I love this new habit–roughly every six months I have breakfast with a Casanovist! Last February, I met up with Marco Leeflang and Branko Aleksic in Paris, and today I had breakfast with Tom Vitelli at Buck’s in Woodside, California. Tom and his wife were in town to settle their son at Stanford, and after corresponding for nearly two years, we finally met in person.
I first discovered Tom because he had created a webpage listing the Casanovists around the world and what area of Casanova’s life they studied. He’s also the person who put me in contact with numerous other researchers worldwide. Tom is one of the editors of l’Intermediaire des Casanovistes, the publication of research on our man C. Tom has been so generous with his time and knowledge. He even brought me a copy of J. Rives Child’s biography of Casanova, which I already have, and now I feel a certain sense of duty to find a new person to bring into the fold by passing on the book. (I have a feeling a couple of my readers out there might be that person. Let me know if you’re interested!)
Tom told us this wonderful story of how the Casanovists used to have a sort of clubhouse in Venice, the Palazzo Vendramin on Giudecca. They were bankrolled by a wealthy patron who flew them to Venice so they could meet and share research, but the last meeting was in 1978. (This patron owned the famous fish painting from Fellini’s Casanova film, which he then gave to one member of the group, who has it hanging over his bed! Notice I’m not telling you who, to protect the innocent, just as Casanova did.)
I immediately started fantasizing about how I would bring together the current Casanovists in Venice. That would be so much fun! All I need is a wealthy patron.
So what do Casanovists eat for breakfast? Eggs benedict for Tom. I had the Buck’s special–french toast stuffed with mascarpone and blueberries. Couldn’t resist. We should have had hot chocolate to toast Casanova!