Showing posts with label Commedia dell'Arte. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commedia dell'Arte. Show all posts

13 March 2023

Eduardo Scarpetta - actor and playwright

Much-loved performer began theatrical dynasty

Scarpetta's comic plays were hugely popular with Neapolitan audiences
Scarpetta's comic plays were hugely
popular with Neapolitan audiences
Eduardo Scarpetta, one of the most important writers and actors in Neapolitan theatre in the last 19th and early 20th centuries, was born on this day in 1853 in Naples.

Fascinated by the commedia dell’arte and Neapolitan puppet theatre character Pulcinella, Scarpetta was the writer of more than 50 dialect plays in the comedy genre, creating his own character, Felice Sciosciammocca, a wide-eyed, gullible but essentially good-natured Neapolitan who featured prominently in his best-known work, Miseria e Nobiltà (Misery and Nobility).

His plays made him wealthy, although his standing was damaged towards the end of his career by a notorious dispute with Gabriele D’Annunzio, the celebrated playwright and poet with aristocratic roots who was a considerable figure in Italian literature.

A showman with a reputation for throwing extravagant parties, Scarpetta led a complicated personal life that saw him father at least eight children by at least four women, of which only one was by his wife, Rosa De Filippo.

One of his relationships, with Rosa’s niece, Luisa, a theatre seamstress, produced three children - Eduardo, Peppino and Titina De Filippo - central figures in an Italian theatre and film dynasty in the 20th century.

Another daughter, Maria, was the child of an affair with a music teacher, while a relationship with his wife’s half-sister, Anna, produced the journalist, poet and playwright, Ernesto Murolo, who co-wrote a number of famous Neapolitan songs with the composer Ernesto Tagliaferri, and another actor, Eduardo Passarelli.

His only legitimate son, Vincenzo, also became an actor, and later a director, playwright and composer. The part of Peppeniello in Miseria e nobiltà was written specifically for Vincenzo.

Scarpetta in character as his own creation, Felice Sciosciamocca
Scarpetta in character as his own
creation, Felice Sciosciamocca
Scarpetta did not come from a theatrical background. His father, Domenico, was a civil servant who tried without success to steer Eduardo into a more secure profession.

By joining a theatre company at the age of 15, Scarpetta believed he could help bring money into the family after his father’s poor health led to them falling on hard times.

He soon met Antonio Petito, a playwright and actor who at the time was one of Naples’s most famous interpreters of the Pulcinella character, and joined his company at the Teatro San Carlino on Piazza Castello, near the Castel Nuovo. It was while working with Petito that he created Felice Sciosciammocca, with whom Petito was so impressed he began to write plays with Pulcinella and Sciosciammocca as the main characters. 

Petito’s Pulcinella had evolved from the rather simple, slow-witted character of tradition to a sharp, insolent and above all instinctively cunning individual. Where Pulcinella was working class, Scarpetta’s middle-class Sciosciammocca was a perfect foil.

His partnership with Petito ended with the latter’s death in 1876, after which he worked briefly in Rome before returning to Naples. After a period performing at the Teatro Metastasio on the city’s pier, he returned to San Carlino as manager, investing much time and money in saving it from impending closure and restoring it.

San Carlino would in 1884 be demolished to make way for a new urban square, the Piazza Municipio, as part of a rehabilitation project for the area, which had become rather run down.

Nonetheless, Scarpetta had enjoyed a number of huge successes with his own plays, notably Miseria e Nobiltà, but also Il medico dei pazzi, na santarella, Lo scarfalietto, Nu Turco Napulitano and O miereco de’ pazzi.

Na santarella was one of Scarpetta's most successful plays
Na santarella was one of Scarpetta's
most successful plays
His wealth enabled him to build a substantial palazzo on Via Vittorio Colonna in the prestigious Chiaia district and a villa on the Vomero hill, in Via Luigia Sanfelice, which he named La Santarella.

La Santarella hosted a huge party each year on the occasion of his daughter Tatina’s birthday, to which Scarpetta invited actors, directors, journalists, writers and poets for a celebration that traditionally ended with a spectacular fireworks display that was visible all over the city.

