At the age of fifteen she fell in love with Pietro Bonaventuri, a young Florentine clerk in the firm of Salviati, and on 28 November 1563 escaped with him to Florence, where they were married. In 1564 she had a daughter named Virginia, or, according to other sources, Pellegrina. The Venetian government made every effort to have Bianca arrested and brought back but the Grand Duke Cosimo I intervened in her favour and she was left unmolested.
However, she did not get on well with her husband's family, who were very poor and made her do menial work, until at last her beauty attracted Grand Prince Francesco, son and heir apparent of the grand duke.
Women Beware Women tells the story of Bianca, a woman who escapes from her rich home to elope with the poor Pietro. Fearful and insecure, Pietro requires that his mother lock Bianca up while he is away. While locked up, the Duke of Florence spots Bianca in a window and attempts to woo her with the help of Livia, a widow. When Pietro returns he discovers that Biancha has been corrupted and no longer loves him because he lacks wealth and fortune. Busy putting together illegitimate relationships, Livia discovers that she is also able to love again and as a result, she seeks the love of bianca's husband.
However, Francesco, already married to Joanna of Austria, was attracted and seduced Bianca giving her jewels, money and other presents. Bianca's husband was given court employment, and consoled himself with other ladies. In 1572 he was murdered in the streets of Florence in consequence of some amorous intrigue, though it is possible that Bianca and Francesco were involved.
On the death of Cosimo in 1574 Francesco succeeded to the grand duchy; he now installed Bianca in a palace (now known as Palazzo di Bianca Cappello) close to his own and outraged his wife by flaunting his mistress before her. As Giovanna had borne Francesco only one son, Filippo (20 May 1577 – 29 March 1582) who died as a juvenile, and six daughters, of whom, only two lived to adulthood, Bianca was very anxious to present him with an heir, for otherwise her position would remain very insecure. In 1576 she gave birth to Don Antonio de' Medici (d. 1621), but he was not openly acknowledged as Francesco's heir until after Joanna's death, when the boy was about three years old.
Palazzo di Bianca de Bianca Capello
In 1578 Giovanna died; a few months later Francesco secretly married Bianca, and on 10 June 1579, the marriage was publicly announced. Two days later, on the 12 June, Bianca was crowned the Grand Duchess of Tuscany at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The Venetian government now put aside its resentment and was officially represented at the magnificent wedding festivities, for it saw in Bianca Cappello an instrument for cementing good relations with Tuscany. But the long expected heir failed to come, and Bianca realized that if her husband were to die before her she was lost, for his family, especially his brother Cardinal Ferdinand, hated her bitterly, as an adventuress and interloper.
Drama and tragedy in the lives of the Celebrities of Florence!
In October 1587, at the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, Francesco and Bianca died on the same day, possibly poisoned, or as some historians believe, from malarial fever. In 2006, forensic and toxicology experts at the University of Florence reported evidence of arsenic poisoning in a study published in the British Medical Journal, but in 2010 evidence of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria, was found in Francesco's remains.
The more we read the one of the best books from Thomas Middleton (1580 – July 1627) we realize he was an English Jacobean playwright and poet. Middleton stands with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson as among the most successful and prolific of playwrights who wrote their best plays during the Jacobean period. He was one of the few Renaissance dramatists to achieve equal success in comedy and tragedy. Also a prolific writer of masques and pageants, he remains one of the most noteworthy and distinctive of Jacobean dramatists.
Now here in Firenze visiting the Palazzo de Bianca Capello I can feel the love in the air of the streets of Firenze!