By Andrea di Robilant
Within the waning days of Venice’s glory within the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was once scion to 1 the city’s oldest patrician households. on the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the gorgeous, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mom and British father. as a result of their dramatically assorted positions in society, they can no longer marry. And Giustiniana’s mom, afraid that an affair could damage her daughter’s percentages to shape a more advantageous union, forbade them to determine one another. Her prohibition simply fueled their hope and so begun their torrid, mystery seven-year-affair, enlisting the help of a number of intimates and servants (willing to threat their very own positions) to travel love letters from side to side and to assist facilitate their clandestine conferences. finally, Giustiniana discovered herself pregnant and he or she became for support to the notorious Casanova—himself infatuated with her.
Two and part centuries later, the incredible tale of this star-crossed couple is informed in a panoramic narrative, re-created partly from the passionate, clandestine letters Andrea and Giustiniana wrote to one another.
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Additional resources for A Venetian affair: a true story of impossible love in the eighteenth century
That night he hardly slept, shifting restlessly in his bed, wondering if he had abandoned the Ridotto too abruptly and not made it sufficiently clear to Giustiniana why he was leaving the scene. The next morning he rose early and wrote to her at once: My beloved, I am very anxious to know whether your mother noticed anything last night—any act of imprudence on my part—and if you yourself were satisfied or had reason to be cross. Everything is so uncertain. At the theater things didn’t go badly, but at the Ridotto—I don’t know how it all ended at the Ridotto.
He had lost his sure touch in business transactions, and his weakened finances would only get worse. 7 He enlisted Andrea to help him catalogue all his paintings and books. Under the influence of Goldoni, Andrea also developed a strong interest in the theater. During the season, which ran from October through May, he went to the theater practically every night. He threw himself with enthusiasm into the raucous debate that was raging between conservative and progressive critics. Though Goldoni was twenty years older than Andrea, he enjoyed the young man’s company, regarding him not just as a promising member of the ruling class but also as a possible ally in his crusade in favor of plays that were closer to the everyday life of Venetians.
After lunch,” he advised her in one note, “find an excuse to come out on the balcony. But for heaven’s sake be careful about your mother. ” Andrea’s portable telescope was very useful. He would point it in the direction of Giustiniana’s balcony from a campiello, a little square, across the Grand Canal, to check whether she was at home or to find out whether she might be getting ready to go out or, best of all, to watch her as she leaned lazily over the balcony, her hair wrapped in a bonnet, watching the boats go by.