Camilla Scarampa

Camilla Guidoboni Scarampa, or Scarampi, was an important literary figure of the 15th-century. She was held in great esteem by Matteo Bandello who dedicated his 13th Novelle to her. She is thought to have been born in Mantua or Milan of the family Scarampo Scarampi. (The blog photo in the header is not Camilla, but the style of dress would have been worn during her time.)

Very few details are known of her life. She married Ambrogio Guidoboni at the age of 18. She was also involved in literary society and from 1454 to 1500 she held her own academy of poetry and music. She was regarded as a highly artistic talent, so much so that after her death the poet Luca Valenziano published the poem Camilleo in her honor.

Luisa Bergalli liked her poetry so much that she translated and anthologized the following sonnet that speaks of Camilla’s firm determination to follow the path of wisdom and learning despite the criticism of the misogynistic crowd.

Let those who wish to blame me for my hardness

blame me, since I must follow my chaste mind,

which urges me to travel the right path,

making my spirit eager for the heights.


Let my youth flee, let old age come upon me,

I put my faith and hope only in virtue,

and for her sake my proud disdainful heart

despises what the blind crowd values most.


Nor do I care for anything but wisdom,

and for her sake my mind is so enkindled,

that every other things seems weak and frail.


Therefore I’ll follow my exalted aim,

for beauty lacking virtue has no worth:

let here be non to hinder my desire.


This is the page from the Novelle of Matteo Bandello:


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