By Andrea di Robilant
Within the waning days of Venice’s glory within the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was once 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. as a result of their dramatically various positions in society, they can now not marry. And Giustiniana’s mom, afraid that an affair might damage her daughter’s percentages to shape a enhanced union, forbade them to work out one another. Her prohibition basically fueled their wish and so all started their torrid, mystery seven-year-affair, enlisting the help of a number of intimates and servants (willing to probability their very own positions) to travel love letters from side to side and to aid facilitate their clandestine conferences. ultimately, Giustiniana stumbled on 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 partially 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
Clearly these letters had at some point been returned to Andrea by Giustiniana and preserved by the family; but they were by no means all of Andrea’s letters. Many had been burnt, and many more had probably been left to rot and then thrown away. But those we had were rich enough to provide a far more complete picture of the love story—and to disprove Brunelli’s contention about Andrea’s temperament as a lover. Once my father finished transcribing the letters, he tried to publish them. Time went by, and I wondered whether he would ever complete his project.
His mother, Lucia Pisani, came from a wealthy family that had given the Republic its greatest and most popular admiral—the fierce Vettor Pisani, who had saved Venice from the Genoese in the fourteenth century. Pietro was always a rather remote figure—he and Andrea could find little to say to each other—and Lucia was not especially warm with her children either; her stiff manner was fairly common among the more old-fashioned patrician ladies of that time. Nevertheless, she was by far the more forceful of the two parents, and Andrea felt closer to her than he did to his father.
Anna was losing the battle. Andrea’s courtship was assiduous, visible to everyone, and highly compromising. He saw Giustiniana every day at the Listone in Piazza San Marco, where Venetians gathered for their evening stroll, and often later on as well, at one of the theaters. He frequently moored his gondola to the narrow dock below the Wynnes’ house and called on Giustiniana in full view of the family. In the winter of 1754 Mrs. Anna finally confronted him. She caused a terrible scene, declaring Andrea persona non grata in their house and making it clear she never wanted to see them together again.