Orsini, Belleza (d. 1528)

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Orsini, Belleza (d. 1528)

Italian condemned to death for sorcery. Died in 1528.

The meager information about Belleza Orsini's life comes from the trial documents of the court in Fiano, where she was called to defend herself, with no success, against the charge of sorcery. A semi-educated 60-year-old, widowed at a young age, she practiced general medicine and phytotherapy and perhaps procured abortions, reaping the mistrust and hate of the little rural community of Collevecchio. Like thousands of women charged with sorcery and condemned to the stake, a proud Orsini committed suicide instead in 1528, after having confessed to never-done infamies in the vain attempt to save her life.


Craveri, M. Sante e streghe: Biografie e documentidal XIV al XVII secolo. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1981.

Processo per stregoneria di Bellezza Orsini da Collevecchio, c. 1528, Archives in Fiano Romano, registered by A. Bertolotti in "Rivista Europea." Vol. XXXII, no. VI, 1883.

suggested reading:

Tozzi, Ileana. Bellezza Orsini, cronaca di un processo per stregonieria. Pescara: Nova Italica, 1990.

Ileana Tozzi , D.Litt., and member of Società Italiana delle Storiche and Deputazione di Storia Patria, Rieti, Italy