Today I was strolling down the Fondamenta della Misericordia in Venice (it’s so much busier than the last time I was here! And I don’t just mean that the tourists have returned, but that you can’t walk ten feet down the Misericordia without bumping into another bar!) and I was astonished to see that Cristoforo Capretta’s house is now a bar! It’s called A La Vecia Papussa.
Okay, some backstory.
Giacomo Casanova writes about his love for C.C., who we now know was Caterina Capretta, a young woman whose father was the merchant Cristoforo Capretta. Casanova had met Caterina when her brother Pier Antonio tried to fleece Casanova of his money by getting his girlfriend to flirt with him and then Pier threw his beautiful sister at Casanova. Ultimately it didn’t work–at least. Pier Antonio didn’t get all the money he wanted. But Casanova did fall in love with Caterina–and it was mutual. They spent some lovely weeks meeting clandestinely with the help of Pier Antonio and Caterina’s mother. Apparently Casanova even snuck in the back window to meet with Caterina.
But when Cristoforo returned from a trip, he flipped out (to use the modern term). He told Caterina to pack a bag, and he shipped her off to the convent. That didn’t ultimately stop the two from meeting, but that’s another story.
Capretta’s house was on the Misericordia. The house numbers have changed since the 18th century, but essentially the location is the same.
And now it’s a bar!
I had to go inside. How often do I get to go into one of the actual locations where Casanova went? I was perhaps over-excited, so I told the waiter and the bartender, who turned out to be the owner Tony, that this was a Casanova site. I don’t think they believed me. I even heard the waiter then telling a couple customers the story in a sort of mocking voice, though I prefer to think he was just excited by the story.
People so often only think of Casanova as this brainless seducer, chasing skirts and making conquests. I hope maybe sharing this information with the people at A La Vecia Papussa will convert some of their thinking!