The True Story of Casanova | History's Most Legendary Lover - The Comprehensive Minds

The True Story of Casanova | History's Most Legendary Lover

Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice in 1725 to a pair of actors and grew up to be a man who arguably embodied the spirit of the Enlightenment. He was charming, curious, directionless, and usually fell for intelligent, talented women who seduced him, just as often as he seduced them. 

However, there is a lot more to this noted lothario than his numerous love affairs. Though Giacomo Casanova lived way back in the 18th century, his name to this very day remains an adjective for a man who knows his way around the ladies. Today, we're going to take a look at a dozen raunchy stories about Giacomo Casanova, history's most notorious playboy.  

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Virginity Lost And Castrato Affair

Photo: Richard Cosway / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

When Casanova was17, he spent his days studying to join the church. His nocturnal activities, however, were anything but appropriate for a future man of the cloth. In fact, it was around this time that he lost his virginity one night to two Venetian sisters-- 16-year-old Nanetta and15-year-old Marta Savorgnan, themselves virgins. 

Though Casanova remembered his first tryst with a fondness for the rest of his life, that fondness was not shared with at least one of the sisters. Marta entered a convent instead of marrying and prayed for Casanova's salvation. Based on how the rest of his life went, we're going to guess those prayers went unanswered. Around 1745, Casanovaattended a dinner in which a young castrato was performing. 

A castrato, for those who don't know, was essentially a young male singer whose testicles had been removed to preserve his high voice. This particular castrato was called Bellino. And he captivated Casanova. 

The young Venetian mused that Bellino was actually a woman. And after a game of identity revelation, Casanova was proven correct. Turns out, Bellino was actually a young actress in disguise. She claimed to disguise herself as a contralto to get roles on stage that were not available to women. 

Though Casanova refers to her as Teresa Lanti, spelled with a T, historians guess that she might have been Teresa Landi, spelled with a D. She also may have been Artemesia Lanti or Angiola Calori, all of whom ended up on the London stage. Casanova and his Bellino began an affair that ultimately produced a child, Casanova's illegitimate son, Cesarino.  

Saving A Noblemen's Life And Duel

Photo: Jan Josef Horemans / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Casanova's life dramatically changed course in March of 1746. While he was in town, celebrating carnival, he noticed Senator Matteo Giovanni Bragadin collapse in his gondola, suffering a stroke. Casanova took charge, immediately directing Bragadin'sgondoliers to a surgeon. 

However, the surgeon's methods, bleeding Bragadin, and rubbing a mercury-based ointment on his chest might have killed the poor noble had Casanova himself not intervened. He saved Bragadin's life. And the bystanders claimed the young Venetian surely must have wielded supernatural powers to have pulled it off. 

As a show of thanks, Bragadin supposedly became a patron for casanova who suddenly had the wealth and connections he so long craved. In 1746, Casanova was in Padua, where he met a woman he callsAncilla, a local courtesan. Ancilla ran a gambling den. And Casanova lavished her with his time, money, and affection. He also quickly learned he wasn't her only lover. 

Count Medina was also known as Ancilla's favorite lover. And he also excelled at cards. Casanova felt the two had conspired to cheat him. He demanded satisfaction. So Medina returned the young Venetian's money and then challenged him to a duel by swords. 

Though Casanova escaped the duel unharmed, he wounded Medina and gained an enemy for the rest of his life. Casanova would go on to have at least one more duel over the course of his adventurous life.  

Torrid Affairs

Photo: Richard Cosway / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Casanova spent two years in Paris, living there from 1750 to 1752. While he was there, he devoted himself to learning French, French kissing, meeting important people, and getting himself into one scrape after another. 

Casanova was also, probably unwisely, having an affair with a daughter of his landlady, Madame Quinson. Sacrebleu. The teen-aged Mimi would come down to Casanova's room on her own volition, Casanova emphasized. And they would pass the time in one another's embrace, amongst other things. 

When Mimi became pregnant, her mother brought a suit against the young Venetian, but the court ultimately dismissed the charge. In 1753, the the27-year-old Casanova impregnated the 14-year-old Caterina Capretta.  Capretta's father quickly sent her off to a Venetian convent. But if he thought that was going to keep the notorious lothario ways from her, he clearly didn't know Casanova. Rather than keeping his distance, the legendary lover enlisted the help of nuns at the convent to pass letters to Caterina. 

Meanwhile, in the course of coming and going to the convent, Casanova had piqued the attention of Marina Morosini, a beautiful nun, who was already engaged in an affair with AbbéJoachim de Bernis, a French diplomat in Venice. Morosini was so beguiled by Casanova's figure, that she wrote him a letter straight away. And the two soon began a passionate affair. 

At one point, the couple actually put on a public show for de Bernis, who watched their lovemaking from a secret room. To add another twist to the story, Morosini and CaterinaCapretta were engaged in their own torrid affair within the convent walls. Doesn't sound like much of a convent. Casanova was just really being Casanova.  

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Become A Celebrity For A Prison Break

Photo: William Hogarth / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Casanova's lifestyle attracted attention wherever he went and not just from women. Police organizations across Europe also meticulously recorded his activities and considered him an outlaw who routinely escaped one city for another. 

However, in 1755, his scandals caught up with him. And Casanova was arrested on a charge of indecency and blasphemy. Without trial, he was unceremoniously thrown into prison. Though he was fortunate enough to be imprisoned in the Doge's Palace, Casanovahad no intention of serving his full five-year sentence. 

