What If I Dined With Casanova? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

If I had received the letter of introduction as it was customary in the XVIII Century among noble circles of Europe, I would be invited to dine with Casanova in a chic setting only reserved for the élite.

Knowing him as a womanizer, the task of keeping women away from him would be difficult but not impossible. His weakness lays in his developed sense of opulent fashion, playful Rococo furniture, home décor and expensive objects, it would be easy to distract him from women with subjects of refined culture. Casanova, a multitalented, multilingual intellectual and a keen observer of society loved to spend time conversing about literature, history, music, fashion and food of the world. I have something in common with Casanova, we both like great minds and thinkers, we would be dining with Voltaire, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, King George III of England, a few Popes and many more intellectuals of the XVIII Century. Our dining conversations would happen in a 1730s Venetians interior where the walls are covered with masterful, opulent and occasionally frivolous paintings.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)

The Ridotto of Palazzo Dandolo by Francesco Guardi

Ecritoire – French – ébéniste Pierre Macrette- circa 1750

Rococo Arm Chair – Venice, Italy – circa 1750

Telescoping Spyglasses and Time Piece

Casanova came from a humble background. His mother left him at a young age to pursue the career of an actress, but as soon he understood what kind of luxury life was hidden in those Venetians palazzi, he made sure to win the sympathy and trust of the aristocrats of all circles.

He developed a taste for luxurious objects, among which he enumerated women. Dining was a pastime, as it is today and one of my favorite pastimes as well. I would have loved to see how high society embraced the service à la Françaises, meaning each dish was placed on the dining table and passed around among the guests. Casanova and I are both into high-class dining. On our dining table I envision display of beautiful silver serving vessels and ceramic terrines in the shape of exotic animals. Discovering new distant lands brought exotic food and spices in European courts and dining tables of nobles. However, a terrine in the shape of an elephant or a turkey didn’t mean inside there was the meat of an elephant or turkey. The table fashion was highly stylish, extravagant and exquisite, exactly the way I envisioned it if I was dining with Casanova.

If I dined with Casanova I would have the servants prepare the food he loved served in refined dishes: “macaroni prepared by a good Neapolitan cook, a well-creamed cod, perfectly hung game, and buttery cheeses”, so he wrote.

Various Serving Terrines

After dinner, we would have a card game with the famous people invited to dine with us.

Card Game

Casanova often talked about his audacious adventures with women of all ages and social status. He got involved in just as audacious business opportunities, some of them illegal. His adventures produced twelve volumes of “The Story of My Life”. His life was everything but a generic life, he lived recklessly and didn’t fit in any standard canons. “Libertine” was a new word coined for men like him, who rejected constriction of marriage, favored adultery and sexual conquests. I guess he had a lot to talk in his books and probably twelve volumes barely covered only a short period of his life. The first complete version of his writing without redaction of all scandalous details was published in 1960.

I wondered how many times Casanova visited a lady’s boudoir during her morning ablutions and flirted with the maid as well.

Getting Dressed

(All photos taken by Valentina Cirasola at the Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco)

Well, it was amusing to fantasize about Casanova inviting me to dinner while I was going through the exhibition. In my previous lives I must have lived in Venice, somehow, he is very familiar to me. There is a thread that unites us, I don’t know what it is, maybe I was a libertine too and maybe I liked to weave intrigues in those opulent rooms of Venetians palazzi. Ciao,

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual, as much as she likes to restyle people’s images. She is a story teller and finds inspirations everywhere to write her stories. She needs your story to design your dream. She is a public speaker, a mentor and author. Check out her books on

Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Mirrors And The Opera Singer | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


Josephine On Ava

A maze of garden vignettes and strategically placed pathways hide a series of beautiful condos each with its own personality and mostly inhabited by couple without kids, or well to do retired people.
From downstairs in the garden a faint opera music resounds in my ears and as I get closer to the entry door, the voice of Pavarotti singing an aria fills the air.
This is Josephine‘s home, a retired widow, a traveler, artist painter, and a social butterfly, involved with many committees, social gathering and charitable events. Did I forget dancer?

Josephine’s home is a theatre, at the turning of each corner there is a new scene, my eyes keep staying attentive, there is so much to capture. Nothing matches in her décor, but everything fits together well. Amazing how some people try to do the matchy-matchy dance and end up with a boring décor. Josephine likes to be surrounded by her travel memories, her art, which she paints like a pro and color, lot of colors.

The first thing a visitor will notice is the Italian kitchen made by Scavolini, shiny, Ferrari red, young looking, but Josephine is a vibrant lady in her 70s. She refuses to act her age, to dress for her age, or accepting a tranquil home in all beige tones.

The Ferrari red kitchen hits you like a sudden rush of blood to the brain and all the notes of an Italian ‘farsa’ appear to be written all over it.

The black granite counter is jagged, never seen before, with three Murano glass pendants playing a diagonal line of light over the counter. Josephine doesn’t like “common” and doesn’t like to follow other people’s taste. She has been the perfect client!

Unlike many people, she is at ease with mirrors and likes them scattered in her décor, in unusual places.

She has one mirror artistically placed in a living room over a slipper chair and a Venetian mask peeping from the top. Then I see another mirror in the studio’s bathroom into which a grouping of more Venetian masks reflects from the opposite wall.

It’s like theatre curtains opening up for a new act, I go through a corridor and I spot another mirror, enter a new space and see myself in a French mirror set around some Oriental vases.

A shimmering is also coming out from an umbrella stand full of umbrellas decorated with edges of roses and mirrors. Fun, whimsy, feminine!

Earlier, I said Josephine feels at ease with so many mirrors, but the real reason is that she likes to sing opera’s arias while she is taking care of house business or paper work and watch herself reflected in all the mirrors.

Her home is her stage and her play. She has a young soul.
Amazing woman!

Thank you Avaliving for having selected this project to feature in your theme week:
Designing with mirrors.

(All photos taken by ©Valentina Cirasola inside Josephine’s home with permission).

As the professional who is always ready, I shall be prompt and ready to help you with any of your needs, whether it will be decorating, designing, or remodeling.

I offer design consultation on-line.





Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer and former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe since 1990. She blends well fashion with interior and colors the world of her clients. She has been described as “the colorist” and loves to create the unusual. She is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w 

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