Born in Pizzano, near Bologna, but having lived mostly in France, Christine de Pizan may have been - during the transition from the 14th to the 15th century - the first professional woman intellectual. Her life - starting with the extraordinary educational opportunities she enjoyed thanks to her father, a renowned physician and astrologer - was quite uncommon for her era. Widowed and with no assets to her name, her education allowed her to become a writer of acclaimed texts that she herself produced and had illustrated: a sort of ante litteram publisher. She wrote of history, heraldry, poetry, peace, war, providence but above all she was a fierce and effective critic of prejudice against women, as shown by her most famous work, "The Book of the City of Ladies". Her writings and her life were proof, in a deeply misogynistic age, that women were in no way inferior to men. The portrait offered by this book shows how Christine managed to conquer her place in history.
Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli teaches Medieval History, History of Cities, and History of Customs and Fashion at the University of Bologna.