Today, we continue our series on book and apartment pairings, with a twist: having just finished reading a one-volume version of Giacomo Casanova’s famous memoir, The Story of My Life, I found myself daydreaming about the many places he visited on his 18th century travels throughout Europe. Presented here, a few selections of places to stay for the aspiring Casanova, all found on AirBnB, presented with quotes from the master himself about the places he visited.
From The Story of My Life by Casanova: “…but what takes my attention…is a man who enters the room disguised in the Venetian manner, bautta, black cloak, white mask, cocked hat as in Venice. I feel sure that he is a Venetian, for a foreigner never succeeds in dressing exactly as we do.”
Casanova was, of course, a Venetian. The son of two actors, Casanova was a local prodigy who went from precocious student to troublemaking reveler to prisoner of the state before being forced to flee his beloved hometown for good. Where would Casanova entertain a wayward nun if he were to lure her away from her convent in Venice today? This beautifully furnished apartment, overlooking a canal near the Piazza San Marco is an excellent guess.
From The Story of My Life by Casanova: “You cannot imagine what good souls the Parisians are…The gods who are worshiped here, though no altars are raised to them, are novelty and fashion. A man has but to run, and all those who see him run after him.”
Like many travelers in the 18th century and the 21st, Casanova’s travels led him to Paris in his youth, a city to which he was to return many times. Casanova worked his way up to the top of Parisian society before being exiled by the king and fleeing in fear for his life. Despite this unfortunate incident, Casanova, with his love of the nobility and high living, deplored the Revolution. This hôtel particulier is located in the Marais, the neighborhood in Paris where most of the nobility lived in the 1700s. Many of their mansions, including this one, are still standing.
City: St. Petersburg
From The Story of My Life by Casanova: “I should have offended against both truth and good manners if, to this frankness on the part of a lady of her caliber, I had not shown her that in Russia what was laughable was nothing in comparison with what was admirable; and thereupon I entertained her for more than an hour on everything of every sort which I had found remarkable in Petersburg.”
Casanova met Catherine the Great and had an affair with a stranded French actress during his time in St. Petersburg. This centrally located, beautifully detailed apartment would be a great place to do either of those activities.
City: near Ágreda, Spain
From The Story of My Life by Casanova: “I look at the title and I see Mistica Ciudad de Dios, Vida de la Virgen María by Sister Maria de Jesus de Ágreda. I have never heard of it…I read everything that the extravagance of the heated imagination of an extremely devout Spanish virgin, given to melancholy, shut up in a convent, and guided by ignorant and flattering confessors, could bring forth…chimerical and monstrous visions…”
While in prison in Venice, Casanova was given a book written by a 17th century nun who is probably the most famous person to ever be born in Ágreda. It’s safe to say that Casanova was not a fan. While Sister Maria’s mystical writings earned her a wide following in her time, a following which included the King of Spain, Casanova’s world view was, let’s say different. When he later passed through Ágreda in his travels, his dislike of her book colored his perceptions. However, it is hard to believe that he could resist this charming hideaway in a rural area near Ágreda. Carved into the side of a mountain, it would be the perfect place to have a love affair or work on your mystical masterpiece.