Courtesans of Venice

If I wanted to find out more about the history of the Courtesan Culture of Venice; are there any tours or museums you would recommend? Perhaps even a book, if not? I read about Veronica Franco years ago and have always been fascinated - similar to the geisha culture of Japan as far as education and women's (somewhat) rights in older eras. I will be in Venice this spring, and thought it would be fun to explore that part of the history while there.

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
708 posts

You can check out the movie "Dangerous Beauty". Not a historic film but it's about a girl who becomes a courtesan in Venice.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
5671 posts

Dangerous Beauty is a fictionalized account of Veronica Franco's life.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6472 posts

It's fiction, but you might enjoy "In the Company of the Courtesan" by Sarah Dunant for a fascinating depiction of life in Venice in the sixteenth century.

Posted by Kathy
San Carlos, CA, USA
248 posts

Hi Cat. Try They may not have a courtesan tour per se but if you write to them and tell them want you want, they will make a"custom" tour for you.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1735 posts

I'd also suggest seeing if Context Venice could arrange something for you.

Posted by Kat
49 posts

I'm assuming you read "The Honest Courtesan : Veronica Franco, citizen and writer in sixteenth-century Venice" by Margaret F Rosenthal? You might also try "Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance" by Geogina Masson, or "Titian's 'Venus of Urbino'" by Rona Goffen, which deals with the titular painting and its possible portrayal of a courtesan.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
766 posts

I was also going to recommend either watching Dangerous Beauty, or reading the book it was based on. It's a historical fiction. I also did a quick Google search, and there is a tour company called Friend in Venice that does a "courtesan" tour.
Have fun!