Venetian Midwives–Who Knew? | seductivevenice

Anatomical theater at University of Padua

At the presentation I recently made about Sarra Copia Sulam at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco, one audience member showed a remarkable knowledge of Venetian history. He approached me…

Source: Venetian Midwives–Who Knew? | seductivevenice

Celebrating Women’s Equality | seductivevenice

One of the journals edited by Caminer Turra

Happy Women’s Equality Day! In the US, August 26, 1920, was the day women were granted the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified.To celebrate this, I’d like to share with you the story of an early pioneer in women’s equality: Elisabetta Caminer Turra. Here’s a video where I outline her life story and contribution to women’s rights. She lived…

Source: Celebrating Women’s Equality | seductivevenice

Two Women, Two Tributes | seductivevenice

On this day in 1703, Luisa Bergalli was born. Noteworthy, considering she was not born into the noble class, Luisa entered the world of letters and was warmly welcomed into the literary academies, befriending such luminaries as…

Source: Two Women, Two Tributes | seductivevenice

Guilty of a Pretense | seductivevenice

Church of San Lio

We hear about the Venetian women cloistered in convents against their will, sequestered by families who couldn’t afford their dowries, who thought they were unmarriagable, or who wanted to protect their chastity.

But here’s the story of one woman who was trying to enter the convent and wasn’t allowed in.

That’s Cecilia Ferrazzi, who died on [17th January] in 1684.

“I turned in anguish from the pain to implore that…

Source: Guilty of a Pretense | seductivevenice

Passport | seductivevenice

“A passport that belonged to Casanova?! How did you get such a wonderful thing?? That must be worth a fortune! I’m in complete shock. Are many of C’s papers and belongings in private collections? I don’t know much about these things, but I expected them to be in museums.”

This was my reaction when my wonderful friend Marco, who likes to surprise me with gifts from across the sea, recently sent me a copy of Giacomo Casanova’s passport. I overreacted, not surprisingly, so excited at the idea that I somehow thought Marco might be…

Source: Passport | seductivevenice

Rights to the Muffola | seductivevenice

Originally posted on seductivevenice.

What is a muffola, you might ask? And why does one need rights to it?

On July 26, 1497, Marietta Barovier, master glassmaker,  applied to Doge Agostino Barbarigo for permission to build a special small furnace or muffola exclusively for her own work, particularly for firing enamel painting. She and her brother Giovanni operated their family glass furnace after their father’s death, but it was Marietta who displayed the more creative bent. She is credited with painting the famous Barovier wedding cup (pictured here), on display at Venice’s Museo del Vetro on Murano, and she also invented the rosetta bead.

This bead, which used the Venetian technique first called murrine and later millefiore, or “a thousand flowers,” employed six layers with white at its center in a star shape, adding layers of blue, white, and brick-red. Luckily, Marietta obtained a patent for her precious design. Besides being worn as jewelry, Marietta’s rosetta bead became…

via Rights to the Muffola | seductivevenice.

The Old Lady and the Rebellion


(I meant to post this on June 15, but I was traveling and didn’t get to it. Here it is, a month late.)

What does this woman with a pot have to do with ending a rebellion?BajamonteTiepolo2

She is Giustina Rossi, and on June 15, 1310, she dropped her grinding mortar on the head of the rebellion’s flag bearer. This may not seem like a rebellious act. She may have been angered by the noisy ruffians outside her window on the Merceria behind the clock tower. “I’m trying to grind my cornmeal here! Quiet down, now!” I imagine her yelling. Or maybe not. But in any case, when she dropped her mortar on the flag carrier, he promptly keeled over and breathed his last. His compatriots panicked, scattered, and fled, as seen in Gabriel Bella’s painting of the scene. Notice the bleeding flag bearer on the ground, mortar by his…

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