It is 1469 in Genoa and Simonetta Cattaneo is preparing to
meet her suitor for the second time. Dressed in her finest
gown of cream silk trimmed in Burano lace, her long
magnificent golden hair spills down to her waist. She is
absolutely gorgeous. Handsome Marco Vespucci, studying in
Venice, is from a wealthy Florentine family, and he is close
to the powerful Medici family. Marco is acquainted with
her father. Introduced to him at Mass, Simonetta thought he
was good looking but she was not overly impressed.
However, Marco thought she was the most beautiful woman he
had ever seen. He writes immediately to her father asking
permission to court her.
Simonetta received a rudimentary education in reading,
writing and numbers but convinced her tutor to allow her to
read the histories of great men like Caesar and Alexander
the Great and then went on to Poetry, which she loved. At
their meeting, Marco saw a copy of Dante and asked who was
reading it? She told him she was. When he recited from
Dante, Simonetta answered his chosen verse and Marco was
impressed. He told her she would be in high honor with the
Medici circle as she had "an abundance of beauty and
poetry", two things that was most prized within the Medici
group. Marco, returns to Florence to obtain his parents'
blessings and returns to make a serious and substantial
offer for her hand, accepted by her father. The couple is
now betrothed and to be married in Florence in several months.
Upon her arrival in Florence, Simonetta makes a very
positive impression in the glittering Medici circle that is
filled with politicians, artists, poets, and
philanthropists. Everyone is impressed by her great beauty
and intellect. Among the dignitaries, she meets there is
handsome painter Sandro Botticelli. There is a strong
attraction between them.. They continue to stare at each
other during the dinner. Simonetta has never seen a more
handsome man and it obvious she falls in love with him at
first sight. After dinner, Lorenzo Medici and his wife,
propose a toast to Simonetta and Marco and offer to host
their upcoming wedding at their private chapel with a
reception following at their country home.
After her marriage, Simonetta, recently proclaimed the most
beautiful woman in Florence is asked by Sandro Botticelli to
pose for him for a painting. This great artist and his muse
develop a passionate love affair. while he creates his
masterpiece, THE BIRTH OF VENUS.
Alyssa Palombo writes a delightful, historical romance about
the great painter, Botticelli. Filled with a lush and
sensual background in Florence, the author takes us on an
exciting and colorful journey. Hard to put down, I fell in
love with Sandro and Simonetta. Ms. Palombo tells a
compelling tale of a great love, art and the life in the
15th Century in Italy. I felt the passion in their
bittersweet and often sad relationship.
A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for
marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at
the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome
and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful
Medici family’s favored circle.
Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is
swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici's glittering
circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The
men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de'
Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is
educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more
desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance
with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her
heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly
proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for
him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place
in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and
desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy,
one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece,
The Birth of Venus.
Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in
Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the
artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.