The life of the Venetian Carlo Goldoni—a good, peaceful man, truly enamored of art—was completely dominated by his passion for the theater. He wrote more than 120 witty, humoristic, rhythmic comedies marked by incisive characterization, of which the best known internationally are, perhaps, La vedova scaltra (1748), La locandiera (1752), Il ventaglio (1763), and, in Venetian dialect, Le baruffe chiozzotte (1762).
Goldoni's vivacious temperament inspired avid readings of comic authors, and he found “delightful amusement” in the puppets his father manipulated on the stage of their household theater. His peregrinations began early in life: though he was born in Venice, he lived with his family for three years in Perugia, where his father, a physician, played prima donna roles inasmuch as women were forbidden to perform in the Papal States. At Rimini, aged twelve, Carlo ran away from school and from his philosophy tutor, a certain Father Candini, in order to set out with a troupe of traveling actors, after which he returned to his family's home at Chioggia in the Veneto region. His parents wanted him to become a lawyer. To this end, they sent him first to Venice, then to the University of Pavia, from which he was expelled in his third year (1725) for having written a satirical dialogue (“Il colosso”) that roused the townspeople's ire. Only his father's death and the need to think about his own future convinced him to obtain his degree in law at the University of Padua in 1731. He moved to Milan, then Verona, and finally Genoa, where he met and married the gentle Nicoletta Connio. After a year's wandering from Emilia to Romagna to Tuscany, he finally settled in Pisa and began practicing law even though he was ceaselessly haunted by the performing arts. His encounter with the producer Gerolamo Medebach marked his return to the uncertainties and hardships of the theater world, which gradually absorbed all of his energies. He triumphantly