Rosa was happy to accommodate all of Eduardo’s various children. Indeed, after his affair with the music teacher, Francesca Gianetti, it was Rosa who was said to have rescued the child, Maria, from the religious institute to which she had been abandoned.  Rosa, in fact, had a son of her own, Domenico, whose father was none other than the King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, with whom she had a relationship as a teenager before marrying Scarpetta.

Scarpetta’s fortunes began to decline when his Teatro Salone Margherita, a cabaret theatre in the basement of the then newly-built Galleria Umberto I in the centre of Naples began to suffer financially. At the same time a play he had written as a parody of a play by Gabriele D’Annunzio which prompted the well-connected D’Annunzio to accuse him of plagiarism and take him to court for staging the play without permission.

In the event, the court case went in the favour of Scarpetta, who successfully argued that his play, Iorio’s Son, was not a copy but a comic send-up of D’Annunzio’s tragedy, Iorio’s Daughter, but the case - and the panning that Iorio’s Son received from the critics - left Scarpetta embittered and though he continued to write he decided he would no longer act. 

He died at the age of 72 in 1925 and after an elaborate funeral in which his body was placed in a crystal coffin, he was buried in the De Filippo-Scarpetta-Viviani family tomb at the Cimitero Monumentale di Poggioreale in Naples, close to what would become the site of the city’s international airport at Capodichino.

Scarpetta's impressive villa in the Vomero district, which he named La Santarella
Scarpetta's impressive villa in the Vomero
district, which he named La Santarella
Travel tip:

Vomero, where Scarpetta had his impressive villa, La Santarella, is a middle class largely residential area of central Naples but has a number of buildings of historic significance. The most dominant, on top of Vomero hill, is the large medieval fortress, Castel Sant'Elmo, which stands guard over the city. In front of the fortress is the Certosa San Martino, the former Carthusian monastery, now a museum.  Walk along the adjoining street, Largo San Martino, to enjoy extraordinary views over the city towards Vesuvius.  Vomero's other tourist attraction is the Villa Floridiana, once the home of Ferdinand I, the Bourbon King of the Two Sicilies.  Surrounded by extensive gardens, the building now houses the Duke of Martina National Museum of Ceramics.

Chiaia is one of the more upmarket areas of the city of Naples
Chiaia is one of the more upmarket areas
of the city of Naples
Travel tip:

Chiaia, where Scarpetta’s wealth enabled him to build a large family house, is a neighbourhood bordering the seafront in Naples, roughly between Piazza Vittoria and Mergellina. It has become one of the most affluent districts in the city, with many of the top fashion designers having stores on the main streets. It is the home of a large public park known as the Villa Comunale, flanked by the large palazzi along the Riviera di Chiaia on one side, and the sweeping promenade of the Via Francesco Caracciolo on the other.  The area is home to many fine seafood restaurants and has become a popular nightlife destination for well-heeled young Neapolitans.

Also on this day:

1925: The birth of actor and voice-dubber Corrado Gaipa

1955: The birth of footballer and coach Bruno Conti

1960: The birth of rock musician Luciano Ligabue

1980: The birth of dancer Flavia Cacace


27 September 2022

Flaminio Scala - Renaissance writer and actor

Influential figure in growth of commedia dell’arte

A 16th century painting thought to show Flavio Scala's commedia dell'arte company, I Gelosi
A 16th century painting thought to show Flavio
Scala's commedia dell'arte company, I Gelosi 
The writer, actor and director Flaminio Scala, who is recognised as one of the most important figures in Renaissance theatre, was born on this day in 1552 in Rome.

Commonly known by his stage name Flavio, Scala was the author of the first published collection of scenarios - sketches - from the commedia dell’arte genre.

These scenarios, brought together under the title Il Teatro delle Favole Rappresentative, were short comic plays said to have provided inspiration to playwrights such William Shakespeare and Molière.

They were unusual because the theatre companies were so worried about rival troupes stealing their ideas that publishing them was considered too risky.

Commedia dell’arte was a theatrical form that used improvised dialogue and a cast of masked, colourful stock characters such as Arlecchino, Colombina and Pulcinella. The characters tended to be exaggerated versions of social stereotypes. Figures of authority, such as doctors or city officials, were often portrayed as buffoons, while the servants were much more lovable and sympathetic.

