Casa di Carlo Goldoni

Carlo Goldoni's house

Layout and collections

First floor – Room 1

The first room of the museum, as a shadows and ghosts play, give the visitor the chance to enter deeply in the evocative representation of the Goldoni’s theatre.

1. The first Scenery is inspired by the first Act – Scene 14 of La Conversazione (The Conversation), a dramma giocoso for music by Carlo Goldoni that describes the conversation. In this scene, Don Fabio arrives at Madama Lindora’s House, where Lucrezia invites all the guests to enjoy themselves with a few games. The discussion on the choice of the most popular game offers us a view of the entertainments at that time.
The scenic island includes a gaming-table for the “biribisso” game of the second half of the 18th century, with rectangular and folding top, decorated with lacquer on a dark red background. The biribiss, also called biribisse, biribissi, biribisso, was a game of pure gambling that had considerable peaks of circulation in Venice. The game was very simple and was made up of a special board divided into a certain quantity of boxes in varying quantity (often 36). Wooden balls, inside which were slips of paper each bearing a number and figure as those on the board, correspond to the same quantity of boxes. The design of this game is normally directed towards the sphere of animals, fruit, masks, birds, flowers. Once all the balls are put into a pouch, the bank-holder proceeds to extract one, then calling the number and figure out aloud. The winner shall be the person who placed money on the box corresponding to the winning figure.

2. The second Scenery is inspired by the first Act – Scene 1 of L’ avvocato veneziano (The Venetian Lawyer), a comedy performed during the 1749-50 theatre season, staging the positive character of a Venetian lawyer in contrast with theatre tradition. In the scene, Alberto Casaboni, a Venetian lawyer, is at his desk, committed to defending and advocating on behalf of Florindo against Rosaura, a client of doctor Balanzoni. Arriving to visit him, his friend Lelio tries to distract him from so much work by inviting him to a conversation in Beatrice’s house.
This Scenery includes a desk veneer in walnut-root with central opening for the legs and a series of three side-drawers, belonging to the Veneto area (1740-60). Also, small armchairs with undulated fretwork back, carved with a figure-of-eight motif in the central splat. To enrich the scene, a male dressing-gown, embroidered with multicoloured threads (20th century, Martinuzzi Collection). Finally, is hanging on the wall a Portrait of Carlo Goldoni, a painting, oil on canvas, by Alessandro Falca called Longhi (1750 – 1775), and mirrors in gilded wood with candle-holder arms.

3. The third Scenery is inspired by the third Act – Scene 6 of La donna di garbo (The Sharp-Witted Woman), composed for the occasion of the 1743 carnival. The protagonist is Rosaura, a woman who sees her reasons triumph over the male sex and class prejudices thanks to female arms and ruses, so much entrenched in that age. The scene is set in the Doctor’s house, where Brighella gets the servants to set up a table and chairs for academicians, while Harlequin is hiding himself under the table because he believes it is mealtime.
Here there is a table covered by a drape, with scattered sheets of paper on top. Harlequin’s mask and his hat peep out from under the table.

4. This Scenery is inspired by the second Act – Scene 4, 5 and 6 of La figlia obbediente (The Obedient Daughter), performed for the first time in 1752. In the scene described, Rosaura, who has to humour her father Pantalone, who has betrothed her to Count Ottavio, decides to inform her swain Florindo, but Pantalone suddenly arrives surprising them together.
On a console, with rectangular top and bevelled corners in curved carved wood with comb motifs and four cabriole legs ending in roe-buck feet, are placed an inkwell with goose, aquill pen, writing paper sheets and a letter. On the wall there is the etching “Portrait of Carlo Goldoni with Cap”, by Giambattista Piazzetta – Marco Alvise Pitteri (1754). The playwrighter expressed his most sincere appreciation for the work, thanking Pitteri for “the loving care in making me truly eternal with the excellent work of your hands” and also adding “bizarre is this invention of a cap and my natural hair, making the resemblance more constant”. On one side, another etching, the “Portrait of Carlo Goldoni with Wig”, also by Giambattista Piazzetta – Marco Alvise Pitteri, in which the cap is substituted by a more formal wig.

5. The last Scenery in this Room, is inspired by the second Act – Scene 5, 6 of the La finta ammalata (The Fake Patient Woman), a comedy approaching the comical theme of the imaginary sick person, a recurrent one in theatre traditions. While suffering from love pangs, Rosaura has not lost her appetite, which she satisfies lavishly behind her friend Beatrice’s back and her servant Colombina, who are distressed about her.
In this Scenery a dormouse in wood, carved, lacquered with multicoloured flowers on yellow background; a 19th century imitation of the 18th century. On it is layed down a garment (stage costume) Andrienne, with woven bordered lampas in red coloured silk. The bib is decorated with macramé in silverthread covering it completely with netting. The “Casa d’arte di Giuseppe Peruzzi” label appears at the back (20th century). On the floor there are some apothecary pots in faience , decorated with vegetable motifs, (1650ca.-1749 ca.). The scene is delimitated by a screen with three jointed, carved panels with basketwork moulding in relief. This is a 19th century imitation of the 18th century, decorated by dark green background lacquer and gilded lozenge chinoiseries.