By Andrea di Robilant
Within the waning days of Venice’s glory within the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was once scion to 1 the city’s oldest patrician households. on the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the gorgeous, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mom and British father. as a result of their dramatically assorted positions in society, they can no longer marry. And Giustiniana’s mom, afraid that an affair could destroy her daughter’s percentages to shape a enhanced union, forbade them to work out one another. Her prohibition in simple terms fueled their hope and so started their torrid, mystery seven-year-affair, enlisting the help of a number of intimates and servants (willing to possibility their very own positions) to trip love letters backward and forward and to aid facilitate their clandestine conferences. ultimately, Giustiniana came upon herself pregnant and she or he became for aid to the notorious Casanova—himself infatuated with her.
Two and part centuries later, the unimaginable 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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Additional info for A Venetian affair: a true story of impossible love in the eighteenth century
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. Mrs. Anna’s ban seemed to spell the end of their forbidden love. But their timeworn letters have continued to surface over the years—in the archives in Padua, in the attic at Palazzo Mocenigo, at Randolph Macon College—to reveal that in fact this was only the beginning of a remarkable love story.
Elle “The best novel I’ve read in years . . except that it happens to be true. . So immediate, vivid, and powerful that it takes you inside the minds and, indeed, the bodies of its two passionate protagonists. . ” —Simon Schama, author of A History of Great Britain “Delicious and unique, marrying the vicarious thrill of reading someone else’s love letters with the . . ” —Philadelphia City Paper “Rarely does [a love story] emerge from history’s pages with the immediacy found in [di Robilant’s] A Venetian A fair.
We spent a rainy weekend cracking the strange cipher and trying to make some sense of the first fragments we were able to read. I remember we were wary of delving into secrets buried so long ago. Yet we labored on because the spell was irresistible. At the end of that long weekend I went back to Rome, where I was then working as a journalist, while my father took on the task of deciphering and transcribing the cache of one hundred or so letters in his possession. What eventually emerged from his painstaking labor was the remarkable love story between our ancestor Andrea Memmo, scion of one of the oldest Venetian families, and Giustiniana Wynne, a bright and beautiful Anglo-Venetian of illegitimate birth.