The cover page of Scala's collection of scenarios, published in 1611
The cover page of Scala's collection
of scenarios, published in 1611
The first record of Scala’s theatrical career suggests he was a member of a touring troupe known as the Compagnia dei Comici Gelosi in Florence from as early as 1577. He became known as Flavio after being given the role in 1610 of the company’s stock innamorato character, who was called Flavio.

Innamorati - lovers - were staple characters in commedia dell’arte, generally seen to be in love with themselves as much as other members of the cast. They were central to the plots of most scenarios.

As well as I Gelosi, Scala worked with a number of other successful commedia dell’arte companies. He can also be said to have been theatre’s first professional producer, having identified and hired an actor to play opposite him as his innamorata. She was Isabella Andreini, the 16-year-old wife of another actor, Francesco Andreini, who was such a success in the role that the company’s stock female lover became known as the Isabella.

Scala’s writing and directing reinforced commedia dell’arte as a highly expressive and physical art form, underlining the importance of body and facial gestures. The 50 scenarios in his collection Il Teatro delle Favole Rappresentative, published in 1611 and sometimes known simply as the Scala collection, did not contain any dialogue. 

They consisted instead of detailed stage direction, descriptions of the actions the characters were required to perform.  Dialogue in commedia dell’arte was improvised, the most successful actors those who could reference topical events or popular culture.

The collection was republished a number of times and, in 1967, appeared in translation for the first time as Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte.  More recently, translation of 30 of the scenarios was published as The Commedia dell'Arte of Flaminio Scala: A Translation and Analysis of 30 Scenarios, by Richard Andrews.

Little is known about Scala’s private life, although it is thought he was born into an aristocratic family and fathered one child, Orsola, who herself became an actress. His death was recorded as having occurred in Mantua in 1624.

The facade of the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome
The facade of the church of San
Luigi dei Francesi in Rome
Travel tip:

Flaminio Scala’s life coincided with that of the temperamental but brilliant painter, Caravaggio, who was active largely in Rome and was a major influence on the art of the Baroque period.  Rome today hosts approximately 25 Caravaggio masterpieces, several of which are on free public display in churches, including the basilicas of Sant’Agostino and Santa Maria del Popolo, which has two of his masterpieces in the Cerasi Chapel, and the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, where three Caravaggio paintings can be viewed in the Contarelli Chapel. The Sant’Agostino basilica is in Campo Marzio, where in 1606 the painter killed a man in a row over a woman, after which he spent the rest of his life effectively on the run.

Mantua, like Venice, gives the impression of rising from the water, in this case the Lago Superiore
Mantua, like Venice, gives the impression of rising
from the water, in this case the Lago Superiore
Travel tip: 

Mantua, where Flaminio Scala died, is a Renaissance city surrounded on  three sides by lakes, which can create the impression that the city rises from the water in the same way that Venice seems to emerge from the lagoon.  It is a city with a rich artistic and cultural heritage, going back to the time of Virgil, the Roman poet, said to have been born in a village nearby. In the Renaissance, Frederico Gonzaga II and Isabella d’Este presided over one of the finest artistic courts in Europe, to which they invited many musicians, artists and writers, among them Leonardo di Vinci and Raphael. Claudio Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo was performed for the first time in Mantua in 1607. More than 200 years later, Giuseppe Verdi set his opera, Rigoletto, in the city.

Also on this day:

1389: The official ‘birthday’ of Cosimo de’ Medici, banker and politician

1871: The birth of Nobel prize winner Grazia Deledda

1966: The birth of rapper and musician Jovanotti

1979: The death on Capri of English actress and singer Gracie Fields


29 April 2019

Rafael Sabatini – writer

Rafael Sabatini had been writing for 25 years before enjoying real success
Rafael Sabatini had been writing for 25
years before enjoying real success

Author of swashbucklers had the ‘gift of laughter’

Rafael Sabatini, who wrote successful adventure novels that were later made into plays and films, was born on this day in 1875 in Iesi, a small town in the province of Ancona in Le Marche.

Sabatini was the author of the international best sellers, Scaramouche and Captain Blood, and afterwards became respected as a great writer of swashbucklers with a prolific output.

He was the son of an English mother, Anna Trafford, and an Italian father, Vincenzo Sabatini, who were both opera singers.

At a young age he was exposed to different languages because he spent time with his grandfather in England and also attended school in both Portugal and Switzerland, while his parents were on tour.

