I’m glad you stopped by to visit my little niche on the web. This site showcases my endeavors in researching, publishing, and experimenting in the arts, lives, sciences, and philosophies of the historical Italian peninsula (Etruria, 1300-1600, 1790-1830). It also serves as a repository for my findings, travels, ideas, projects, and revelations. What good, really, would all my work be for if I keep the fruits to myself? Click here to go to the BLOG page.
Meet the Founder
I’m Gigi, a living history enthusiast and creator of La Bella Donna, an all-things-Italian historical blog. If you’re here, then you’re probably into history as well, right? In real life I am a social scientist, biologist, and environmental planner with an interdisciplinary Master’s degree. I’ve retired early after a successful career and I love the fact that my independent research allows me to geek out and find out all sorts of cool tidbits about people who lived throughout history. My research is cataloged on this blog for you to peruse and use. During the past few years I’ve gotten really obsessed with still room arts, you know, herbs, soaps, cosmetics, medicine, vinegars, and cordials. I wanted to better understand how a real 15th century Italian woman would mix and blend those raw materials together to create what we modernly go to the mall and visit Sephora, L’Occitane, or Ulta to buy. That led to my creating my own La Bella Donna Apothecary in the spirit of Caterina Sforza’s Gli Experimenti. I hope you enjoy perusing my site, learning about Italian history, and end up trying some of my favorite historical recipes. I have published two booklets you can find on Amazon https://fleurtyherald.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/books-by-giata-translation-of-gli-experimenti-and-zibaldone/.
Laureata in sociologia e silvicoltura, e con Laurea Magistrale in scienze ambientali, la mia grande passione è la rievocazione storica medievale e rinascimentale. Il periodo di cui mi occupo è la seconda metà del XIV secolo e il Cinquecento a Ferrara, Venezia, Mantova e Firenze. Mi interessano in particolare la cultura materiale, la storia delle donne, la storia della moda, soprattutto quella femminile, e la storia della alchimia. Amo sia il lavoro di ricerca su fonti iconografiche e documentarie sia cimentarmi in tentativi ricostruttivi, in particolare legati all’ambito dell’erboristeria.
Although I have a very real “life”, in my free time I am a member of a living history organization, an international non-profit, with members who research, practice, toil, and delight in taking a practice from ancient times and bringing it into the current millennium. I research how people thought, lived, created, and survived during the middle ages and we imitate them as best we can, albeit sometimes using modern conveniences. I plan public virtual events yearly to share my experiences and host other instructors via classes, competitions, and demonstrations.
My particular place and time of interest is the northern Italian peninsula during the Etruscan period (3rd-1st C BCE), the trecento (14th C), quattrocento (15th C), cinquecento (16th C), and the late Georgian/early Regency (1780-1820). I especially am enamored with Chiusi, Lazio, Ferrara, Florence, Mantua, Romagna, and the Veneto.
As a real life scientist and lover of history the idea of embarking on a journey to learn, know, understand, and ultimately have a deeper connection with those who came before me is intriguing. It, for me, is also fun. So, if you’re not the least bit interested just hit your back button and go from whence you came. If you are – stay a while. Imagine sitting with me in an historical Italian villa drinking some sweet fragolino wine and sampling fresh, buttery fruit tarts while we socialize as they would have in an historical intellectual salon.
My living history/SCA resume is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V2OkFo52Znlc-C2m0WtM_dFItQMfYKwR/view?usp=sharing
What is living history? Living History is a hobby combining elements of archeology, research, arts, crafts, martial skill (at times) – and of course, fun. It is finding out what it meant to be a merchant, a convict, a farmer, a soldier, or a person of means – this list is not restricted; and can be from any time and any location. It is an attempt to simulate, or reenact life in another time, and is a very tangible and visual interpretation of aspects of social heritage. It is a three-dimensional history lesson that is entertaining as well as educational; combining the art form of dramatic performance and the discipline of historic research, it is not a medium which accepts the mythology of the past. Widely used throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and North America as an integral form of historic interpretation, its promotion as a recognized method of preserving elements of our cultural heritage is a significant objective. (from the Queensland Living History Federation)
What is the SCA? The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international living history organization which focuses on the Middle Ages and Renaissance. People in the SCA use a psuedonym from a pre-1600 culture and attempt to recreate, to some extent, the appearance and skills of a person from the past. The SCA is organized into kingdoms, baronies, shires, and other small groups by geographic area. The SCA has no requirements for authenticity–according to the rules of the organization, “a reasonable attempt” at medieval costume is all that’s required for attendance. Among the participants in the SCA (approximately 100,000 worldwide) there are widely varying levels of knowledge and interest in medieval customs, craft, and culture.