Venice has always been a place of attraction for artists from all over the world. Walking around the Venetian “calli” you can read the plaques that testify the past presence of this or that important person who stayed there for a few months or several years. Here the past artists in Venice:
Starting from the poet Pietro Aretino who from 1527 to 1556, the year of his death, moved to Palazzo Bolani Erizzo in Cannaregio. The futurist poet Marinetti also lived in the same building for a short time in 1944.
The sculptor Antonio Canova was hosted in a house in Campo S.Gallo by the famous coffee maker Francesconi, known as Florian, founder of the famous Café. The building was later destroyed, but the soul of the famous artist remains connected to the mythical Caffè Florian.
Giuseppe Balsamo, Count of Cagliostro, lived with his beautiful wife under the name of Marquis Pellegrini on the island of Giudecca. He met Casanova in Santiago de Compostela and thus had the opportunity to meet him again in Venice with the mysterious Count of Saint Germain.
The poet Robert Browning was often a guest of the Curtis family at Palazzo Barbaro. He spent the last years of his life at Ca’ Rezzonico, dying there in 1889. Henry James wrote “The Aspern Papers” at Palazzo Barbaro, also a guest of the widow Curtis of Boston. Also guests at Palazzo Barbaro were the painters Claude Monet with his wife, John Singer Sargent and James Abbott Whistler.
From 1816 Lord Byron lived in Palazzo Mocenigo for 3 years. Ugo Foscolo lived with his mother and sister from 1792 to 1797 in a house in “Campo de le Gate”. In 1786 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lodged near the La Fenice theater in “Calle dei Fuseri”.
From 1858 to 1859 Richard Wagner honoured his presence in this wonderful city by creating “Tristan and Isolde” at Palazzo Giustinian, and then lived from 1882 to 13 February 1883 at Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, where he died.
The famous French poet Henri de Régnier lived in Cà Dario, the cursed palace, from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The Palazzo Barbaro-Volkoff, owned by the famous Russian artist Aleksandr Volkov-Muromcov, was home to Eleonora Duse from 1894 to 1897.
The English writer Frederick Rolfe, also called “Baron Corvo”, was first housed at Palazzo Mocenigo Corner, and then died at Palazzo Marcello in 1913. Another important personage such as the English writer John Ruskin first stayed at the Pensione Calcina, and then was housed in Palazzo Gritti, guest of Baroness Susanna d’Eyb, widow Vetzlar.
Mariano Fortuny bought Palazzo Orfei in 1898 and in various periods hosted Alexandre Roussoff, Gabriele d’Annunzio, Eleonora Duse, Isadora Duncan, John Singer Sargent, Dorothy Gish, Maria Casati Stampa.
Nothing surprising in Thomas Mann’s stay at the Hotel de Bains on the Lido. The great German writer often stayed there, also choosing it as the setting for his famous novel ‘Death in Venice’ (1912). The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche first found accommodation in St. Mark’s, and then wrote his “Morgenröte” (The Dawn) at Fondamente Nuove. From the terrace he enjoyed a breathtaking view of the canal “Rio dei Mendicanti” which ended with a view of the monumental cemetery of San Michele.
Gabriele d’Annunzio, author of the plaque placed at the entrance of the Cloister of S. Apollonia and a great friend of Countess Luisa Casati Stampa, was hosted in the Casetta Rossa owned by the Austrian prince Fritz Hohenlohe.
The musician Cole Porter found accommodation in the 1920s at Cà Rezzonico, while the American poet Ezra Pound, buried in S. Michele, went out every morning in Calle Querini. The writer Rainer Maria Rilke was a guest in Palazzo Valmarana owned by Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis.
And Hotel Danieli had the honour of hosting the love story between George Sand and Alfred de Musset, between Eleonora Duse and Gabriele D’Annunzio, between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. Among the various guests: Charles Dickens, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust.
Hermann Hesse lived in San Trovaso near the historic “squero” several months in 1901 and later in 1903. Ernest Hemingway stayed at the Gritti Palace in 1948, then was hosted at the Locanda Cipriani in Torcello. Caffé Florian and Harry’s Bar were his second homes.
The Russian poet Iosif Brodskij, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987, also chose the lagoon city as his home of choice.
This is to tell how Venice was a beacon and a wonderful center of culture where important personalities who created art found the need to stay some time to confront themselves with other personalities, so alive, so important, so complex and sometimes discussed. Among them, several chose to end their days in Venice. Art and culture: peculiarities that created the important humus for the cultural heritage of the whole world.