in Casanova, Italian heritage, Rome, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Indie Go Go!

If you live in California, like to read and have a library card, today is your lucky day! Two of my books are now available on Biblioboard, a California library service for independent authors.

Click here for First Spritz Is Free: Confessions of Venice Addicts.

And click here for Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps.

I love to support independent authors, and it’s so wonderful that we find support from Indie California on their Biblioboard.

Posted in Casanova, Italian heritage, Venice, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seductive Venice from the Boot!

Carla Gambescia hosts a fabulous blog called Postcards from the Boot where she shares her love of Italy. Today she’s featuring a number of my photos, as well as her own, that highlight our sense of Venice’s seductive talents. Oh, and Casanova’s seductive talents too! Valentine’s Day seems like a good day to think about love…


See if you can guess where different photos were taken. Post a comment and I’ll let you know if you got it right!

Posted in Casanova, Gondolas, Italian heritage, Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venice, Wish You Were Here #14

IMG_2309

No date or stamp on this one. Argh! Did Aunt just carry it home? It must be before 1963, as that’s when the USA began using zip codes in addresses. Athol Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, is a long street that abuts the cemetery, but when I typed in Station D to Google maps, nothing came up. Do we have anyone out there who knows Baltimore and can explain?

Here, Aunt — is writing to a her niece Charlotta about her trip to Florence and Venice–and she’s still equivocating about our beloved city! I hope she had a good day and learned the truth–that Venice has so much to offer that rivals Florence! (Okay, I don’t mean to start a fight here. Florence is a lovely city, but you all know that I have a soft spot for Venice. That’s the point of this whole blog!)

Aunt — writes:

“I wish that you had gone to Florence and came here. Just now I like Florence better, but maybe after I have seen more of Venice today I may change my mind. We go out today all day with our American Express guide. I’ve found their service excellent–just as you did–We are being blessed with sunshine here in Venice and that means a great deal with so much water underneath.  With love, Aunt —“

(Can you read Aunt’s name?)

IMG_2308

The postcard says this is the Rio dei Carmini. This painting shows a gondola with a fabric felze and the grand campanile of the church of Santa Maria dei Carmini. I found a remarkably similar image on Pinterest:

Posted in Gondolas, Venice, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Venice Loves Me!

I got a postcard from Venice! She loves me and misses me.

Oddly, the post office never cancelled the stamp. (But you can see that the shark is eating my address!)

Posted in Venice | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Forty Fabulous Venetian Resources

Winter images from La Venessiana

La Venessiana, a blog-and-so-much-more offered by Iris Loredana and her grandmother Lina, just released the newest “40 Resources for You to Connect with Venice in 2021.” Until we can travel there in person, this page full of treasures will keep you busy with museum virtual tours, websites, books, videos, and articles in both English and Italian.

And guess what–Iris also includes Venice Rising: Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth!

Of course, Iris is one of the contributors to this anthology of stories about the 2019 flood and the 2020 lockdown. She is a treasure trove of information about Venetian history, foods, herbs–it’s a very long list, the many things she can share with you about Venice!

So do yourself a favor and check out her resource list. Even the photos will make you pine for the soft winter days Venice offers.

Posted in Italian heritage, Venice, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Guild of St. George, Ruskin, and Me

Peter Burman, the Director of the Guild of St. George, has been enjoying his copy of Venice Rising at his home in Scotland. In fact, he has written a book review, which you can read here. It was shared this past week in the newsletter that goes out to the Guild of St. George Companions.

Wait, you haven’t heard of the Guild of St. George, you say? Founded in 1871, it’s a group of people, mostly from Great Britain but with members around the world, who have taken up John Ruskin’s cause of trying to make the world a more livable place amidst encroaching industrialism. As the website says, “How can the ideas and writing of a Victorian polymath and social critic become actions that make lives better in the 21st century? In 1860, John Ruskin wrote these visionary and challenging words, ’There is no wealth but life’. In a world which still contains too much injustice and inequality, facing a climate emergency and now (summer 2020) riven with the social, political and economic impact of Covid-19, Ruskin’s words resonate as urgently as ever and can inspire each of us–as individuals, Guild Companions, communities and organisations–to make a difference.”

My own copy of Ruskin’s Stones of Venice

Besides writing the book review, Peter has also been speaking to various groups to inspire them to take up the cause of protecting Venice, a city that was particularly dear to Ruskin’s heart. You may already have your own copy of his Stones of Venice, considered one of the seminal texts about the city’s architecture.

Peter’s talk shares the ideas from two books: If Venice Dies by Salvatore Settis, and Venice Rising. I feel so honored that he has chosen our book as a way to share the stories of Venetians living through the city’s historic flood, pandemic, and over tourism. In the book review shared here, Peter quotes from the Venice Rising and discusses issues Venice faces as well as the optimism and hope for a new future that Venetians are working towards. He also urges his readers to consider supporting the grassroots organizations that are protecting and reimagining the city: We are here Venice, Venice Calls, and No Grandi Navi, which Peter has already met with in order to coordinate support.

I’m honored to know that the stories in Venice Rising have inspired others to protect Venice’s important and unique heritage.

Posted in Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Venice Rising on the Radio!

Tomorrow, January 23, Radio Venezia will be promoting my book Venice Rising: Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth. Tune in from 1:00 – 2:00 pm Venice time–4:00 am in California, so I’ll just be dreaming about it!Here is the streaming site https://www.veneziaradiotv.it/streaming-radio/ Andrea Rocco will be spinning music, so tune in and dance! Thank you, Rosemary and Graziella, for promoting this event!

“Vi annuncio che domani, sabato 23 , a Radio Venezia, durante la trasmissione condotta dal grande Andrea Ricci… nella fascia dalle 13 alle 14, si parlerà del libro “Venice Rising, Acqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth”! Un libro su Venezia alla Radio di Venezia… ci stava proprio!! Anche Radio Venezia ed Andrea Ricci in questo modo danno il loro contributo alla città di Venezia, vi ricordo che gli incassi delle vendite di “Venice Rebirth” sono totalmente devoluti ad associazioni Veneziane che lavorano per il benessere di Venezia! segui #VeniceOneWay ogni sabato e domenica dalle 12:00 alle 15:00 con Andrea Ricci ! In streaming in tutto il mondo, basta cliccare sul link:”

https://www.veneziaradiotv.it/streaming-radio/

Posted in Venice | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Brother in Venice

It’s nothing new in Venice to learn that someone is watching your moves. The State Inquisition did it for ages, with residents often denouncing their neighbors.

Well, now Venice has the 21st century version, a system that tracks the whereabouts of visitors to the city–where they’re from, where they pause in the street, even how fast they’re moving. This CNN article outlines the details and gives examples of the kind of information they can collect. Or here’s a second, shorter article from Inside Hook that summarizes the program.

Here’s a small example from the CNN article of what they discovered:

“There are 97 people in the area around St Mark’s Square on this Saturday afternoon, according to Bettini — of which only 24 are not Italian.And so far today there have been 955 people in the area, 428 of whom have come from abroad. Of the 527 Italians, only 246 are resident in Venice (if a mobile phone is regularly logged in the city, it is counted as a resident).”

Image from the CNN article

Is this sinister or a necessary step? Will this be a new tool in regulating the number of people who visit the city so that it’s not crushed under the weight of the 30 million (!!!) annual visitors? What do Venetians think of this?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please add a comment!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments