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Maddalena Campiglia
(13 aprile 1553 - 28 gennaio 1595) Italy

Maddalena Campiglia



Maddalena Campiglia was born in Vicenza, from the relationship between Polissena Verlato and Carlo Campiglia. Both nobles and widows, parents of two male sons, older than Maddalena, both regularized their marriage only in 1565. During his studies, the young Maddalena showed particular interest in literature, philosophy and music.

Fundamental to her formation was the attendance of the cultural society that met in the Vicenza province at the villa owned by her cousin Elena Sforza Gonzaga. Here he met Curzio Gonzaga, Marquis of Palazzolo, a poet and diplomat, a friend of literate and artist, and the custodian of the poet's confidence, to the point of being appointed by him in the will as curator of his writings.

Presumably, here, she met Dionysio da Colzè, her groom from 1576 to 1580, the year she separated and began to live alone. Their marriage - as a result of Maddalena's imposition - was a "white marriage", as can be deduced from the acts of separation from which it can be deduced also her lack of predisposition to maternity.

In that same year, she began her literary production, with writings of a religious character, in which, however, the nonconformist spirit was already perceived. According to the writer, virginity had to be lived not as a constraint but as an effective means of achieving female independence from the male gender. As the highest example of this principle, she indicates the Virgin Mary, who, according to her interesting reinterpretation, had voted spontaneously to chastity and for the greatness of her choice had been chosen by God.

Maddalena's most famous work was Flori, a tale inspired to Torquato Tasso's Aminta, which won the congratulations of the poet himself. Flori is a virgin nymph devoted to the cult of Diana, who grieves the death of her beloved friend Amaranta and is destined to fall in love with the first man she meets. Although in love with the shepherd who the nymph meets, she accepts only a chaste marriage.

In addition to the theme of virginity, this work introduces a delicate theme, love between women. The woman loved by Flori is Calisa, behind whose name is the one Isabella Pallavicini Lupi, marquise of Soragna, protectress of Maddalena and recipient of Flori and many other sonnets.

Maddalena Campiglia died in Vicenza, following a long illness that deprived her of sight. In recent years, the poetess had approached the monastic environments and in the testamentary dispositions expressed the unusual will, which was respected, to be buried in the same tomb of the abbess Giulia Cisotta, at the church of Santa Maria d'Araceli in Vicenza.


Note: Maddalena Campiglia, portrait by Alessandro Maganza, oil on canvas, Musei Civici of Vicenza

Source: Wikipedia, the free enciclopedia

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