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Giovanni And Lusanna: Love And Marriage In Renaissance Florence: "An Insight Into The Lives Of Women During The European Middle Ages"

1268 words - 5 pages

This essay will provide an insight into the lives of women in Italian society during the Renaissance by giving a summary of the subject couple--Giovanni and Lusanna, the cultural environment of this period and what impact this world had on women as well as the role women made in shaping their social status.Giovanni di Ser Lodovico della Casa:(1420-1480) was one of the sons from the Della Casa--an upper echelon family of Florentine society. All of the family members were engaged in international trade and banking (referred to by the Church and those subjected to it as usury) and associated with the Medici, the richest and most powerful in Florence.Lusanna Benedetto di Girolamo(1420-?) was the daughter of a successful immigrant tailor from Dalmatia (now the former Yugoslavia) first married the son of a baker, Andrea Nucci, himself another guildsman involved with the linen-cloth trade. Lusanna's father was above the artisan average regarding the success of his business so he was able to present Lusanna (his only daughter from his first marriage) with a dowry--this was the property that a bride brought with her to marriage. A substantial dowry enhanced her attractiveness as a spouse, strengthened interfamily ties, and served as a financial base for the newlyweds. During the Florentine Renaissance, the husband managed his wife's dowry but did not own it outright (women had a degree of protection under the law).The story of Giovanni and Lusanna focuses on Lusanna's bold attempt at bringing to the Florentine courts a suit against Giovanni for marrying another woman. Lusanna believed she was legally married to Giovanni(albeit) secretly. Lusanna was married to an artisan linen maker Andrea Nucci at the time Giovanni pursued her relentlessly eventually creating a love affair/romance. He even allegedly promised to marry Lusanna should her husband die ( this perhaps was said initially to keep the romance on-going). Her husband, Andrea, soon died a questionable death and it was suggested by some that he may have been poisoned. Giovanni semi-reneged on his promise by marrying Lusanna secretly -- a public wedding of someone of his social status and rank to women of the working class in Florence was socially incorrect.Besides Lusanna's love affair with Giovanni while she was still married, there abounded inferences that she had other lovers as well. (Giovanni was away on business much of the time). Her husband, Andrea Nucci, was accused of being a cuckold--a man married to an unfaithful wife, but perhaps his latent homosexuality and the fact that Lusanna was barren initiated a period of celibate relations with the "look-men-in- the-eye-Lusanna" pursuing her needs elsewhere. In today's society this would have been a common reason for her to seeksuch affection outside of marriage (men, especially of social rank, were less hindered in their affairs). However, in the court proceedings these notions were presented to discredit her.Though Giovanni did marry another,...

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