Venus by Titian and the Venetian courtesansHistorical Curiosities
Venus by Titian and the Venetian courtesans
The splendid ‘Venus of Urbino' by Titian Vecellio is a true masterpiece, painted by the famous Venetian painter in 1538 for the Duke of Urbino Guidobaldo della Rovere.
According to tradition, the beautiful woman may have represented a Venetian courtesan and in fact, her alluring look and sensuality can be easily connected to ‘an 'expert of love.'
In Venice, the phenomenon of courtesans was well tolerated and sometimes even encouraged, for fear of homosexuality. According to a census of 1509, there were 11,164 and by the first half of 14th century, the courtesans were obliged to live in a neighbourhood near Rialto called ‘il Castelletto' where there was a bridge called 'Delle Tette' (‘of the boobs') because on this bridge the courtesans used to show their breasts to entice passers-by.
The activities and behaviours of the courtesans were meticulously regulated by the Republic of Venice and in the evening when the prostitutes returned home they faced a fine and 10 lashes and 15 lashes if they approached men at Christmas, Easter and other holy days. There were two classes of courtesans: those of low rank, who lived in an unhealthy house frequented by the populace, and those of high rank, who were envied by noblewomen, subjected to a thousand rules, for the freedom that they enjoyed, and for important friendships that they could make. For them, there was a kind of register, which was especially useful for foreigners visiting the city, where they could find names, prices and art skills, such as dance and music, in which the various courtesans excelled.
And if you wish to know the most unusual aspects of Venice with a tailor-made visit, venetoinside.com will organize an original tour of Venice for you! Our expert guide Francesca will help you to discover all that fascinates you the most about this magical city.
Venice: The Sacristy of the Church of St. Stephen's
Unknown places & works
In one of the most beautiful and sunniest squares in Venice there stands the imposing Church of St. Stephen, erected at the behest of t...View
Vicenza: The Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa
If you are passionate about bridges, you cannot miss out on a visit to the Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa, in the Province ...View
Venice: The graffiti of the ancient merchants on Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice
Each building located along the Grand Canal has an amusing story or a mystery to tell... After having been the Post Office building for...View
Padua: Padua, the Iliad, the Aeneid and Dante's Inferno
Mysteries & Legends
What do the Italian city of Padua and Dante's Inferno have in common? Apparently nothing, but if you dig in the medieval legends you wi...View
Venice: The Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice as the film set of 'Casanova'
In 2005 the film ‘Casanova' was shot in Venice, directed by Lasse Hallström and which starred the late Heath Ledger. Among the many ...View