Other Works in the Series, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

Although the job of a researcher is mostly a solitary one, it would have been impossible for me to work on this book without the help, suggestions, and support of many colleagues, friends, and family members.
I spent long, fascinating hours in the archives of the Istituzioni di Ricovero e di Educazione and the Patriarcato of Venice, where I benefited...

Abbreviations

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pp. xv-2

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Introduction

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pp. 3-10

Around 1564 there were in Venice over thirty convents and monasteries, inhabited by 2,107 nuns.2 However, a true inclination toward a withdrawn life of prayer was not as common among Venetian women as these figures suggest. As explained above in the “Relazione,” these nuns were actually born within the most important families of the...

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1. Maridar o Monacar, To Marry or to Become a Nun? Nuptial Strategies in the Venetian Aristocracy

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pp. 11-23

From their birth, the women of Venice had just two life prospects: either they got married or they entered a convent. And the choice was not theirs: the families chose their destiny, whether they liked it or not.
When, on December 17, 1680, Francesco Tiepolo wrote his will, he appeared rather concerned about his daughters’ future, strongly urging...

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2. Weddings and Clothings: A Comparison

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pp. 24-50

What kinds of preparations were made for a patrician wedding and for a monastic ceremony? And what styles and colors of dresses were Venetian brides and nuns-to-be to wear? Numerous, and sometimes strikingly similar, were the steps and ceremonies that transformed a young noblewoman into either a resplendent bride, the icon of...

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3. Nuns and Fashion

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pp. 51-111

Laces, wide décolletages, high-heeled shoes, makeup: Venetian nuns were famous all over Europe for their elegance and their relaxed, quasi-secular lifestyle. Starting from the description of the ideal demure habits prescribed for the nuns of different orders, we will slowly reveal the reality of the far more luxurious and sensual gowns these nuns...

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4. Textiles, Embroideries, and Laces in the Convent

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pp. 112-121

How were the days organized inside the cloister? Monastic rules stressed the need for a routine based on regular prayer and meditation cycles, interrupted only by simple meals to be taken in the convent refectory and by work in the communal workroom because every nun needed to “escape idleness as the most dangerous...

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5. Conclusions

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pp. 122-124

One person, two very different images. The hidden and audacious portraits found by Giacomo Casanova in a concealed compartment of the tobacco box given to him by his lover M. M., a nun of the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Murano, well summarize the ambivalence of the dresses worn by Venetian nuns and the symbolic meaning...

Appendices

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pp. 125-156

Notes

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pp. 157-200

Glossary

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pp. 201-204

Bibliography

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pp. 205-218

Index

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pp. 219-226

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About the Author

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pp. 227-227

Isabella Campagnol, a dress, textile, and decorative arts historian, is the co-editor of Rubelli: A Story of Venetian Silk. She has lectured on the topics of Venice and Venetian textiles in Italy and Europe and the United States. She lives between Murano and Rome.