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1756- Giacomo Casanova escapes from Venice prison

October 31, 2022

The day is October 31, 1756, in "The Leads," the prison section in the Doge Palace. Giacomo Casanova has been sentenced to 5 years in solitary confinement for crimes committed against rich men and women in Italy.

However, Casanova did not finish his sentence; he managed to escape and flee to France.

Casanova's Arrest

In addition to his numerous schemes to acquire wealth, Casanova was a notorious flirt who did not abide by the purity ideals of the church. He preyed upon wealthy women for financial support, as well as emotionally vulnerable women and underage girls.

On July 26, 1755, Casanova was arrested for affronting religion and common decency. He was sent to "The Leads," a 7-cell prison on the top of Doge's palace. It was reserved for famous and wealthy prisoners. It was named for the lead plates that covered the palace roof.

The Escape

During a walk outside, Casanova managed to find an iron bar. He smuggled it back into his cell and began to carve a hole through the wood floor underneath his bed. Just three days before his grand escape, he was moved to a new cell. After a streak of self-pity, he picked himself up and began creating a new escape route.

For his second escape, Casanova worked with Father Balbi, a renegade priest who was in the adjacent cell. Father Balbi used the iron rod to make a hole in his ceiling. After finishing his hole, Balbi walked along the rooftop and dug a hole into Casanova's cell.

At the time, Casanova shared a cell with Sordaci, a spy. He was threatened to keep quiet and instructed to put the lead plate back in place after the pair left. Casanova left a note behind with Psalm 117 quoted on it, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord."

Life After Prison

Despite his declarations to live a life for God, Casanova fell back into his old lifestyle patterns. His life was full of adventure as he continued to win the affection of wealthy individuals while fleeing those who wished to put him in prison. In his later years, he continued to pursue vulnerable women, going so far as to purchase young girls for his continued pleasure.

Casanova spent his last years working without glory as a librarian for Count Waldstein. It was there that he wrote his life story before he died at the age of 73. No one knows where he was buried, but his name is still associated with lewdness and womanizers.






1 Comment

  1. Jorge A Villalón

    There is an Spanish adage that is: “cría fama y acuéstate a sormir”
    Mi opinión, JV


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