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GetCOO | Chiesa Santa Maria delle Zitelle

Chiesa Santa Maria delle Zitelle

The church of Santa Maria della Presentazione is better known as Le Zitelle, or The Spinsters, since the convent here ran a hospice (founded by a group of Venetian noblewomen in 1559) for 'beautiful girls' from poor families whose beauty was thought to put them in danger of falling into prostitution. A prevention regime, than, as opposed to the Convertite's concentration on helping already-fallen women. So poor young virgins were taken in and were trained in lace and music making. Some were as young as 12 when taken in, and were kept protected until they were 18, when they could choose between marriage or the nunnery.