The Nobles’ Hangout (or Your Next Place to Shop)

This image caught my eye as I crossed the bridge just before the Campo San Barnaba.

I went inside to see what it had to offer. The owner, Stefano, was welcoming and friendly. What an eye for design he has! This is the Casin dei Nobili in Dorsoduro, just near Campo San Barnaba. The name refers to the “casino” or small rooms that nobles used for informal gatherings.

Have you seen this sculpture elsewhere? It’s on the side of the church of Santa Maria Formosa.
Here is the view from inside the shop back to the bridge I was standing on.
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Spare us this Abomination

I thought giving dap was long gone. Someone forgot to tell the t-shirt makers.

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Cats in Venice

Cats are photogenic. Cats + Venice = uberphotogenic.

The close up
The longer view
The knocker on the front door where they apparently live. There was a note on the door requesting that no one feed them because they have some health issues and a specific diet.

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Gioco Reale

That’s the name of the game you play on this table, which I just saw at the Ca’ Rezzonico.

(Sorry for the funky angle, but I was trying to get a photo without a shadow or a glare.)

Here are some close ups of the images in the boxes. Don’t you want to know what all of them are called? And how this game is played? I’m a bit limited in my internet access right now (I’m at a bar on the Lista di Spagna!) so I can’t look up the game. But if you know it, please share the information with us!

What is THIS? Please share your conjectures and explanations!

The camel first caught my eye. But I’m not sure if he’s my favorite. What’s yours?

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Venetian Emoji 10

I was trying to come up with a clever explanation for this emoji, but I’m not that clever! You are more clever than I! Please suggest what emotion or reaction this emoji expresses.

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The Connection between Casanova’s Lover and a New Bar in Venice

This orangey-pink house belonged to Cristoforo Capretta and is now a bar.

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!

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Impressions of an Evening Drink

The lamp catches your eye and invites you to enjoy a drink on a summer evening.
So many drinks to choose from! How will you decide? The barista suggests a strong red.
You are sitting outside on a stool, on a narrow calle in the Cannaregio district. Is the owner watching you?
You are enjoying the reflections in your wine glass. Your feet are tired from walking all day, but it’s so worth it to be back.
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In Casanova’s Footsteps: Rome–Palazzo Decarolis

Palazzo Decarolis, also known as De Carolis, became the Roman home to Joachim de Bernis. Casanova had first met him when he was the ambassador from France, but when he was promoted to the position of Cardinal, he set up house in the grand Palazzo Decarolis on Via del Corso 307. He served at the church of San Silvestro, which I describe in a different post.

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Google Maps satellite view of the location

Casanova doesn’t specify where he went to spend this time together. In John Masters’ 1969 biography Casanova, on page 247 he writes, “The Cardinal lived in the palace which is now the Banca di Roma.”  According to historian Roberto Piperno, de Bernis lived in the Palazzo Decarolis and brought his guests there. Adriano Contini in Rome sent this image of a plaque on the Banco di Roma, which is housed in the Palazzo Decarolis, that confirms it was the site of the French Ambassador.

Image thanks to Adriano Contini


Contemporary view of the Palazzo Decarolis, from

As I mentioned in another post, Casanova had become friends with the Prince of Santa Croce, who commented that “I have never heard His Eminence speak of anyone with as much regard as he does of you.”

“The Cardinal received me the next day with every sign of the unfeigned pleasure it gave him to see me again,” wrote Casanova. “He praised me for my reticence in speaking of him to the Prince of Santa Croce at the Duchess’s, being sure that I would say nothing about the circumstances of our friendship in Venice. I told him that, except for having grown stouter, I found him as handsome and fresh-looking as when he had left Paris twelve years earlier, but he replied that he felt different in every way.”

“I am fifty-five years old,” Bernis replied, “and I am reduced to a vegetable diet.”


Bernis promised to approach Erizzo, the Venetian Ambassador, to secure a warm reception for Casanova when he called at the Palazzo Venezia. Casanova writes, “I told him I had plenty of money, and I saw that he was delighted to know it, and even more pleased when I told him I was all alone and determined to be on my good behavior and to live without ostentation.” They also reminisced about their times in Venice. “He said that he would write M.M. of my presence in Rome,” writes Casanova, recalling the nun who had been de Bernis’ mistress and who later became Casanova’s.


Portrait of Cardinal de Bernis (Wikimedia)

Rather than taking a mistress, the Cardinal de Bernis now attended the Princess of Santa Croce as her cavalier servente, a companion and escort accepted by her husband the Prince. Casanova explains, “The Cardinal saw her only on the three regular visits he paid her every day: when she rose in the morning and he went to see if she had slept well; every afternoon, when he went to drink coffee with her in her apartment; and every evening at the assembly in her palace.” In other words, he didn’t spend the night with her. Casanova was then invited to visit the Princess at other times, which he took advantage of, finding her to be an amusing companion.


1753 etching by Vasi showing the Palazzo Decarolis

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Cassone (again)

Back in the pre-pandemic days when we took students on fields trips, I went with the French classes to San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum. What a treat of a day! We just wandered through the museum, which has an excellent permanent collection of Rodin and Monet and many other great things.

Previously I’ve posted photos of Venetian cassoni, the chests that usually held a trousseau or a woman’s linens or clothing that she took with her to her new husband’s home. The museum had an excellent specimen, so I’m sharing it with you here.



Detail of the carving at the corner


Who knows if this cassone was ever in Venice, but they were common to the city.

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Redefining Beauty: Morosina Morosini Grimani

In 1597 Morosina Morosini Grimani hosted a coronation party unusual for its time. Her husband Marino Grimani had been chosen as Doge of Venice two years earlier and had had his own inauguration festival. But the unusual thing was her immense event, which included regattas, barges for dancing, processionals and more, amidst three days of celebration. In this portrait, she doesn’t look like a party animal, but she certainly knew how to throw one in her own honor!

When women were usually expected to stay in their homes or churches, Morosina instead put on a more public face. In this video I give you a summary of her accomplishments and contributions, from her fashion design to her philanthropy to her ability to put a female face amidst the male city leaders.

Last week I ran a workshop for high school students titled “Redefining Beauty,” and when one of the students viewed this video, she remarked, “Morosina found ways to make the festival for everyone, so it wasn’t just about herself.” I love that a 15-year-old in 2021 can appreciate the contributions of a woman from over 400 years ago.

Andrea Vicentino’s painting of Morosina’s inauguration
No, I’m not standing in the water, though it looks like it! Thank you to the kind stranger who filmed me that day.
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