(1725 - 1798)
adventurer, writer, poet, alchemist, scientict, philosopher
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was an Italian adventurer, writer, poet, alchemist, esotericist, diplomat, scientist, philosopher and secret agent, citizen of the Republic of Venice. The history of Malvasia wine is closely linked to this city and, thanks to the Venetians, this became the most important wine in Europe from the XV century on. Imported from the Greek city of Monemvasia, from which it takes its name, even though the largest part of production came from Crete, Malvasia was introduced so successfully that some taverns in the lagoon city sold exclusively this wine, so much so to be identified by the name of this wine itself. Even today in Venice, calli (alleys) and bridges are named after this vine and the term “Malvasie” indicates the places where bulk wines are served.
Giacomo Casanova left historical evidence of Venetian life in his detailed memoirs: Mémoires de J. Casanova de Seingalt, écrits par lui-même written in French between 1789 and 1798 and published posthumously around 1825, where he described his adventures, travel experiences, and what he liked best: food, wines, women.
In 1755 Giacomo Casanova, who had just returned to Venice after a long wandering between Paris, Prague and Vienna, found himself at "Do Mori" [Due Mori] Cellar undecided whether to taste the Malvasia that he was just served, and described the patrons of the oldest tavern in Venice.
During his travels, Giacomo Casanova in Constantinople met Osman, Pasha of Caramania, who in truth was Claude Alexandre, Count of Bonneval, who embraced the Islamic religion, but kept many bottles of wine hidden behind the curtains of a bookshop. When Casanova left, he gave him a bottle of Malvasia from Ragusa and a bottle of Scopolo, a very rare wine at the time, produced on the Greek island of Scoglio.
Casanova Giacomo, Storia della mia vita (22 voll.). Translation by Enrico Dall'Oglio (v.1-7, 13-22) and Decio Cinti (8-12), Milano, Corbaccio, 1924-1926; Roma, Cassini, 1961-1963; Milano, Dall'Oglio, 1964.
Luccichenti Furio, Intreccio libraro-enologico fra Casanova e De Bernis. Roma, at the Author’s, 1980.
Fabbri Dall’Oglio Maria Attilia, Il gastronomo errante Giacomo Casanova: tra gamberi e pernici a tavola con il Cavaliere di Seingalt. Roma, Ricciardi, 1998.
Naudin Jean-Bernard, Casanova: un goloso libertino. Venezia, Canal e Stamperia Editrice, 1998.
Romain Hyppolite, A tavola con Casanova: i menu della seduzione. Milano, Mondadori, 1998.