Loved, admired, envied, sometimes feared, often persecuted: they are the Courtesans, forgotten protagonists of the Venetian epic!
During the Renaissance, for better or for worse, they were always in the limelight, attracting attention both from the political and the religious authorities. History has often passed before these women’s eyes, in their living rooms or in their beds, consecrating their fame but at the same time erasing their names (even though they often inspired the works of famous artists).
It seems that between 15th and 16th Century the courtesans made up about 10% of Venice’s total population. Considered “as necessary as bread” in a city that aimed to make the stay of countless merchants, sailors and soldiers as pleasant (and profitable) as possible, they were also deemed responsible for the moral decay of the city. Aside from the “Màmole” or “Candlelight Courtesans” (low-ranking harlots living in red-light districts), in Venice one would also find the so-called “Honest Courtesans”: accomplished prostitutes that mixed sensuality with a fine education, practicing harlotry in a more… sophisticated way. Their life was exceptional, but it can help tell the story of thousands other women who, through luxuries and miseries, sold themselves out of necessity, for want of freedom, for ambition or out of pure chance…
How was the life of the Venetian courtesans? How much did they earn? How did they dress? What did they think? Who were their friends and their worst enemies? In short, what did it mean to be a courtesan in the Renaissance?
With this itinerary we will discover not only the beautiful hidden corners of Santa Croce and San Polo districts, but also the life of these women, perpetually poised between charm and squalor. A special focus will be dedicated to the most famous honest courtesan of all, Veronica Franco, whose life was recounted in the film “A Dangerous Beauty” by Marshall Herskovitz, based on Loretta Chase’s novel “Your Scandalous Ways”.
In other words, we will discover another Venice: fascinating (perhaps shocking!), but no less true…
DURATION: From 2h to 6h, according to your needs.
PRICE 1-4 PEOPLE: 120€ (2h tour), 180€ (3h tour), 240€ (4h tour), 360€ (6h tour).
EVERY EXTRA PERSON: +20€ per person.
PICK UP: Hotel/Port/Airport/Train Station or at the meeting point of your choice.