Zanetta Farussi

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Zanetta Farussi, or Maria Giovanna Farussi (27 August 1707 – 29 November 1776), was an Italian actress, opera singer and composer. She was the mother of Giacomo Casanova.

Farussi was born in Venice, the daughter of a shoe maker, and was married on 27 February 1724 to the actor Gaetano Casanova. The marriage was conducted against the will of her parents, who were afraid that she would join her spouse's profession, which she also did. After her debut at Teatro San Samuele in Venice, she performed in 1726–1728 at Kings Theatre in London, where she made a success. King George II of Great Britain was rumoured to have been the father of her son Francesco (born 1727) - it is unknown whether this was true, or whether the rumour was encouraged for publicity's sake. She was again active at Teatro San Samuele upon her return to Venice. Carlo Goldoni wrote the play La pupilla for her. She was active at the Italian theatre at the Russian Imperial court in 1735, and at the Italian court theatre in Dresden in 1737, where she was followed by two of her children; Maria Magdalena and Giovanni. Maria Magdalena was to marry the court organist Peter August, and Giovanni became a teacher of painting at the arts academy. On 6 November 1748, her own composition was performed in Warsaw. She retired with a pension to Prague in 1756, where she remained during the Seven Years' War. She returned to Dresden after the war, and died there aged 69.


  • Francesco Saverio Bartoli, Notizie Istoriche de' comici italiani che fiorirono intorno all'anno MDC fino ai giorni presenti, Padova, Conzatti, 1782, 2 voll. (Vol. I pag. 160).
  • Giacomo Casanova Storia della mia vita
    • Edizione a cura di Carlo Cordie, illustrata da Bernardino Palazzi-Edizioni Casini-Roma 1961 (pag. 15-16).
    • Edizione a cura di Piero Chiara e Federico Roncoroni edito dalla Arnoldo Mondadori Editore nel 1983 nella serie I Meridiani (Pag. 20-21). Ultima edizione: Milano, Mondadori "I Meridiani", 2001.
    • (Testo originale in francese) Jacques Casanova de Seingalt - Histoire de ma vie. Texte intégral du manuscrit original, suivi de textes inédits. Édition présentée et établie par Francis Lacassin. (ISBN 2-221-06520-4). Editore Robert Laffont, 1993. Si tratta dell'edizione in 12 volumi (3 tomi) del manoscritto originale in francese. Da considerare, allo stato (2010), l'edizione critica di riferimento.
  • Francesco Augusto O'Byrn, Giovanna Casanova und Die Comici Italiani am polnisch-sächsischen Hofe, in Neues Archiv für sächsische Geschichte und Alterthumskunde, 1880.
  • Gillian Rees, The italian comedy in London, 1726 – 1727 with Zanetta Casanova, in L'intermédiaire des Casanovistes, Genève, Année XIII, 1996 pag. 25-32.
  • Helmut Watzlawick, Le vrais débuts d'une actrice in L'intermédiare des casanovistes, Genève, Année XX, 2003, pag.49-53.