Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Odious Women Tour

An Odious Woman:  A female who does more than remain in the home to serve her family as cook and housekeeper.

I have already described the lives of several odious women, including Poppea (the ambitious wife of Nero whom he kicked to death while in a rage), Agrippina (the sexually exploitative mother of Nero whom he tried to kill several times before he succeeded), and the Sibyl (who uttered her oracles in dank trapezoidal fortifications).  Whenever I make a sharp left or drive down a one-way street, the lives of Neapolitan women seem to either jump out or hide in cavernous corners.  So I've decided to visit this region with a new bent -- finding the odious women who played a significant role in shaping Neapolitan history.  The tour includes:
  • Sophia Loren -- A native of Pozzuoli whose traumatic childhood provided grist for her sexy roles.
  • Eleonora -- Active in the literary salons of Naples during the 18th century, the Bourbons executed her for being a Jacobin.
  • Artemisia Gentileschi -- Raped at a young age by her father's friend, she was the only female Renaissance painter and spent many impecunious years in Naples.
  • Fiammetta -- The woman who caught the eye of Boccacio while in Naples.
  • Saint Restituta -- One of the North African martyrs, she was placed on a blazing boat and set to sail.  Nevertheless, she survived the grisly ordeal.
  • Santa Patricia -- A descendant of Constantine the Great, she is the patron saintess of Naples and her blood liquifies every Tuesday after the 9:30am mass at San Gregorio Armeno church.
  • The prostitutes of Pompeii -- From the brothel in Pompeii to the secret cabinet at the National Archeological Museum, who can forget that the sensuous culture of Italy stems back to these ladies?
  • The Paestum Women -- This ancient city holds the treasures not of one, but of many women.  Not only did the people of Paestum venerate two female goddesses, Hera and Athena, but the homes and markets here were once filled with the rich heterogeneity of women's images and experiences, including those of the hetaera or courtesans.
If you have any other women you'd like me to find in Naples, please post them in the comment section.  I will be tracing the histories of these women during these next few months.

La Cucina Napoletana:  What goes well with Odious women?  I say -- Neapolitan desserts.  During this tour, I will include the luscious desserts from this area.  Today, I keep it simple.  Neapolitans eat an abundance of fruits.  Watermelons abound throughout the month of August.  I've also often seen hanging kiwi gardens.

No recipe necessary.  Eat using plates, forks, and knives -- or not.


Laura said...

Sounds like fun, Barbara! I look forward to following along. Where did you see the hanging kiwi gardens? I would certainly be an odious woman (at least to the owner!) if I stumbled across one of those! :-)

Peter @ italyMONDO! said...

"Santa Patricia - A descendant of Constantine the Great, she is the patron saintess of Naples and her blood coagulates every Tuesday after the 9:30am mass at San Gregorio Armeno church."

...I did not know this! I'm going to have to dig deeper into your blog to see what you have written before I became a follower.

Also, I almost feel silly saying this, but you have a fantastic control of the English language. I actually had to look up impecunious and Odious!

Barbara Zaragoza said...

Laura -- I saw the hanging kiwi gardens at my friend's house in Rome as well as along the pedestrian road up to the Villa of Tiberius in Capri. (That's where the picture is from.)

And shhhh -- don't give up our secrets. :)

Peter -- I have yet to see the blood coagulate. I just keep hearing about it. I'm hoping someone will go one day and be a witness to the miracles that abound. :)

Context Travel said...

Intriguing post. Is this material preparation for a book? If so, I would love to read it.

Barbara Zaragoza said...

Thanks. A book would be a long ways away. :)