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For Casanova, the neglect by his parents was a bitter memory. Conditions at the boarding house were appalling, so he appealed to be placed under the care of Abbé Gozzi, his primary instructor, who tutored him in academic subjects, as well as the violin.Casanova moved in with the priest and his family and lived there through most of his teenaged years.

They also sent midwives and physicians on false calls.

Good fortune came to the rescue when Casanova, unhappy with his lot as a musician, saved the life of a Venetian nobleman of the Bragadin family, who had a stroke while riding with Casanova in a gondola after a wedding ball. Then, at the senator's palace, a physician bled the senator again and applied an ointment of mercury to the senator's chest (mercury was an all-purpose but toxic remedy of the time).

Casanova had also studied moral philosophy, chemistry, and mathematics, and was keenly interested in medicine.

("I should have been allowed to do as I wished and become a physician, in which profession quackery is even more effective than it is in legal practice." Back in Venice, Casanova started his clerical law career and was admitted as an abbé after being conferred minor orders by the Patriarch of Venice.

Instead, he found employment as a scribe with the powerful Cardinal Acquaviva in Rome.

On meeting the pope, Casanova boldly asked for a dispensation to read the "forbidden books" and from eating fish (which he claimed inflamed his eyes).

Giacomo was the first of six children, being followed by Francesco Giuseppe (1727–1803), Giovanni Battista (1730–1795), Faustina Maddalena (1731–1736), Maria Maddalena Antonia Stella (1732–1800), and Gaetano Alvise (1734–1783).

At the time of Casanova's birth, the city of Venice thrived as the pleasure capital of Europe, ruled by political and religious conservatives who tolerated social vices and encouraged tourism.

He quickly ingratiated himself with a patron (something he was to do all his life), 76-year-old Venetian senator Alvise Gasparo Malipiero, the owner of Palazzo Malipiero, close to Casanova's home in Venice.

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