To be a courtesan in the 16th century in Venice meant avoiding the alternative of marrying or going to the nun: at that time both could be two cages!
It was not the Venice of the eighteenth century, libertine and devoid of inhibitions. The city of two centuries before, however, had a double morality and women of good reputation were virtually segregated. A husband’s girl went out of the house to go to mass. She came out veiled so that you could not see her face and accompanied by males at home (does she remind you of something? Does she not remind you of current themes?). And even when they’re married, “the gentlemen plug their women into their homes like chickens in the bush,” wrote Croyat. So don’t be fooled if you see the paintings of that time with women showing dizzying necklines, that was just fashion. But, apart from the family customs, the Venice of the Serenissima was a Republic with wide views and did not hinder the courtesans, on the contrary.
To be a courtesan meant first of all to be able to dispose freely of oneself, one’s body and one’s time, to read and study, all things that were denied even to the highest ranking ladies. The Venetian women’s universe was divided into two parts: on the one hand, the women closed in the house or monastery, and on the other, those who had visibility and a greater dose of freedom, namely the courtesans. The wealthy men loved to be with the courtesans, not only for their amatory qualities but also because the courtesans, who were educated women, knew more languages and played musical instruments were therefore a pleasant company… but this is another story that I will tell you at the next post 😉. I don’t know you, but the courtesans are really nice to me!!