The Teatro San Moise used to sit here, on the Grand Canal. It was a small theater, never large enough for the crowds it drew. You see, this was the prime neighborhood for entertainment. Gondolas would drop off their passengers nearby so they could attend the theater, the Ridotto gambling venue, or perhaps even the church of San Moise. That last one, maybe not, at least not for entertainment!
The first show at the Teatro San Moise was in 1640, Arianna by Monteverde. Casanova mentions attending the shows here, though he doesn’t provide us with details. Later, the building featured a marionette theater and then a film house. The sign at the back gives the previous name as the Teatro Minerva.
Also nearby, on a street called “Fish Alley,” was the “Painting Academy,” as Casanova called it. He denounced it to the State Inquisitors in one of his reports. Casanova described how couples would arrive in order to view the painters working from live–naked–models. “Many lovers come to this spectacle,” he wrote. “Being neither painters nor draughtsmen, it is obvious that simple curiosity is the reason for their coming” (quoted in Guy Endore’s biography Casanova: His Known and Unknown Life). Sounds like a fun date.