It has been said that the Queen would be from a beautiful and important country just like France and that on that throne, Henry II of Valois will be waiting for her, that charming young man with a blue velvet jerkin, who looked at her with eyes proud of a glorious past and full of a bright future, from the miniature that gallant ambassadors have delivered to his uncle, Pope Clemente VII de’ Medici. But their meeting before the wedding, in Marseille, October 22, 1533, was disappointing. The bridegroom, still seduced by the smooth beauty of its mature and experienced mistress, Diane de Poitiers, at the sight of this pale 14 year old girl of small royalty, bundled up in a dress too important to her, even if approved by Isabella Gonzaga, a fashion guru of the time, was so disappointed that he almost threatened to wreck the marriage.
Monna Tessa, who was she? Changing the famous phrase of The Betrothed, she wasn’t a philosopher, but, according to tradition, the inspirer of the foundation of a fundamental Florentine institution; nevertheless, as much as Carneade in the Manzoni Novel, an almost forgotten figure today. She was the Portinari educator and governess, family factotum and trustworthy women; she brought up and trained Beatrice, “forbidden” and idealized love of Dante, but what makes us her precious it’s above all that she persuaded Beatrice’s father, Folco Portinari, to finance the foundation of the hospital known today as Santa Maria Nuova.
By Shira Burns and Isabella Grezzi – Students at Smith College in Florence Florence is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for college...
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