Name: Maria Rosa da Vola
Play by: Winona Ryder
Ria seems to take pride in her fabrics and wardrobe and thus always appears to be clad in the latest, most modern fashion - dressed down and humbled, befitting her station, yet showing off her skill and talent in simplicity.
For after all, who would trust a seamstress dressed in rags?
Despite her always impeccable garb, her well kept, long, wavey black hair, and her obvious care for her appearance the young woman seems neither vain, nor pompous. Her features are soft, though there a lines around her hazel eyes which would betray wisdom beyond her years.
Her hands and fingers are always marked in tiny cuts and scars - permanent brands of her profession. She is of average height and slim figure.
ia is an earnest woman that seems most at home and comfortable when it is all about clothes. She knows fabrics inside out, and knows how to combine the right colours with the right complexions to complement the wearers perfectly.
She is a perfectionist in her trade and never satisfied with a job not done well. In her work, one could also spot her tendencies to be overly organised, neat, cleaned up. Her workshop has no item out of place, needles and threads lined up, fabrics perfectly sorted. She seems obsessed with order in her domain.
Outwardly, she seems in full control of her life. Organised, well taken care of, steady, reliable. In general, she is known by the women of the Rialto Markets to be kind, caring, and helpful - but her past experiences taught her to be careful with her trust, and more careful with her affections particularly toward men and so, she seems aloof, icy and quickly evasive, or angry at men. Toward them, she behaves distanced, always polite, but reserved - she cannot stand injustice at the hand of men and quickly rises to defend a woman - none should have to go through what she had experienced.
After a violent, cold marriage she hopes never having to re-marry again; she also hopes that her seamstress business will take off enough to live without having to depend on her two mothers' (mother in law and grandmother) guidance and "generosity" (they mean well, but... well... 3 headstrong women in 1 household can only lead to disaster)
Maria Rosa da Vola was born and raised within the folds of Il Cannaregio. Her father had been a weaver, his mother a seamstress - from her, Ria learned her own trade, and learned it well. Her own mother had died when giving birth to her brother, when Ria had just barely been out of her swaddles. The young boy did not survive long after either. And so, Ria spent her childhood under the rough ministrations of a father who preferred to drink away the loss of his wife, and the harsh school of a seamstress saddled with raising a girl, coming up with a dowry they barely could afford.
Ria's greatest asset in her youth was that she grew into a beauty and took solace in the world of fabrics, design and their art. Her work soon became recognised, and her beauty drew a suitor early on. She was sixteen when her grandmother married her off into a merchant's family in San Polo. A small, but affluent merchant clan who was not after her dowry, but after her talent for creating tasteful, modern dresses they intended to sell to nobility. Their plan worked well and while Ria hated the whole marriage deal, she at least now lived better and more lavishly than she had ever before in her life "on the other side of status".
What did it matter, that her husband was a drunk and regularly beat and raped the young woman? She had failed to carry a single child to term and after almost a decade of harsh marriage, hiding her pain and self loathing by pouring them into her creations, fleeing into her work - it was as disorienting as it was a relief, when the man was found floating face down in the Canals of Venice.
At twenty five, she was a widow; heir to an affluent, beautiful dress workshop in San Polo, taking care of her mother-in-law and her grand-mother. She had pulled her grand-mother out of il Cannaregio after her father had died, and the old woman had no one left to care for her.
Having the two strong, constantly bickering elder women at home, whose sole common purpose seems to be to find another husband for Ria, the young seamstress escapes (yet again) into her work and can be found more often in the workshop and fabric markets than anywhere else.
Two years had been enough to involve and steady her in a life, not dependent on a man's ministrations - an achievement that made her proud and sent her a long way on the path of healing from past pains. It had also made her stubborn and headstrong - and not afraid to step in the way, or raise her voice against abuse