3 Pages


WithAdelina Modesti

One of the most significant aspects of Vittoria della Rovere’s patronage was her sustained support of women. The Grand Duchess’s deep faith and piety informed her strong sense of charity, which she administered to women, children and nuns in need or to young girls requiring dowries or an education. Vittoria’s cultural patronage saw her favour female cultural producers, artists and artisans, singers and musicians, poets and writers, whom she gathered around her at her court at Villa del Poggio Imperiale and through the establishment of the first female academy Le Assicurate. Linked to this was her important role in the education of the people, especially women, who came under her tutelage. Education was the means through which Vittoria’s ladies-in-waiting in particular were empowered and given the skills necessary to act and advance at court. She also fostered the education of her Tuscan subjects by helping found two female colleges, one for young noblewomen (Le Montalve) where she was Superior, and another for the instruction of poor girls (Il Conventino), the first of its kind in Florence. The constitutional guidelines of Le Montalve laid the foundation of subsequent female conservatories in Tuscany when they were adopted by the next generation of Habsburg-Lorraine Grand Dukes in the eighteenth century.