Oxford in Italy 1575-76: "Italian sports and sirens' melody"

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Oxford spent approximately ten months, from May 1575 to March 1576, in Italy, making Venice his base of operations. The following facts are known about his life there:

  1. Oxford visited other Italian cities, including Padua, Siena, Genoa, and Milan. The full story is available in an itinerary of his movements.

  2. Sir Henry Wotton reported in 1617 that Oxford had built himself a house while in Venice.

  3. In 1606, two years after Oxford's death, Nathaniel Baxter published a poem, entitled Ouriana, in which he reported, from personal knowledge, that Oxford had led a life of "infamie" in Venice, from which he was recalled by a higher power.

  4. While in Venice, Oxford consorted with a courtesan named Virginia Padoana, a prostitute whose identity is confirmed by contemporary Venetian legal documents.

  5. Oxford also consorted with a sixteen-year-old Venetian choirboy named Orazio Cogno. Oxford brought Orazio back to London with him. Orazio remained with Oxford for approximately one year before returning to Venice. In 1580-81 Oxford was accused of pederasty with Orazio, with another Italian boy named Rocco, and with other boys as well.

  6. Oxford came by his lacivious impulses honestly, as both his father and his son are known to have been involved in sexual misconduct.

  7. The sexual expolits of Oxford (or of his son Henry) became engrained in Italian legend.

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