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Giacomo Casanova

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Portrait of Casanova

Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (born 2 April 1725 – died 4 June 1798) was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice. Casanova is now known as the archetypal womanizer because of the many sexual exploits recorded in his memoirs. Some of these acts involved females as young as nine (Wolff, 2005, p. 433-434)[1]:

In Ancona in 1744 Casanova encountered a traveling theatrical family that included the supposed castrato singer Bellino, who turned out to be a girl in disguise, and became a major romance. Bellino, however, also had two younger sisters, Cecilia age twelve, and Marina age eleven, who both briefly occupied Casanova’s bed. “The two little girls were true living rose buds,” Casanova observed, “and very worthy of being preferred to Bellino, if I had not gotten into my head the idea that Bellino was a girl like them. Despite their extreme youth (grande jeunesse) one saw the signs of their precocious puberty (puberte precoce) on their white bosoms” (II, 4). For these children Casanova had a vocabulary of description that evocatively expressed their barely pubescent appeal. First he had sex with twelve-year-old Cecilia, and then he was approached by eleven-year-old Marina. He hesitated for a moment in response to her juvenile advances:

"You are too much a child." (Tu es trop enfant.)

"Age means nothing. I am better formed than my sister."

"And is it also possible that you have had a lover?"

"As for that, no."

"Very well. We will see tonight." (II, 8) […]

Casanova too considered such encounters to be providential, and summed them up accordingly: “Those who say that life is only a collection of misfortunes mean that life itself is a misfortune …. These people have written thus without good health, without a purse full of gold, and without the contentment of the soul that comes from holding in their arms the like of Cecilia and Marina, and being confident of having others of that sort in the future” (II, 11-12). […]

In 1755, when he was thirty, Casanova had sex with thirteen-year-old Helene in Paris, but stopped short of intercourse, because he hesitated over the price: “little Helene, whom I enjoyed, while leaving her intact.” In 1765, when he was forty, he purchased a thirteen-year-old girl in St. Petersburg as a sexual slave, and therefore did not need to deny himself any of her favors. In the memoirs he described the Russian girl as emphatically prepubescent: “Her breasts had still not finished budding. She was in her thirteenth year. She had nowhere the definitive mark of puberty.” (III, 196-7; X, 116-17). [...]

In 1774, when he was almost fifty, Casanova encountered in Trieste a former lover, the actress Irene, now accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter. “A few days later she came, with her daughter, who pleased me (qui me plut) and who did not reject my caresses. One fine day, she met with Baron Pittoni, who loved little girls as much as I did (aimant autant que moi les petites filles), and took a liking to Irene’s girl, and asked the mother to do him the same honor some time that she had done to me. I encouraged her to receive the offer, and the baron fell in love. This was lucky for Irene” (XII, 238).


  1. Wolff L. (2005). “‘Depraved inclinations’: Libertines and children in Casanova’s Venice,” in Eighteenth-Century Studies, 38 (3): 417-440.