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About This Website and the Author

The current version of this website is the...oh...third or fourth ...version of it that I have created, and it grows bigger every time. It was started back on August 23, 2001. About nine months prior to this date, when I first began researching, there was precious little information online about sixteenth century Italian fashion, and nothing at all on Venetian, so the website began as a means by which to share information I'd been gathering and theories I'd been exploring on sixteenth century Venetian women's fashion with others of like mind. Since then it has morphed into something much more with the launch of The Italian Showcase. To put it colloquially, I'm pimpin' Italian Ren fashion. :-)

 At the time this website was begun it was purely dedicated to sixteenth century Venetian women's fashion. Why? Because I needed a persona for my blossoming involvement with the Society for Creative Anachronism. Since my interests include Venice, Venetian courtesans, and the sixteenth century, and because the fashions of 16thC Venice made my heart stop,  I decided on a Venetian courtesan persona (much more fun to research than the secluded wives, daughters and nuns!). I'm still not entirely sure if I chose the persona first, and the costume followed, or if it was the other way around. 

Of all the SCA-related things I am interested in learning, or have given a try, costuming is the ultimate! I am keen to learn/try out any of the many skills involved in costume: embroidery, lace-making, shoe-making, knitting hose (stockings), making headwear, etc.  Having said this, I'm not comfortable calling myself a costumer - I am a researcher who happens to occasionally want to make something from the results of my research. I have seen costume of much higher standard than mine, and there are so many people whose talent and industry make them so much more worthy of the job description! 

Yes, I am unashamedly a one-trick pony when it comes to my SCA costuming. It is because 16th century Venetian is my first and only true costuming love that I originally named my website "The Realm of Venus". Because I have begun to include other  Italian 16th century fashion, as well as men's fashion, when I needed to come up with the domain name for my new website I decided to go for the more inclusive 'RenaissanceItaly.net'. You will now find that the gallery of my own costuming efforts and my dress diaries here on the main domain, separated from the research. However, I have kept the by now widely known title 'The Realm of Venus' for the costuming research part of my website as a sub-domain so that it is still easy to find and the URL is almost identical to the previous one. And after all, beauty and luxury in clothing IS the Realm of Venus.


About 16th Century Venetian Fashion

For many years Venus, born of the sea, Goddess of Love and Beauty, held a special place in the hearts of Venetians. Venice, the jewel of the Adriatic, was known as "La Serenissima"...the most serene one. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was, as it still is today, an icon of beauty, romance, art and life. The women of Venice - courtly ladies and courtesans - reflected all this in their lavish and sumptuous, but always elegant, clothing. At a time when the rest of Italy fell prey to attack and domination from without and turmoil within, Venice remained independent, proud and beautiful.

The variations in Venetian style from the late fifteenth century to the end of the sixteenth are numerous, but the outstanding qualities of Venetian gowns were femininity, elegant simplicity, and sex appeal. Want an off-the-shoulder look?. A low-cut neckline? To wear pearls around your neck, down to your waist and in your hair? To wear luscious velvets? To be able to embroider or embellish a little, but not too much most of the time. Or to go all out with jewel-encrusted gowns and standing ruffs at other times? To carry a feather or flag fan? To be able to wear fur-lined coats or cloaks? Look no further...Venetian is it!

Some Useless Information

  • I taught myself to use Frontpage '97 to create the first version of the website back in 2001

  • I am STILL using an outdated web authoring program - Frontpage 2000

  • I can write html, but WYSIWYG web authoring programs make things SO MUCH easier, so why would I bother?

  • I have always used MS Image Composer to create the graphics I use on the website because...

  • I don't own a copy of Photoshop

  • I do all the work on the website by myself, and always have. It's a true labour of love, which like all labour sometimes gets tedious and takes up way too much time. I sincerely hope I can continue to learn newer, better, speedier ways of updating this site.




2001 - 2013 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.