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Giacomo Casanova

La pietra che parla | The stone that speaks

Venezia, Campo San Maurizio ©venicebyvenice


Giorgio Baffo era un nobile veneziano, membro della Quarantia Criminale. Amava comporre versi erotici che declamava durante le feste. Censurato fino all’800. Venne particolarmente apprezzato da Federico Berchet e Guillaume Apollinaire.

Amico di Giacomo Casanova, e sostenitore della famiglia Grimani.

Tra i vari annedoti si racconta che un giorno la madre di Casanova, l’attrice Zanetta Farussi, andò a trovare il figlio a casa del Baffo e a stento lo riconobbe, con addosso la parrucca bionda. A cena un ospite inglese discutendo delle differenze grammaticali tra latino e inglese chiese perché in latino cunnus (vagina) fosse un nome maschile e mentula (penis) fosse femminile.

Il giovane Casanova rispose subito:

Perché lo schiavo prende il nome dal suo padrone.

A tradurre dal latino fu Giorgio Baffo…



Giorgio Baffo was a Venetian nobleman, member of the Quarantia Criminal. He loved writing erotic poetry that he read at parties. Censored until the XIXth century. He was particularly loved by Federico Berchet and Guillaume Apollinaire.

Casanova’s friend and supporter of the Grimani’s family.

Among various anedoctes on his life, it is told that one day, Casanova’s mother, the actress Zanetta Farussi went to see her son at Baffo’s residence and she could hardly recognize him wearing a blond wig. At dinner, while discussing the grammatical difference between English and Latin, an English guest asked why cunnus (vagina) was a masculine noun and mentula (penis) was feminine.

The young Casanova promptly replied:

It is because the slave takes his name from his master.

Giorgio Baffo translated from Latin…


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Walking and talking #2: From Piazza San Marco to the Arsenale

This is an ideal walk if you enjoy the sun and want to admire the cityscape. Leave the piazza behind you and cross the bridge parallel to the bridge of sighs which used to link Palazzo Ducale to the ancient prison – Giacomo Casanova managed to escape from the Piombi prison thanks to a rope and a boat – and stroll along the fondamenta of Riva degli Schiavoni.

On your left-hand side a succession of hotels, the Danieli Excelsior, location of a famous James Bond scene (From Russia with love, Casino Royale), the equestrian sculpture in bronze by Ettore Ferrari dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II just in front of Hotel Londra Palace, a few meters ahead the small palace where the writer Henry James lived, a bridge on rio dei Greci and its leaning bell-tower, and the Chiesa of Santa Maria della Pietà, known to be the site that hosted Antonio Vivaldi’s school of music.

For those interested in the life and works of the red priest, it is worth a visit San Giovanni in Bragora in campo Bandiera e Moro, the church where he was baptised.

Back to the fondamenta after crossing a wide bridge, on your left-hand side the Arsenale. The word derives from the Arabic darsina’a meaning “house of industry”, where the ships saw the light of day, and where Venetians built their fleets.

The ancient corderie (where ropes were made) were re-furbished as the site of one of the two locations of the Venice Biennale, the other one is in the island of Sant’Elena, Giardini. A green oasis in the lagoon.


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