One evening of 1745, during the Carnival period, a gentleman from the Balbi family and Giacomo Casanova spotted a beautiful plebeian woman who was drinking with her husband and two friends in a warehouse in the Croce area. They immediately decided that they wanted her and so they, pretending to be public officers, forced her husband and the two friends to follow them, in the name of the Council of Ten, until the island of S. Giorgio.
Giacomo Casanova at the Osteria
They left the three poor fools there and returned to Venice, where they found the woman at the Rialto bridge, where they had left her under the surveillance of some accomplices. Then they took her to the Osteria delle Spade, where they had dinner and entertained themselves with her all night long, and finally let her go home.
Casanova himself tells this episode in his “Mémoires”, and even if we do not have any other proof of its truthfulness, the story does not seem unlikely to have happened and it certainly is not the first episode of that kind to take place in the general corruption of the city, which involved all social classes during the last years of the Republic”.
(Giuseppe Tassini, Curiosità veneziane, ovvero origini delle denominazioni stradali)