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 favoured circle. Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici's glittering circleof 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 immortalisation in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.
In the grand tradition of Girl with a Pearl Earring, 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.
ALYSSA PALOMBO is the authorof The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence.She has published short fiction pieces in BlackLantern Magazine and The Great LakesReview. She is a recent graduate ofCanisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. Shelives in Buffalo, New York.