Ramie Targoff's Renaissance Woman tells of the most remarkable woman of the Italian Renaissance: Vittoria Colonna, Marchesa of Pescara.
Vittoria has long been celebrated by scholars of Michelangelo as the artist's best friend-the two of them exchanged beautiful letters, poems, and works of art that bear witness to their intimacy-but she also had close ties to Charles V, Pope Clement VII and Pope Paul III, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Aretino, Queen Marguerite de Navarre, Reginald Pole, and Isabella d'Este, among others.
Vittoria was the scion of an immensely powerful family in Rome during that city's most explosively creative era. Art and literature flourished, but political and religious life were under terrific strain. Personally involved with nearly every major development of this period-through both her marriage and her own talents-Vittoria was not only a critical political actor and negotiator but also the first woman to publish a book of poems in Italy, an event that launched a revolution for Italian women's writing.
Vittoria was, in short, at the very heart of what we celebrate when we think about sixteenth-century Italy; through her story the Renaissance comes to life anew.
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"Italian Renaissance poet Vittoria Colonna, Marchesa of Pescara, comes to life through Targoff's extensive research and compelling narrative. Narrator Justine Eyre's fluid and flavorful pronunciation of Italian words and expressions transports listeners deeper into Vittoria's privileged world. Born into a powerful Italian family, Vittoria held a front-row seat to an era rife with religious and political divisions and rich in artistic output. Widowed young, Vittoria devoted her life to cultivating her faith and producing critically and publicly acclaimed poetry. Correspondence with family and notable figures, including Michelangelo and Queen Marguerite of Navarre, is lightly characterized with an Italian, British, or French accent, depending on the individual's country of origin. Targoff concludes with her appreciation for access to Vatican research materials. J.R.T. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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