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Giovanni Della Casa
(1503 - 1556) Italy

Giovanni Della Casa

Prelate and writer

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Before entering the priesthood in 1537, Della Casa had written various poetical works. His literary work is quite various, from his youthful, licentious chapters like Sopra il forno (On the oven), Del bacio (About the kiss), Sopra il nome suo (On his name), Del martello (About the hammer), Della stizza (About anger), he passed to lyric poetry, gaining his contemporaries' admiration.

In 1544 he was made Archbishop of Benevento, although he was'nt yet a priest (he was ordained in 1547), but he never reached his diocese because he was sent to Venice as papal nuncio. He introduced in Venetia the Inquisition. Back to Rome in 1549, he had to abandon the city because in the new pope's, Julius III, bad graces. Back to Veneto, he led a quiet life and wrote his famous Galateo (good manners and etiquette book).

He founded the papal Index of forbidden books. It seems that In laudem pederastiae seu sodmiae (In Praise of Buggery) attributed to him, never existed; it was said he wrote this book by the Protestants, in order to discredit Della Casa and the Catholic Church, of which Della Casa was an important defender.

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