My sabbatical trip to Italy comes with many different stops and visits to different cities and towns. To help me organize my thoughts and visualize the trip, I bought a planner. The last time I used one of these was in the year 2002, exactly 20 years ago. Wow! 

Photo by Louis Magnotti

I have finally bought my airplane ticket. I will be flying from San Francisco, California to Venice, with one stop in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s going to be a very long flight. 


I have also reserved my quarters for my first stop. I will be staying in a “cute and modern” apartment in Venice, apparently a 10-minute walk from Piazza San Marco. The reviews (as early as September of this year) give the place excellent marks. In the 3D Google map, the location looks like an abandoned building.  

Why start in Venice? Because of their carnival. And the carnival, even though its origins have to do more with a Venice victory celebration over The Partriach or Aquileia, back in 1162, has become one of the most important and influential celebrations in the world. Not only that, but the Commedia masks have become a major emblem of the carnival, giving many Venice citizens the opportunity to have their own mask-making shops, and putting Commeddia dell’arte at the center of the festival. 

Venice is also the home of Carlo Goldoni, one of the most influential Commedia dell’arte playwrights, known for many of his works but mainly for Il servitori di due padroni (The Servant of two Masters) written in 1746. 


Originally, the play was written for actor Antonio Sacco, the most recognized Arlecchino in history. The original script had a lot of “empty spaces” for improvisation, a main element of Commedia dell’arte. Four years later, however, Goldini rewrote the script, filling in the “blank spaces” and turning the script into what we know today. 

There have been many adaptations and renderings of the original Il servitori di dui padroni but none has become as famous and popular as One Man Two Guvernos’ by Richard Bean, produced in 2011 by The National Theatre of London, and starring James Corden.

James Corden

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