A term used for the fanciful and esteemed ladies of Venice. They were the 'heads of the households' of the great well-to-do families. They were the wives of the most prosperous men in the city, the mothers of these men's children, and the clean chaste face of society. Or were they? At least that is how it was supposed to look. Given that Italian men were raised to be fearsome, quick-witted and jealous, they had to keep up an excellent facade. Once tired of what their wives had to offer them behind closed doors, they found new venues. But not without hell to pay, and many opted to solve their problem by hiring artists and teachers to keep their wives 'occupied'. Many of the portraits painted by these artists show women with the biggest flashing grins and most pink glowing skin ever seen. Plus the husbands were content, they got to choose the 'instructors' and knew without a doubt that their wives were in good hands while they were out making their rounds and completing their errands.