Researching Isabella Andreini, one of the first professional actresses in Renaissance Italy

It is a very fascinating work to read about the amazing, adventurous life of Isabella Canali Andreini (1562-1604) who is considered one of the first professional actresses in the Western world. Along with her husband Francesco Andreini, she was part of  the traveling troupe La Compagnia de’ Gelosi, one of the most famous in Europe. Her role was the noblewoman Isabella and she was known for her talent not only as a performer but also as a poet and writer. A truly Renaissance woman, particularly if you think that she had seven children and that she died miscarrying her eighth child while traveling back to Italy after performing at the Royal Court of France.

Inspired by her character, Pazzi Lazzi is writing an original work based of one of her most successful performances “La Pazzia di Isabella” which took place in 1589 in Florence in occasion of the wedding of Ferdinando I De’ Medici and Christine of Lorraine. It will debut in June 2017.


Isabella Andreini Commemoration Medal, 1604


From her collection of poems Rime, writing about her life on stage:

S’Alcun fia mai, che i versi miei negletti

Legga, non creda á questi finti ardori,

Che ne le Scene imaginati amori

Usa á trattar con non leali affetti

If ever there is anyone who reads/ these my neglected poems, don’t believe/in their feigned ardors; /loves imagined in their scenes /I’ve handled with false emotions


One thought on “Researching Isabella Andreini, one of the first professional actresses in Renaissance Italy

  1. Pingback: Another Carnevale with masks and skits | PAZZI LAZZI

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