By the time Sabatini went to live in England permanently, at the age of 17, he was already proficient in several languages. Although his first attempts at writing were in French when he was at school in Switzerland, he is said to have consciously chosen to write in English, saying at the time that all the best stories had been written in English.

A 1923 poster for a a silent movie version of Sabatini's  breakthrough novel Scaramouche
A 1923 poster for a a silent movie version of Sabatini's
breakthrough novel Scaramouche
Sabatini wrote short stories in the 1890s, some of which were published in English magazines. His first novel was published in 1902, after he began writing romances, saying it was more fun to write them than to read them.

During the First World War he worked for British Intelligence as a translator, while continuing to write.

It took him about 25 years of hard work before his novel, Scaramouche, became a big success in 1921.

The novel was an historical romance set during the French Revolution, featuring a young lawyer who becomes a revolutionary politician and hides out in a commedia dell’arte troupe, where he plays the character of Scaramouche, a roguish buffoon.

Scaramouche became an international best seller and was immediately followed by Captain Blood, which did even better.

The cover of a 1922 edition of another Sabatini bestseller, Captain Blood
The cover of a 1922 edition of another
Sabatini bestseller, Captain Blood
Sabatini’s earlier books were all rushed into reprints, including The Sea Hawk, which was originally written in 1915, but became a success much later. Sabatini continued to maintain a prolific output, producing a novel a year as well as his other writing.

In total, Sabatini produced 34 novels, eight volumes of short stories, six non-fiction books, several plays and numerous, individual short stories.

His books were made into plays and films during the silent era and some were remade in the sound era, although only some of the reels have survived intact.

Sabatini married Ruth Goad Dixon, the daughter of a Liverpool merchant, in 1905. Their only child, Rafael-Angelo, nicknamed Binkie, was killed in a car crash in 1927. In 1931, Sabatini and his wife divorced.

In 1935 he married the sculptor, Christine Wood. They suffered further tragedy when Christine’s son, Lancelot Dixon, was killed in a flying accident on the day he got his wings in the RAF. He flew over Sabatini’s house at Hay-on-Wye to celebrate and, watched by his proud mother and Sabatini, lost control of the plane, crashing it in flames in a nearby field.

Sabatini died in Switzerland in 1950 and was buried in Adelboden, a place where he had loved to go skiing. His wife had the first line of Scaramouche inscribed on his headstone: ‘He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.’

Iesi has massive 14th century walls that reflect its history as a former stronghold of the Sforza family
Iesi has massive 14th century walls that reflect its history
as a former stronghold of the Sforza family
Travel tip:

Rafael Sabatini was born in Iesi, also sometimes spelt Jesi, in the province of Ancona in Le Marche. Iesi was the main stronghold of the Sforza family in Le Marche until it was bought from them in 1447 by the Papal States. It was also part of the territory Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI, carved out of central Italy for himself during his brief career. Sabatini wrote several books about Cesare Borgia and his exploits when he was ruling that part of Italy. Iesi still has the massive 14th century walls that were built following the line of the Roman walls and six of the original towers are still standing today.

The port city of Ancona is the capoluogo of the  Marche region on the Adriatic coast
The port city of Ancona is the capoluogo of the
Marche region on the Adriatic coast
Travel tip:

Le Marche, known in English as the Marches, is a region of central Italy that forms a narrow strip along the Adriatic coast. It is bordered by Emilia-Romagna and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the west, Umbria to the southwest and Abruzzo and Lazio to the south. A railway from Bologna to Brindisi runs through the region along the coast. Ancona is the capoluogo, or main city, of the region.

More reading:

How Emilio Salgari's characters became part of Italian culture

A writer whose stories inspired classic Italian films

Why Alessandro Manzoni is Italy's most famous novelist

Also on this day:

1675: The birth of painter Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

1945: The liberation of Fornovo di Taro by Brazilian soldiers

1987: The birth of tennis champion Sara Errani


25 February 2019

Carlo Goldoni – playwright

Greatest Venetian dramatist whose work still entertains audiences today

Alessandro Longhi's portrait of Carlo Goldini is on display at the Casa Goldoni
Alessandro Longhi's portrait of Carlo Goldini
is on display at the Casa Goldoni
Carlo Goldoni, the author of The Servant of Two Masters, one of Italy’s most famous and best-loved plays, was born on this day in 1707 in Venice.

