Born 1546 – Died 1591
By Jen Houston
Why We Should Care: Veronica Franco became one of Venice’s most revered courtesans after a failed teenage marriage left her with few options. As a courtesan, she was awarded privileges not extended to other females at the time, such as education. Respected by male nobility, Veronica became a renowned poet in Venice’s most elite thespian circles, having her own volumes published, and editing other authors’ works. She started a charity for courtesans and their children, and later tried unsuccessfully to obtain government assistance in opening a home for poor women. She was later tried for witchcraft during the inquisition, but the charges were acquitted, possibly due to pulled strings by her powerful confidants.
Three Traits We Admire: Quick wit, sexual prowess, ability to avoid being hung for witchcraft.
In Her Own Words: “When we too are armed and trained, we can convince men that we have hands, feet, and a heart like yours; and although we may be delicate and soft, some men who are delicate are also strong; and others, coarse and harsh, are cowards. Women have not yet realized this, for if they should decide to do so, they would be able to fight you until death; and to prove that I speak the truth, amongst so many women, I will be the first to act, setting an example for them to follow.”
Style Best Described As: The best money can buy plus what’s pleasing to the eye! Think Marie Antoinette meets Bettie Page.
Hottest Hook-Up: Henry III, King of France (He was the lucky one!)