My friend Vonda just returned from a trip to Venice, where she took this photo of the Cinema Rossini, which is Casanova’s day was known as the Teatro Benedetto. Vonda was there to buy Murano glass for her store A Time for Karma (Rockville Centre, NY) and to walk all seven walks in Seductive Venice. Last time I was in Venice, this site was covered head to toe in scaffolding, so I’m grateful for this pic.
Casanova had a number of reasons to frequent the Teatro Benedetto. It was owned by the Grimani, patrons of his family and owners of a number of Venetian theaters. Michele dall’Agata was the manager. Casanova met him in various locales around Europe. Casanova had known dall’Agata’s wife when they were much younger; she was supposed to chaperone the adolescent Casanova when he was left alone with Teresa Imer (and it didn’t work). Casanova had also loved La Callimena, aka Agata Carrara, whom he had met when she was only 14 and he 31 years her senior. He fell for her black eyes and lamented that he didn’t have the income to marry her.
Casanova’s friends the Binettis also worked at the Teatro Benedetto. Georges Binet, a Frenchman, Italianized his name and married Anna. The couple met up with Casanova throughout Europe on numerous occasions. In fact, Casanova was once drawn into a nearly-fatal duel over Anna, and another time she helped him escape for a sticky situation in Stuttgart.
Besides visiting these friends, though, Casanova also attended the theater for his work–as a spy for the State Inquisitors. He was supposed to report on the performances both on and off the stage. In one report, he mentions “the scandalous disorder produced in the theaters when the lights were extinguished.” He also suggested that the manager be apprehended for the inappropriate dancing he allowed in the ballet Coriolanus. It’s disturbing that Casanova would denounce his friend to the authorities, though nothing ever seemed to come from these reports, and the friendship didn’t apparently end over this.
More details on these exploits, as well as quotes from Casanova himself, can be found in Walk #6 of Seductive Venice–and the Cinema Rossini can be found near Campo San Luca in Venice.