Goldoni became a prolific dramatist who reinvigorated the commedia dell’arte dramatic form by replacing its masked, stock figures with more realistic characters.

He produced tightly constructed plots with a new spirit of spontaneity and is considered the founder of Italian realistic comedy.

The son of a physician, Goldoni read comedies from his father’s library when he was young and ran away from his school at Rimini with a company of strolling players when he was just 14.

Later, while studying at the papal college in Pavia, Goldoni read comedies by Plautus, Terence and Aristophanes and learnt French so he could read plays by Molière.

He was eventually expelled for writing a satire about the ladies of Pavia and was sent to study law.

Although he practiced law in Venice and Pisa and held diplomatic appointments, his real passion was writing plays for the theatres in Venice.

Antonio Dal Zòtto's statue of Goldoni in Piazza San Bartolomeo in Venice
Antonio Dal Zòtto's statue of Goldoni
in Piazza San Bartolomeo in Venice
In 1748 he began writing for the Teatro Sant’Angelo company and dispensed with masked characters altogether for his play, La Pamela, a serious drama based on Samuel Richardson’s novel.

In the 1750 season he produced some of his best comedies, such as I pettegolezzi delle donne - Women’s Gossip - a play in Venetian dialect, Il bugiardo - The Liar - written in commedia dell’arte style and Il vero amico -  The True Friend - a comedy of manners.

From 1753 to 1762, Goldoni wrote for Teatro San Luca, now called Teatro Goldoni. Among the important plays he wrote during this period is La locandiera - Mine Hostess - which was first performed in 1753.

There was intense rivalry between competing playwrights at the time. Goldoni satirised Pietro Chiari, a rival playwright, in I malcontenti - The Malcontents - which was performed in 1755, before Carlo Gozzi, an adherent of the commedia dell’arte, denounced him in a satirical poem in 1757, then ridiculed both Goldoni and Chiari in a commedia dell’arte classic, L’amore delle tre melarance - The Love of Three Oranges - which was performed in 1761.

In 1762, Goldoni left Venice for Paris to direct the Comedie-Italienne. He later rewrote all his French plays from this period for Venetian audiences. L’Eventail, performed in France in 1763, became Il ventaglio - The Fan - and is considered one of his finest works.

Goldoni retired from the theatre in 1764 and went to teach Italian to the French royal princesses at Versailles.

In 1783 he began writing his Memoirs in French but after the French Revolution his pension was cancelled and he died in poverty in Paris in 1793. The pension was eventually restored to his widow, Nicoletta Conio, after the intervention on her behalf of the poet Andrea Chénier.

Goldoni’s most famous work, Il servitore di due padroni - The Servant of Two Masters - written in 1745, has been translated into different languages and performed many times. In 2011 it was adapted for the National Theatre in the UK under the title One Man, Two Guvnors and it was so popular it transferred to the West End and then Broadway.

Travel tip:

Goldoni was born in Ca’ Centani, or Centanni, a beautiful 15th century Gothic palace overlooking a narrow canal in the San Toma district of Venice. Better known as Casa Goldoni, the palace was bequeathed to Venice in 1931 and now houses the Goldoni Museum and a centre for theatrical studies. Through a series of displays of relics, furniture, paintings, illustrations of Goldonian comedies and explanatory panels, the museum represents the life and work of Carlo Goldoni in the context of 18th century theatre and Venetian society.

Hotels in Venice from

The interior of the Teatro Goldoni, which dates back to the 1720s
The interior of the Teatro Goldoni, which
dates back to the 1720s
Travel tip:

Teatro Goldoni near the Rialto Bridge in Venice was formerly known as Teatro San Luca, when Goldoni was writing plays for it. The present building dates back to the 1720s although it has been renovated many times after fires or structural problems. Situated in Calle Goldoni in the San Marco district, it was renamed Teatro Goldoni in 1875 and is now home to the Teatro Stabile del Veneto ‘Carlo Goldoni’.

