9 -Salizzada San Samuele


Salizzada San Samuele - Where Casanova lost his virginity

Leaving the Calle Nani, turn right back on to the Calle dei' Orbi - named after the Scuola degli Orbi (school for the blind), which stood here during Casanova's time. Take the left, Calle dei Tedeschi, and follow it round to the right at the very end of the street. This brings you out onto Salizzada San Samuele

Somewhere on this street lived Father Giovanni Tosello, and it was whilst at the priest's house, working on a sermon together, that Casanova would meet and fall in love with his 17 year old niece, Angela Tosello.

It was also on this street, on the fourth floor of a large old dilapidated palazzo (perhaps no.3358, which now houses the Hotel Albergo San Samuele), a 16 year old Casanova lost his virginity. In September 1741, noble-born 16 year old Nanetta Savorgnan and her 15 year old sister, Marta, did their best match-making by inviting Angela Tosello, Casanova’s love interest to a sleepover and, with much planning and effort, sneaked him into their apartment above their aunt Signoria Caterina Orio’s house, with the intention of making him “the hero of the play”.

Instead, the night ended somewhat differently as the girls teased Casanova, and Angela refused to go near him in the dark, making him lose his temper, causing the girls to cry.  

Angela begged his forgiveness but when the girls arranged a rerun three months later, Casanova was surprised to find that she did not arrive. Nonetheless he accepted the sisters' offer to sleep in their bed whilst they slept on the sofa. After two bottles of Cyprus wine, smoked meat, bread and Parmesan cheese, they started playing a kissing game and agreed to sleep in the same bed “as friends”. In incredibly erotic language for an 18th Century writer he described the experience as such:

“They had their backs turned towards me and we were in darkness. I began with the one towards whom I was turned, not knowing whether it was Nanetta or Marta. I found her curled up and covered by her shift, but by doing nothing to startle her and proceeding step by step as gradually as possible I soon convinced her that her best course was to pretend to be asleep and let me go on. Little by little I straightened her out, little by little she uncurled, and little by little, with slow, successive, but wonderfully natural movements, she put herself in a position which was the most favourable she could offer me without betraying herself. I set to work, but to crown my labours it was necessary that she should join in them openly and undeniably, and nature finally forced her to do so. I found this first sister beyond suspicion and suspecting the pain she must have endured, I was surprised I let the victim alone and turned the other way to do the same thing with her sister…”
— Casanova - the Story Of My Life (Volume I)

To the modern eye, his second “triumph” seems awfully close to rape:

“I found her motionless, in the position often taken up by a person in deep untroubled sleep. With the greatest precautions, and every appearance of fearing to wake her, I began by delighting her soul at the same time assuring myself that she was as untouched as her sister; and I continued the same treatment until, affecting a most natural movement without which I could not have crowned my labours, she helped me to triumph; but at the moment of crisis she no longer had strength to keep up her pretence. Throwing off the mask, she clasped me in her arms and pressed her mouth on mine.”
— Casanova - The Story Of My Life (Volume I)

Afterwards they all washed “in a bucket” together in the candlelight, drinking the rest of the wine before spending “the rest of the night in ever varied skirmishes.”  It was a sexual arrangement that the three would repeat at the address over many years to come before Nanetta would later get married and Marta repent her sins by becoming a nun at Santa Maria degli Angeli on Murano. Ironically, her life seemingly going in the opposite direction of Casanova, whom would give up the idea of being a priest for the enjoyment of his sins.



You can actually stay at what could possibly be the palace in which Casanova lost his virginity. Hotel San Samuele (ask for a fourth floor room, but bring your own pair of sisters and Cyprus wine).