I adjust my golden jacket and close the last black velvet button. It fits me perfectly. I look at my reflection in the mirror and my eyes linger on every single well-finished detail of my suit. I’m finally ready to go out, destination: Caffè Florian.
Since I’m so euphoric and in a hurry as well, I almost forget the fundamental accessory of my costume: the mask.
I slightly tilt my head forward and tighten the satin tie around my fingers to tie it firmly with a double knot. My friends are waiting for me in St. Mark’s Square. I wonder if they will recognize me.
The magic of Carnival
I feel the magical atmosphere of the Venice Carnival while rushing on my way. Hidden eyes meet themselves in furtive glances, women and men improvise imaginary sceneries. The seductive charm of transgression and mystery takes over.
The square is crowded and I struggle to make my way through the thousands masks.
I recognize a friend sitting inside Caffè Florian and I decide to enter and say hello. The Florian’s atmosphere brings me back to some unknown and fascinating time. I’m in the Hall of Illustrious Men, surrounded by comfortable red velvet sofas and mirrors embellished with gold.
Out of the blue I see a slim figure mirrored in the window. She wears a black dress, her raven hair is gathered on the top of her head, and the mask on her face makes her red-coloured lips stand out. She is sitting alone. I think she may have noticed my glimpse. I try to focus on her eyes, but she’s too far away from me to see them clearly behind the mask.
After a few minutes I get up. I’m dying to know who she is, her name, the scent of her skin. Is this Casanova‘s costume taking over me?
The game of seduction at Caffè Florian
I approach her and discover she has blue eyes. Her lips open in a faint smile.
«Bonsoir», she greets me. I play along with her and I kiss her hand. «Mr. Casanova, are you like this with every girl you meet?».
Her French accent is easily recognizable. I ask her name, but she interrupts me and states that it’s rude not to answer a lady’s questions.
«I approach only the most beautiful ones». And she is definitely one of those. I can see the features of her face, although it’s almost entirely covered by the mask. She has a small, upturned nose, full lips and a thin build.
She invites me to sit next to her. We speak about this and that, in the meantime we taste a pistachio and raspberries tart, taking small sips of Casanova’s Hot Chocolate, that for the record is delicious: hot chocolate, mint cream and chocolate flakes.
I ask her to join me and my friends. She nods and smiles, enjoying the last drops of hot chocolate.
I make my way through the Florian’s tables and lead her to the place I reserved for my friends. Their sly glances suggest they have been watching us from the beginning. I notice that they left a couple of free chairs at the end of the table. A red and golden box lies on the table in front of me. The label says Casanova Elixir.
«A cadeau from Sior Casanova to his fair lady». I play along and hand her the package. From the inside, a chocolate medallion releases the scent of cinnamon and cloves in the air. We share it.
«Delicious» she says, staring into my eyes. «Sior Casanova sure knows true gentlemen!».
Meanwhile, my friends introduce themselves to her with amusement and pleasure. The evening goes on among many toasts and even more laughters.
Before leaving, since I haven’t known her name yet, I take the mask off her face with a sudden movement. She laughs, blushes and finally speaks: her name is Adeline.
It’s peculiar, fascinating: it suits her. Is it her real name? It doesn’t matter now: if things work out, I’ll find out soon.
Word of Casanova.