- seeing and learning new things
- violence and war
- cheaters and cowards
Name: Elisabetta Maria Forgaria
Play by: Claudia Cardinale
Sexuality: What the customer wants
Bessina is of medium height, curvy, with deep brown eyes and chestnut hair, long up to the waist, styling it in various ways. Sometimes she has a sort of bun fixed with a net, or she might have plain tresses, rolled around her head somehow or let hanging on her shoulders. Sometimes she lets it loose. As a prostitute, she learnt to wash her hair with nut tea, in order to get reddish shades, but these don't last much. She likes less make-up than other girls in her trade, and her clothing is less skimpy than others’, even if the necklines are low-cut. Revealing enough, but still letting to the imagination, is her style.
Social and extroverted, Bessina enjoys large crowds, flirting, being admired and the center of attention. Men can see a spirited and graceful young woman who knows how to lure them and to please them. She can charm her way out of the stickiest of situations when needed. On the negative side, Bessina has a temper and a sharp tongue when somebody has crossed her, but her friends know her as loyal and reliable, always ready to please, to help, and her acquaintances are in a wide range of fields, so she always knows somebody who might be of help to one of her friends for a right price.
Since her life had experienced so radical turns and twists, Bessina likes to be in control of herself. Yes, she has to be a prostitute - at least for a while, as she thinks, hoping for a better future – but she learnt from the women around her both what to do and what not to do. She keeps away from liquor, as she had seen young lives destroyed by alcohol, and her Math skills are put to use making sure she won't acquire debt. Otherwise, she couldn't leave this city and brothel some day, as she wishes...
to get out of the brothel, rich enough to run a tavern, some day. Well, if not rich enough, at least witty enough to find a man with money as an associate for this.
Born in a village not far from Udine, in Friuli, the Northern province under the authority of the Serenissima Reppubblica di Venezia, to hardworking parents owning the village tavern. It had a few rooms to rent too, as it was on the travelling path from Austria and Ragusa. The business went well, locals and travelers of all kind came to the tavern, and the children liked to hear their stories about other cities or adventures. Unlike the local customs, even the girls learnt to read, write and calculate, because their father wanted them to know how a tavern is ran.
When Bessina was 16, a French adventurer who had spent a while in Ragusa and was going back home had been hurt in a squirmish with some bandits (as he had said) and he rented a room there. He stayed a few weeks, until the wound healed enough to allow him travel on horseback again. Meanwhile, he liked Bessina, he charmed her and convinced her to run away with him. It wasn’t too difficult, as he was her first love. She would have followed him anywhere, as she was promised a wedding and a happy life. Which young girl in love wouldn’t have believed her hero? Only that soon after the arrival to Venice, the love bliss ended in a pool of blood when he was killed by the same enemies who had followed him, as they hadn't been quite bandits, as he used to say. Her lover's death left her penniless in an unknown city, and the shame she had made to her family didn't allow her to return home, as she would have wished.
Bessina’s first intention was to remain there and work as a tavern maid, because this was what she had learnt to do in her parents’ tavern, and where else to go? She was good with calculating the bills, she had been the eldest and she had helped around since she was nine. However, the good times in her father’s inn, when she was respected as the owner’s daughter and nobody asked more from her than delivering promptly, with a smile, what was ordered, and a dance on festive evenings, were over. She had to learn a painful lesson – and after having been raped by a customer and she had tried to defend herself, she was kicked out.
For such girls there was only a way to keep a piece of bread on their table: working in a brothel. And the matrons had antennas up for finding young women who had no job and no place to go… At the "Convento Dolce", Bessina had to learn to become a rather skilled seductress. Her artistic talents were also cultivated, and she has been there for the latest 3 years.