Loved, admired, envied, feared and persecuted. During the Renaissance, courtesans received constant attention, both good and bad; in private and in in public and by both the political and religious leaders. History and its secrets often passed before the eyes of these women, in lounges and beds, women of which many have heard, but of whom few know the story.
This tour will let you in on the hidden lives of the Courtesans of 13th and 14thCentury Venice. The oldest profession in the world, by some of them, was practiced in a different fashion: very sophisticated and almost noble. A powerful mix of lust, culture, luxury, poetry, music, grace and fiction.
Their life was not ordinary, but can help us to recant the story of many women who, in the same period of history, were sold out of necessity, or who chose this lifestyle to pursue freedom, or for ambition, or by chance. Of these lives, often nothing remains; all that is left of these lives are names, tariffs, convictions, poems and paintings.
Much of Renaissance Society, had close ties with the courtesans. Great Painters and writers not only patronized and loved courtesans, but these women were also the source of great inspiration for their paintings and poems. What was the real life of courtesans? Where did they live? How much they earn? What did they think? Who were their friends and their worst enemies? What did it mean to be an “honest courtesan” in the Renaissance?
The term “honest courtesan” was invented by Mr. Burcard , who was a sort of master of ceremonies of six Popes, notably Pope Borgia Alexander VI. Honest courtesans were of course, not chaste women, rather they were women of great culture and manners who moved with great comfort and grace in the Italian and Papal courts.
During this itinerary we will discover how and where Loretta Chase’s “Your Scandalous Ways” famous courtesans lived and we will talk about the most famous courtesan, Veronica Franco as depicted in Marshall Herskovits’ painting.