In 1739 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, arrived in Venice, leaving her husband in the amorous pursuit of  the much younger Venetian Count Algarotti. She wrote to her lover; “if you wish to recompense me for all that I have sacrificed, make haste to find me in Venice where I shall be arriving as soon as possible”. But the bisexual Algarotti, who saw much greater prospects of advancement at the Prussian court of Frederick the Great, never showed up. She became one of the most talked-about and gossipy members of the expatriate community.  Here she describes her first impressions of the city to her friend Lady Pomfret in November 1739:

“Upon my word, I have spoken my real thoughts in relation to Venice; but I will be more particular in my description, lest you should find the same reason of complaint you have hitherto experienced" (she wrote in). "It is impossible to give any rule for the agreeableness of conversation; but here is so great a variety, I think 'tis impossible not to find some to suit every taste. Here are foreign ministers from all parts of the world, who, as they have no Court to employ their hours, are overjoyed to enter into commerce with any stranger of distinction.”

By 1759, then in her sixties, she had become one of the sights of the city as recalled by the young Lord Grantham on his Grand Tour:  

“The greatest curiosity in Venice is Lady M.W. Montagu whom I have not failed seeing.  She is very old, very healthy, cheerful and clever, but scurrilous to the highest degree… the great number of anecdotes she possesses, whether true or false, make her very entertaining.”