More reading:

How Carlo Gozzi fought to preserve commedia dell'arte

Zanetta Farussi, the 18th century Venetian actress who was the mother of Casanova

Niccolò Piccinni, the opera composer for whom Goldoni wrote a libretto

Also on this day:

1682: The birth of anatomist Giovanni Battista Morgagni

1873: The birth of the great tenor Enrico Caruso

2003: The death of comic actor Alberto Sordi

Selected books:

The Comedies of Carlo Goldoni, edited and introduced by Helen Zimmern

The Servant to Two Masters, by Carlo Goldoni


13 December 2016

Carlo Gozzi – playwright

Noble Venetian who fought to preserve commedia dell’arte

Carlo Gozzi - a portrait by an unknown artist
Carlo Gozzi - a portrait by an
unknown artist
Count Carlo Gozzi, the poet and playwright, was born on this day in 1720 in Venice.

He was a staunch defender of the traditional Italian commedia dell’arte form of drama and his plays were admired throughout Europe.

Commedia dell’arte was a theatrical form that used improvised dialogue and a cast of masked, colourful stock characters such as Arlecchino, Colombina and Pulcinella.

Gozzi was against the dramatic innovations made by writers such as Pietro Chiari and Carlo Goldoni. He attacked Goldoni in a satirical poem and then wrote a play, L’amore delle tre melarance - The Love of Three Oranges - in which he portrayed Goldoni as a magician and Chiari as a wicked fairy.

The play was first performed by commedia dell’arte actors, who had been out of work due to the dwindling interest in the genre following the innovations of Goldoni and Chiari. It was a great success and revived the fortunes of the company of actors.

Having been born into a noble but poor family, Gozzi initially had to go into the army to make a living because his parents could not support him. When he returned to Venice, he joined the Accademia dei Granelleschi, a group determined to preserve Italian literature from being corrupted by foreign influences.

Gabriel Bella's painting of the stage at the Teatro san Samuele
Gabriel Bella's painting of the stage at the Teatro san Samuele
His personal crusade was to revive traditional commedia dell’arte and after the success of The Love of the Three Oranges, Gozzi wrote nine fiabe, literally fairy tales.

Considered outstanding were Il re cervo - the King Stag - Turandot, and La donna serpente - the Snake Woman - which were all performed in 1762, and L’augellin belvedere - the Pretty Little Green Bird - performed in 1765.

Gozzi’s fiabe were popular, both in Italy and other countries in Europe, and drew influences from commedia dell’arte, which led to a revival of interest in the genre and earned him the title of ‘the saviour of commedia dell arte’.

Gozzi’s Turandot was first performed at the Teatro San Samuele in Venice in January 1762.

Later, in Germany, the playwright Schiller turned Turandot into a serious play and it was used later as the basis for operas by Ferruccio Busoni and Giacomo Puccini. The Love of the Three Oranges also provided the basis for an opera by Sergey Prokofiev.

Gozzi wrote his authobiography, Memorie inutile - Useless Memories - in 1797.

He died in Venice in 1806 at the age of 85 and was buried in the Church of San Cassiano in the San Polo district of the city.

Travel tip:

Teatro San Samuele, where Gozzi’s Turandot was first performed, was an opera house and theatre at the Rio del Duca, between San Samuele and Campo Santo Stefano. It was first opened in 1656 in Venice and the playwright Carlo Goldoni was the theatre’s director between 1737 and 1741. The theatre was destroyed by fire in 1747 but then rebuilt and Gozzi’s play, Turandot, was performed in the new structure in 1762. It remained a theatre until the building was demolished in 1894. San Samuele is in the San Marco sestiere and is a waterbus stop on the right bank of Canal Grande, travelling from San Marco towards the railway station, before you reach the Rialto.

Campo San Cassiano in Venice, with the church of  the same name to the left
Campo San Cassiano in Venice, with the church of
 the same name to the left
Travel tip:

The Church of San Cassiano in Venice, where Carlo Gozzi was buried, is in the San Polo sestiere and can be reached by getting off the waterbus at the San Stae stop on Canal Grande. The 14th century church, which is dedicated to San Cassian of Imola, is in Campo San Cassiano. Its highlight is the painting of The Crucifixion of Christ by Tintoretto, which the art critic John Ruskin described as ‘the finest example of a Crucifixion painting in Europe’. Campo San Cassiano is also where the world’s first public opera house, Teatro San Cassiano, was located until it had to be demolished in 1812 after several fires.

More reading: