Presented here with the
knowledge and full permission of the authors and publisher.
Forthcoming in Cesare
Vecellio's "Clothing, Ancient and Modern, of Various
Parts of the World", translated by Ann Rosalind Jones
and Margaret F.
Rosenthal, forthcoming from Thames and Hudson, London, in
Autumn 2008. Copyright
Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal
Reproduction prohibited without
permission of the authors and the publisher.
10. Courtesans Outdoors
said earlier that prostitutes who want to win respect by
means of pretended modesty wear widows’ and married
women’s styles of dress, especially in the colors worn
by brides. Formerly, most of them went about dressed as
unmarried girls, a custom still carried out but with
greater caution. So as not to be completely enclosed and
covered by the cappas they wear, and yet not
allowed to make other parts of themselves visible, they
have to reveal themselves in some way, so they can’t
fail to be recognized by this gesture here [raising
their veil and peering out from under it]. And because
they’re forbidden to wear pearls, they reveal
themselves as prostitutes when they expose their bare
necks. So to make up for this, these unfortunate women
employ a bertone (as they are called) who plays
the role of a husband for them and thereby legitimates
their use of luxury goods; under this pretext they can
avail themselves of everything that the laws generally
forbid them. Their gowns are of brocatello in
various colours, and embroidered at the highest cost
they can afford. They wear Roman-style shoes inside
their pianelle. These are the courtesans of the
highest standing. But those who practice this infamous
profession openly and in public places wear silk
doublets with gold laces or embroidery of some kind, and
also carpette over which they tie cloths or silk
aprons. On their heads they wear a short gauze fazzuolo.
And in this style they go flirting throughout the city,
easily recognized by all, and everyone makes obscene
gestures at them and calls out obscene words.
Rosalind Jones and Margaret F Rosenthal.
11. and 12. Dress Worn by the Women of Venice in 1550 F