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Mozart in Venice

Mozart visited Venice with his father during February and March of 1771, but the identity of the actual house where he stayed had, until recently, been a mystery. In letters written by Mozart himself, he described the house as: Venezia/ Allogiato Rio San Fantin al Ponte di Barcaroli/ in casa Cavalleti (Venice, staying San Fantin canal, Barcaroli bridge/ in Cavalletti house). Unfortunately, in the public registers held by the Church, there was no Cavalletti family in Venice in the 18th century.

In the 1990s, Professor Paolo Cattelan, a musicologist from the Venetian university Ca Foscari, undertook detailed research into the specific location of Mozart's stay, and he concluded that he lived in Ca' Falletti (Ca' is short for house in Venetian dialect), corresponding to Palazzo Molin on Calle del Cuoridoro, where a cuoridoro artisan (a leather painter), Angelo Ceseletti lived on the ground floor, and Count Falletti lived in the upper floors. Cavalletti was Mozart's misspelled writing for Ca' Falletti, since "V" was pronounced as "F" in German.

The infamous Count Francesco Falletti Castelman is mostly forgotten nowadays, but was well-known in the 18th century: having arrived from the Piedmont region, he was part of the decaying aristocracy of the Venetian republic and had been condemned to death in 1752 for sexual license and blasphemy. As a result, his house was still called Ca' Falletti when Mozart lived there in 1771. The house had been chosen because of its proximity to the city's theatres, the most famous being San Benedetto theatre, which became La Fenice in 1792.

Stories drawn from real life influenced the work of the young Mozart, and Professor Cattelan has suggested that Count Falletti may have been the inspiration for Mozart's Don Giovanni, given the many similarities between the fictional character and the real one, not only for their lifestyle, but also for their attitude towards authorities.

There is a sign in Venice on Casa Ceselletti, close to the Barcaroli bridge, saying that Mozart lived there, but Professor Cattelan affirms that the sign is in the wrong place.

Professor Paolo Cattelan has published a book on his research, "Mozart. Un mese a Venezia", and many articles were published about his findings, including an article in The Times on December 5th, 1998.

Architectural notes...

Mozart. Un mesa a VeneziaFrom: Paolo Cattelan, Mozart. Un mese a Venezia, published by Marsilio.

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