One of Vrsar’s storied features is its link with Giacomo Casanova, who visited the town on two occasions. Both his stays, the first in 1743, the second in 1744, were more by accident then by intention, but were still documented in his Memoirs.
The first time, according to his own words, he visited Vrsar for three days in August 1743 as a poor and miserable priest. The second time, however, he arrived to Vrsar as a soldier after sailing during the night from the Venetian islet of Malamocco and coming to anchor in the harbour of Vrsar to take ballast. His ship carried 24 guns and two hundred Slavonian soldiers.
Casanova describes Vrsar as a wretched place that he visited for the first time as a miserable-looking priest, while the second time he was unrecognizable – in a splendid uniform, believing he could not be recognized. In mid 18th century Vrsar had an obsolete and extremely rigid feudal system and the County of Vrsar was not able to blend with the modern age trends, especially not with the dynamic and playful Casanova’s spirit.
In his Memoires Casanova details his second stay in Vrsar, where he met a man who had been practising surgery in this place for 20 years, and in a very poor way, for he had had nothing to do. The surgeon invited him for breakfast mentioning his delicious refosco.
At that time wine production was the main branch of economy in Vrsar, and Casanova fancied that the man wanted to make him purchase some refosco.
The episode mentions also Casanova’s adventure with a Vrsar girl, Don Jerome’s housekeeper. Following a series of fortunate events, the surgeon suddenly became very popular and very rich…