So Casanova decided to fly the coop. After weeks of labor, he filed an iron bar into a spike, which he used to create a hole through the floor of his cell, which he escaped through with the help of his prison mate, a monk.  

Casanova sought refuge in Paris and would not return to his beloved Venice for 18 long years. It was said that Casanova and his accomplice's prison break was the first time anyone had escaped from the Doge's Palace. His escape from prison brought him a small amount of fame which, no doubt, served his romance game even more during his long exile from Venice.  

Assumed A New Identity To Escape Creditors

Photo: Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

While exiled in France in 1757, Casanova introduced a lottery system to the country. The scheme, which relied on his first-rate mathematical abilities, nettedCasanova wealth and access to the upper echelons of French society. 

He met everyone from Madame de pompadour, the principal royal mistress at the court of  King Louis XV to Voltaire and other luminaries of the Enlightenment. But Casanova was nothing, if not egalitarian, with his company. At the same time, he cavorted with working girls, dancers, and actresses because, well, of course, he did. Soon he had squandered his wealth and drifted into debt. 

In 1760, he fled Paris to escape his creditors and began to roam around Europe under a new name-- Chevalier de Seingalt. He spent the next 14 years jumping from one scandal to the next as he jumped from one bed to another, across the continent from London to St. Petersburg. In 1759, Casanova was still in Paris. 

While there, he reacquainted himself with the intelligent, beautiful Guistiniana Wynne, a young Venetian woman who was caught up in a passionate affair with his friend, Andrea Memmo, son of one of Venice's leading families. Guistiniana reached out to her Casanova because she had a problem. She was five months pregnant with Memmo's baby, a circumstance that would ruin her reputation. 

Memmo's family vehemently opposed marriage between the two. So Guistiniana felt she had no choice but to terminate the pregnancy. Abortion was illegal and dangerous in 18th century France. Nonetheless, they forged ahead with their plans. 

They met at a masquerade so as not to arouse suspicion and left the ball for a few hours to visit the midwife who would assist. To Guistiniana's frustration, the attempt did not work. And she pleaded with casanova to find another way. 

Talk about asking the wrong guy for help. After reading of an ointment that would end her term, Casanova convinced her to sleep with him, claiming that he would apply the special ointment to his mini Casanova. 

And through intercourse, it would be applied directly inside her. This method, unsurprisingly, did not work. Without any other options, Guistiniana Wynne had no choice but to flee to a convent where she discreetly gave birth to her child.  

Impregnated His Own Daughter

Photo: Hugh Douglas Hamilton / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Casanova never married, but that didn't stop him from having a handful of illegitimate sons and daughters. One of these was Leonilda, his daughter from an affair with Lucrezia Castelli. In what must have been an awkward moment, Casanova, almost unwittingly, took Leonilda as his lover in 1761when he visited Naples. 

But when he learned that she was, in fact, his own flesh and blood, he wisely decided not to sleep with her. However, things took a bizarre twist many years later. Leonilda had been married off to a marchese. And Casanova's old flame, Lucrezia, invited him to visit them at the grand new home. 

Lucrezia seemed to have confessed to Casanova that their daughter was unhappy, for her husband was not giving her the child she so desperately wanted. So Casanova agreed to Lucrezia's plan. He would impregnate her himself. 

This isn't typically the kind of thing a man would brag about, but Casanova was no typical man. In fact, the record of this act comes from his own writing. The unholy union had its desired effect. And Casanova became both father and grandfather to Leonilda's son and/or brother. Mi casa, su inbreeding.  

Casanova Claimed To Be A Mystic

Photo: Chemical Heritage Foundation / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

As if his life wasn't fantastical enough already, Casanova, much like a madonna in 2011, also claimed to be an expert in the mystical Kabbalah. The Kabbalah is a belief system that pre-dates religion. A claim that no doubt provided him with a way to manipulate a variety of occult-minded people. 

To be fair, he was deeply interested in it. But his claims of mysticism, like pretty much everything else he did, were usually rooted in questionable motives. One individual whom Casanovaused his claim to manipulate was Jeanne Camus dePontcarré, Marquise d'Urfé. 

The Marquise was a noble and very wealthy French woman who bonded with Casanova over their shared love of the occult. He took advantage by reveling in his proximity to the Marquise's wealth and social connections. In 1763, she implored Casanova to put his mystical knowledge to good use. 

The Marquise wanted him to reincarnate her soul into the body of a baby. Oh, that's a good use. For years, Casanova strung the old widow along, until she finally caught on to his schemes, and the two parted ways.  

He Was The Original Sexy Librarian

Photo: Anton Raphael Mengs / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Casanova was more than just a gigolo. He was also a polymath. And his diverse interests and seemingly boundless energy led him down a number of career paths. In his 73 years of life, Casanova had jobs ranging from monk-in-training to gambler, musician, spy, and soldier. 

Casanova also considered himself a philosopher. And his intellectual pursuits were just as central to his life as his amorous ones. But perhaps the most surprising career for the world's most famous lothario was his final one-- librarian. 

In 1785, the aging Casanova apparently had had enough of his adventurous life and settled down as the official librarian to Count Joseph Charles von Waldstein, a Bohemian nobleman. Though this was not the happiest time of Casanova's life, the job itself provided Casanova with a steady income and his own quarters in the count's castle in the Bohemian countryside. 

It also gave him time to write his masterpiece, a 12-volume memoir of his incredible life. That is still considered one of the most authentic sources of European social norms and customs during the Enlightenment period of the 18th century. So what do you think? How does your game stack up to Casanova's? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Source: Weird History


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