In Casanova’s Footsteps: Rome–An Inn on Via del Corso

Casanova sojourned in Rome on three different occasions: in the 1740s, 1760-61, and 1770-71. I’ve mostly told you the tales of his first stay in Rome, and now I will pivot to his return in 1760. We know of these adventures from Volume 11 of his memoirs. At the beginning of Chapter 8, Casanova writes that times have changed for him, that at age 45, “I still loved the fair sex, though with much less ardor, much more experience, and less courage for daring enterprises, for, looking more like a father than a lover, I believed I no longer had rights or justifiable claims.”

As Casanova headed into Rome, he was asked to escort a young British woman named Betty, who was exhausted from riding a horse alongside her putative husband and now wished to ride by carriage. Casanova was delighted to accompany her, as she was “perfectly charming, very nicely dressed in the English style, blonde, rather thin, with small breasts which a gauze gorget allowed me to glimpse, a childish timidity which expressed itself in fear of discommoding me, a noble, delicate countenance, and a modesty of manner which was almost virginal,” he reported.

As they travel, her manners, and her husband’s initial poor treatment of her, awakened C’s sympathy, as he started to fall for her. He also learned that Betty attended school in London with C’s daughter Sophie (though he doesn’t admit to Betty that he is her father). It soon became clear, and Betty finally admitted it, that her “husband” was a seducer who had stolen her from another man. Casanova agreed to assist her, and eventually they were reunited with Sir B.M., who almost shot Casanova, thinking he was the one who stole Betty away from him.

All these peregrinations eventually bring this trio to Rome, where Casanova had his trunk taken to an inn across from the church of San Carlo in Corso (full name Sant’Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso) on Via del Corso (I blogged about this church previously–See September 25, 2019.)

Here are the buildings across from the church, but I have not done the research to find exactly where the inn was in 1760–one of the downsides to being forced to stay at home during a pandemic, with no access to libraries, either! Roland, who had opened the Hotel Londra, opened another hotel in 1770 called the Ville de Paris situated on the Piazzetta Caetani near the Corso; this information gleaned from Trask’s notes (Vol. 11, Ch. IX, note 3). Would this place on Via del Corso be that same Ville de Paris? And what is the address? If anyone can help me find this, I would appreciate it!

So this was a very long introduction to mention an inn of which we know next to nothing except its location. As Casanova, Sir B.M. and Betty entered Rome, they were routinely searched. Casanova tells us, “After a polite search of my trunk by two clerks, the postilion took us to an inn opposite the Church of San Carlo, where, after having my trunk taken to a separate room, I begged Sir B.M. to remain calm, assuring him that I would attend to the whole matter in the course of the morning and that we should dine together well satisfied.”

About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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3 Responses to In Casanova’s Footsteps: Rome–An Inn on Via del Corso

  1. Nancy Schwalen says:

    Interesting that the men were searched. What made them suspicious or was this a routine occurrence for men coming in to Venice (and why were they suspicious)?

    • Hi Nancy–Good question. I think it was normal for visitors to be searched and for people to show their traveling documents. But I’m not sure what the authorities were looking for.

  2. Nancy Schwalen says:

    This could lead to writing a story to fill in the blanks, kind of like a “James Bond secret spy” caper.

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