Veronica Franco, the honest courtesan
« If we are armed and trained, we can convince men that we have hands, feet and a heart like them, and even if we are delicate and tender, there are men that can be tender even strong men and vulgar and violent and they are cowards. Women have not yet realized that they should behave in this way, this way would be able to fight to the death, and to show that this is true, I’ll be the first to act as a model. »
The Franco was not just an intellectual and a sensual courtesan but also a weaver of Machiavellian political plots.
The Venice Renassaince society recognized two different kinds of courtesans: the honest courtesan, namely the intellectual courtesan, and the courtesan of light, (similar to modern prostitutes) , a courtesan of the lower classes , who lived and practiced the craft near the Rialto Bridge. Veronica reached an excellent level of education: a sign she had to continue to study on their own and treasure everything she learned in Venetian cultural circles in which she was admitted. Starting from the most important one, by Domenico Venier, his mentor and patron.
Customers Veronica were noble, clergy, intellectuals and artists. In 1574 it was added Henry of Valois, who from Poland, where he was king, he was going to Paris to ascend to the throne of France under the name of Henry III. La Serenissima welcomed him with 11 days of celebrations, organized by artists such as Andrea Palladio, Andrea Gabrieli, Paolo Veronese and Tintoretto. The Franco was not only the “gift” of a night offered by the Republic for a valuable ally, but also, due to her intense nationalism, a courtesan spy who could take advantage of the intimacy to steal state secrets to foreign customers and step.
Although Veronica Franco has almost never moved from his home town, except for a pilgrimage to Rome, on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1575 , and for a journey of “business” in Veneto, her life has been full of events and surprises scene. In particular: the challenge with Maffio Venier, the trial before the Inquisition and the proposal to open a school for former prostitutes.