4 - Chiesa di San Samuele
After passing under the plaque which incorrectly states that Casanova was born on the Calle de la Comedia (Calle Malipero), turn left and you find yourself at the San Samuele waterbus stop, located in front of the Chiesa Di San Samuele church, which played a huge part in Casanova's life.
Originally built in the year 1000, it was reconstructed following two fires in the 12th Century and was completely rebuilt in 1685 with the front facade added in 1952.
A year before his birth, on 17th February 1724, Casanova's 17 year old mother married his 27 year old father, Gaetano Casanova; at just 3 days old, he was baptized here and; on Valentine's Day 1740, when he was 14, he briefly joined the priesthood here under the watchful eye of the parish priest, Father Tosello.
The strict teachings of Father Tosello had led to an argument with Casanova about his well preened appearance, prompting the 15 year old to question his role in the church:
This refusal to play by the church's rules would shape Casanova's future behaviour in Venice - and life in general - and prompted a response a few days later which would anger him so much he would consider giving up on the idea of becoming a priest.
The immediate days following this episode, Casanova planned his revenge, whilst walking around town wearing a Venetian theatre mask to avoid embarrassment, and was encouraged by a lawyer to institute an extrajudicial motion, based on the evidence that Father Toledo had also ruined the family of a Slavonian merchant by "the far less serious" act of cutting off the man's moustache.
It was Senator Malipiero, who lived in the palace next to the church, that saved the situation by persuading Casanova to drop the case and sent one of Venice's best hairdressers to give the 15 year old priest a new hairstyle - one which was "so studied that it really did deserve excommunication."
Despite a long argument with the not so-approving Father Toledo over its contents, Casanova's enthusiasm for the church would soon be reignited following his first sermon here in 1741:.
Despite the adoration of his female audience, however, priesthood would turn out not to be Casanova's calling, when, on the 19th March 1741, his second sermon was cut short when he forgot his words and fainted, a result of being too drunk, having been unable to turn down the chance for the glamourous attraction of lunch with the Count of Montreale, who was staying at his house, and his future son-in-law, the aristocrat Barozzi.
Embarrassed, he walked the short distance home, packed his bags, borrowed some money of his grandmother and left immediately for Padua to take his third year examinations, deep in the knowledge that priesthood was not for him.