8. Widows

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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.

8. Widows

With the death of their husbands, widows in Venice embrace the death of all vanity and all bodily ornament. For in addition to wearing black, they cover their hair, fasten a very thick veil over their breast, wear their cappa [a heavy veil of horizontally crimped silk or a silk and wool blend] low on their foreheads, and go through the streets sadly and with lowered heads. As long as they want to remain widows, they wear a train and put on no coloured clothing, until such time as they may want to marry again. At home they wear a cap on their hair, which covers it up. They always wear black, indoors and out. But if they decide to marry again, they may wear some jewelry without being blamed for it, though not of striking appearance, and uncover their hair to some degree, all of which serves to inform others of their intention. This image of dress represents a very modest noblewoman of the Contarini family.


Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F Rosenthal.


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