"Casanova's Women" shows that the world-famous rake spread joy and VD

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What, then, was his secret? Was it a silver tongue that no woman could resist? Was it his outlaw reputation and his celebrated good looks? His ability to let frustrated women express their sexuality in an oppressive society? Or was he just really well hung?

Actually, Casanova's profligacy seemed to have a lot to do with furniture, or rather a lack thereof in 18th century Europe. Time and again, the great seducer's campaign to lift every skirt between Barcelona and Bucharest was facilitated by the fact that there simply were not enough beds to go around. Take, for example, his" conquest" of Donna Lucrezia Castelli, the Neopolitan woman Casanova seduced during the course of a long carriage trip from her hometown to Rome in 1744, as described by Judith Summers in"Casanova's Women."

"The vettura (carriage) was a small, slow-moving vehicle pulled by a single team of mules, and the journey north would take six days and entail five overnight stops at rustic coaching inns along the way ... for a flat fee a vetturino (driver) made all the sleeping and eating arrangements for his passengers, whoever they were, and in order to make as much profit as he could from the trip he would hire only one room for all of them at each inn."

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