Harry’s Bar was down just a couple of blocks from the Gritti in the direction of Saint Mark’s Square, and Ernest Hemingway quickly succumbed to the seductive charm of the place, with its sleek 1930s design, cosmopolitan chatter, delicious seafood, and well-trained bartenders. Giuseppe Cipriani, the ebullient owner, always greeted him with loud theatrics. After only a few days in town, Hemingway was already saying hello to half the people sitting at the low, comfortable tables. The crowd was eclectic and worldly—the perfect recruiting ground where he could pick new members for his growing Venetian entourage.
He had two favorite drinking buddies. One was Princess Aspasia of Greece, a tall, formidable lady who lived on the island of Giudecca and crossed the canal every day to take her meals at Harry’s Bar. As a young woman, Aspasia Manos, a commoner, had secretly married King Alexander I of Greece. Their union caused such a scandal they were forced to flee to Paris. They were allowed back to Greece only after agreeing she would never be queen. But within a year, a monkey they kept in the palace bit the king and he died of septicemia. Aspasia retired to Venice. She still had quite a royal aura about her, and good stories to tell.
The other regular companion at Harry’s was Carlo di Robilant. His mother, Valentina, was the last of the Mocenigo, an old family that had given seven doges to the Venetian Republic. Carlo had been a pioneering seaplane pilot and had been called back to duty as a reserve officer in World War II. After the war, he had struggled to hold on to a job and had fallen on hard times. He was a sweet man, tall and thin, with deep blue eyes and the remote gaze of the heavy drinker. His wife, Caroline, a North Carolinian with a wry sense of humor, quickly befriended Mary, and the four often dined together.
The Hemingways were having such a jolly time in Venice that when the solicitous Alberto Mondadori organized another shoot—this time at the house of Baroness Marga Marmaros Legard, near Siena—the prospect of traveling down to Tuscany appealed very little to them. Mary conveniently developed a cold, which Hemingway used as an excuse to wire his belated apologies to the baroness. “I hope we have behaved correctly,” he wrote to Alberto, fearing he might have made a faux pas; he insisted that Mary’s illness was true and not “diplomatique.” Not to worry, he himself would handle the baroness, Alberto told him—adding, rather touchingly, in his ungrammatical English, that from the moment he’d met Hemingway he’d always done his best to please him, “as I wished not to ennoy [sic] you and to be a friend and not a businessman for you.” ... [mehr] https://lithub.com/where-hemingway-went-to-write-after-partying-in-venice/
From Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse. Used with permission of Knopf. Copyright © 2018 by Andrea di Robilant.