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Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni

(Venice, 25.2.1707 – Paris, 6.2.1793)

The Venetian playwright, whose father was from Modena, was a practitioner in the law firm of his uncle Giampaolo Indric when he was admitted to the Ghislieri College of Pavia in 1722 with a scholarship granted by Marquis Pietro Goldoni Vidoni,
protector of the family. However, he was expelled from the college in 1725 because of a licentious poem he had written about the city’s women. He returned to Venice, followed a law course in Udine and in 1727 enrolled at the University of Modena with the intention of graduating in law, but he left when he found a job as an adjunct of the coadjutor of the criminal chancellor of Chioggia.

Convinced to finally conclude his studies in law, he took advantage of his father’s citizenship to boast an inherited non-Venetian citizenship and thus get the chance to take the degree exam in Padua very quickly. “To be admitted to the legal profession in Venice – Goldoni writes in his Memoirs – it was necessary first of all to get a degree from the University of Padova” and therefore “spend five consecutive years with certificates attesting to the attendance”. However, Goldoni found a loophole: “foreigners can show up at the college to present their thesis and graduate without delay”. So here he is “of Modena origin” at the graduation session without having attended classes, on 21st October 1731, after a sleepless night spent at the gaming table in the company of the lawyer, Francesco Radi, who had prepared him for the exam. Goldoni would later very theatrically recount in his Memoirs about the exam, which was successful. The Venetian then practiced civil law in Venice in the early days after graduation, and criminal law in Pisa from 1744 to 1748.