Carlo Goldoni

Carlo Goldoni was an Italian playwright born in Venice in 1707. When he was a young man, his father, a doctor, moved to Perugia and then to Remini. It was there that Carlo Goldoni studied philosophy and law, fields that bored him for even as a child Goldoni was interested in theatre. 

An opportunity came to Goldoni when he came in contact with the head comedian of the Venetian theater group, Sam Samuele. It is at this moment that Goldoni abandoned his studies, and moved back to Venice where his writing career started. 

Although Goldini is know for his incredible body of work, ranging from tragedies to comedies and from operas to poetry, his major contribution to theatre is the fact that he reformed Commedia dell’arte. During the 17th century, commedia was the theatre everyone watched. It consisted of improvisational dialogue while telling well-known stories, filled with stocked characters. But, by the early 18th century, commedia “degenerated into mere buffoonery and obscenity with stereotyped characters and stale mannerisms.” (Encyclopedia Brittanica.)

Goldoni’s House

Enter Goldoni, who succeeded in replacing the improvised commedia dell’arte with written works in which with and vigour are especially evident. He still keeps the commedia dell’arte characters, but now the language is a refined form of the local Venetian dialect. In fact, it is said that the first draft of Goldoni’s “Servitore di due padroni (The Servant of Two Masters),” was written  for actor Antonio Sacco, the most recognized Arlecchino at the time. Goldoni’s original script had a lot of empty spaces for improvisation, a main element of Commedia, and an opportunity for Sacco to shine. Four years later, however, Goldoni updated his script, filling in “the blanks” and turning the script into what we know today. 

The images in this post were all taken during my visit to Goldoni’s house, now a museum and a center for theatre studies. Of course I took many pictures and I also video recorded some of the rooms in the house, but I cannot possibly upload them all. 

String Puppets at Goldoni’s House

Here’s a short video of Carlo Goldoni’s House & Marionette and Puppet Theatre

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