This essay will provide an insight into the lives of women in Italian society during the Renaissance by giving a summary of the subject couple--Giovanni and Lusanna, the cultural environment of this period and what impact this world had on women as well as the role women made in shaping their social status.
Giovanni di Ser Lodovico della Casa:(1420-1480) was one of the sons from the Della Casa--an upper echelon family of Florentine society. All of the family members were engaged in international trade and banking (referred to by the Church and those subjected to it as usury) and associated with the Medici, the richest and most powerful in Florence.
Lusanna Benedetto di Girolamo(1420-?) was the daughter of a successful immigrant tailor from Dalmatia (now the former Yugoslavia) first married the son of a baker, Andrea Nucci, himself another guildsman involved with the linen-cloth trade. Lusanna's father was above the artisan average regarding the success of his business so he was able to present Lusanna (his only daughter from his first marriage) with a dowry--this was the property that a bride brought with her to marriage.
A substantial dowry enhanced her attractiveness as a spouse, strengthened interfamily ties, and served as a financial base for the newlyweds. During the Florentine Renaissance, the husband managed his wife's dowry but did not own it outright (women had a degree of protection under the law).
The story of Giovanni and Lusanna focuses on Lusanna's bold attempt at bringing to the Florentine courts a suit against Giovanni for marrying another woman. Lusanna believed she was legally married to Giovanni(albeit) secretly. Lusanna was married to an artisan linen maker Andrea Nucci at the time Giovanni pursued her relentlessly eventually creating a love affair/romance. He even allegedly promised to marry Lusanna should her husband die...