By Andrea di Robilant
Within the waning days of Venice’s glory within the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo used to be scion to at least one the city’s oldest patrician households. on the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the attractive, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mom and British father. due to their dramatically varied positions in society, they can no longer marry. And Giustiniana’s mom, afraid that an affair might destroy her daughter’s possibilities to shape a more desirable union, forbade them to work out one another. Her prohibition in simple terms fueled their wish and so started their torrid, mystery seven-year-affair, enlisting the help of a number of intimates and servants (willing to chance their very own positions) to go back and forth love letters backward and forward and to assist facilitate their clandestine conferences. ultimately, Giustiniana came upon herself pregnant and he or she became for aid to the notorious Casanova—himself infatuated with her.
Two and part centuries later, the incredible tale of this star-crossed couple is instructed in a panoramic narrative, re-created partially from the passionate, clandestine letters Andrea and Giustiniana wrote to one another.
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Extra resources for A Venetian affair: a true story of impossible love in the eighteenth century
This meant she had to keep Giustiniana at a safe distance from hot-blooded young Venetian patricians—who might try to seduce her for the sake of intrigue and entertainment but would never marry her—while she looked out for a sensible if less glamorous match. She could not allow Giustiniana to wreck her plans with a relationship that in her eyes had no future and would only bring dishonor upon the family. So in the winter of 1754 she told Andrea never to call on Giustiniana at their house again and forbade the two lovers from seeing each other.
Anna was looking in my direction. Once you left the rooms I no longer saw our tyrant and imagined we had lost her for good—your own gestures seemed to suggest as much. . But I asked around and was told she was still there. . I waited a while to see for myself, and sure enough there she was again. 1 Mrs. Anna clearly hoped that, thanks to her intervention, the passion so perilously ignited in the house of Consul Smith would subside before any irreparable damage was done to her daughter. But she had wrenched them apart just as they were falling deeply in love.
The Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) between the major European powers would soon come to darken spirits and change the atmosphere in the city. The Venetian Republic, neutral throughout this long conflict, which put an end to French expansionism and marked the rise of Great Britain as the dominant power, was going to feel adrift and ultimately lost after the war. But until then there prevailed a sense that things would go on unchanged as they had for centuries and that life should therefore be enjoyed to the fullest.