If you’re planning a visit to Venice this Spring, be sure to visit the city’s newest museum which opened a couple of weeks ago, dedicated to one of the Venetian Republic’s most famed and fabled sons – Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798).
Today Casanova is primarily known as a legendary lothario, whose louche sexual conquests numbered around 120 (if the claims in his memoirs are to be believed). However, as this enlightening new museum makes clear, he was much more than an arch seducer; he was also an alchemist, a diplomat, a philosopher, a soldier and even a secret agent.
Indeed, as his biographer Ian Kelly writes, “Casanova might be surprised by his reputation in the modern world because he was a fiercely proud intellectual and polymath. He was a very skilled mathematician and he wrote something like 42 books, including a history of Poland and arguably the world’s first-ever science fiction novel.”
Housed in Palazzo Papafava in Cannaregio, and manned by a fleet of staff in period 18th costumes, the museum is spread over six rooms that pulsate with audio-visual effects and dramatic lighting. Featuring multi-media installations and stage-sets along with archival documents, costumes, paintings and memorabilia, it’s a highly immersive and entertaining experience that offers a wealth of insights into Casanova’s intriguing life, loves and legacy, as well as 18th Century Venice in general.