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Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice in 1725. His parents, both actors, wanted him to become a priest, but their hopes were dashed when, at sixteen, he was expelled from seminary for immoral misconduct. Probably best-known for his reputation as a womanizer, Casanova was in turn a secretary, a soldier in the Venetian army, a preacher, an alchemist, a gambler, a violinist, a lottery director, and a spy. He translated Homer's Iliad into Italian and collaborated with Da Ponte on the libretto for Mozart's Don Giovanni. He retired in 1785 to the castle of a friend -- Count Waldstein of Bohemia -- in order to write his memoirs.
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