Seduced by Casanova, Venice Has Dedicated a Museum to the Lascivious Playboy Poet

The museum will show that Casanova was more than a great seducer of women.

Giacomo Casanova. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A museum dedicated to the extraordinary life of the quintessential playboy Giacomo Casanova will open in his hometown of Venice next month. The first of its kind, the “Casanova Museum and Experience” will highlight the serial seducer’s life and exploits. Casanova is, of course, best known for his numerous sexual conquests, but he was also an adventurer, soldier, spy, linguist, philosopher, and poet.

“It won’t be just a dusty museum where you will be able to discover paintings, memorabilia, and more, but it will be a unique experience with high technologies and multimedia, which will let you revive the romantic adventures of Giacomo Casanova, feeling the sensation of the life of this eclectic man,” wrote the founder of the Giacomo Casanova Foundation, Carlo Parodi, in a crowdfunding campaign for the museum.

Parodi’s plans for the museum, which will comprise six rooms at Venice’s Palazzo Pesaro Papafava, near the Grand Canal, are ambitious. He hopes it will attract up to 300,000 visitors to Venice every year, according to the crowdfunding campaign. And that’s just the beginning. Another permanent Casanova museum could follow in Prague, followed by temporary pop-up displays in Saint Petersburg, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Beijing. (Parodi is also the CEO of Casanova Prosecco.)

Ian Kelly, a British historian and author of Casanova—Actor, Lover, Priest, Spy, told the Daily Telegraph that “Casanova might be surprised by his reputation in the modern world because he was a fiercely proud intellectual and polymath.” He was also a “very skilled mathematician and he wrote something like 42 books, including a history of Poland and arguably the world’s first-ever science fiction novel,” Kelly said.

Casanova was born in Venice in 1725 to a working-class family. He worked as a scribe to a cardinal and later became a violinist and professional gambler before endearing himself to a local nobleman and winning his patronage.

Casanova traveled more than 40,000 miles in his life, according to Kelly. He met two popes, rubbed shoulders with such 18th-century luminaries as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Catherine the Great, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Benjamin Franklin, and was rumored to have seduced Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of French King Louis XV. He spent the last years of his life working as, of all things, a librarian, to Count Joseph Karl von Waldstein in Bohemia.


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