Giulia Tofana, Morbid Entripeneur


Manage episode 281452561 series 2824029
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She was born around 1620 in Palermo and was possibly the daughter of Thofania d'Adamo, who was executed in Palermo on 12 July 1633, accused of having murdered her husband Francis. Tofana was described as beautiful, and she spent a lot of time with apothecaries, was present when they made their potions, and eventually developed her own poison, Aqua Tofana. It is, however, also possible that it was her mother, Thofania d'Adamo, who made the poison and passed the recipe on to her daughter. She began to sell this poison to women who wanted to escape abusive husbands. Her daughter, Girolama Spera, was also active in this. She eventually moved her business to Naples and Rome.

Giulia was sympathetic to the low status of women and most often sold her poison to women trapped in unhealthy and dangerous marriages. She became known as a friend to the troubled wife and received many referrals.

her business was finally revealed to the Papal cops by a customer. She escaped to a church, where she was granted sanctuary. When a rapid rumour, claiming that she had poisoned the water, tore through Rome, the police forced their way into the church and dragged Tofana in for questioning.

Under torture, she confessed to murdering 600 men with her poisons in Rome alone between 1633 and 1651, but this cannot be confirmed owing to the torture and the widespread distribution of the poison. She was ultimately executed in Rome, together with her daughter (Girolama Spera, known as "Astrologa della Lungara") and three helpers, in July 1659. After her death, her body was thrown over the wall of the church that had provided her with sanctuary. Some of the users and purveyors were also arrested and executed, while other accomplices were encased in the dungeons of the Palazzo Pucci.


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