Name: Antonia Saxida Vidal
Play by: Kathleen Turner
With the blue eyes and dark honey-blonde hair showing her father's Slavic and German ancestry
mix, Antonia is of average height and has a fair complexion. She has curves in the right places, and a healthy figure. Working in the printing shop for a lifetime helped her muscles develop. Her voice is deep, a bit hoarse, and her rather modest clothes show her status of a lower middle class woman. Three years after losing her husband, she doesn't wear anymore mourning clothes, but hers aren't brightly coloured either.
One would say there are two different people inside Antonia; the friendly, outgoing person she seems on outside is actually only a façade meant to hide deeply shyness and insecurity which are mainly reflected in her poems, stories and tales. If she is invited to a social function, she is watching the others in a corner, then putting her impressions into the stories she is writing. In the world she is creating, there is no injustice, no absurd laws which keep people apart, everything is pink and lacy – but this exactly in order to differentiate it from the sordid mundane reality. She doesn’t live all her life in the world she is creating, though. She struggles to live in the given present time, and life is easier for an ambitious woman when having her father's full support, but it is not as easy as one would wish. Running the printing house in the name of an ill father, plagued by respiratory and rheumatic problems, is a challenge she generally enjoys, however not every day. Anrtonia is earnest, stubborn, hardworking, ambitious and has a well-rounded education, speaking, besides the native languages of both her parents, Florentine, Spanish and French, and reading in Latin. She is also a devout Catholic, her religiousity increasing since she had lost her husband.
-to keep the printing house profitable
- to publish some of her writings.
The only surviving child of Anton Saxida, a printer born in Piran
, part of the Venetian colony of Istria, and of his wife Pencina, descended from a known family of the Venetian printers guild
, Antonia saw the light in Venice, in the year 1768. Living above the printing shop, she had spent most of her life in the shop. There she had learnt the letters, when young, taught by her parents, then she learnt to love the written word in all its forms.
Her mother died when she was 8, giving birth to another child who didn't survive. Her father focused on his profession, not interested in marrying again. The housemaid became his mistress, and together they had raised little Antonia. Master Anton taught her everything about his job, by the side of his apprentices, as the girl took seriously her role of a sole heir, wanting to know as much as possible about the printing job and about the weekly avvisi
and the books his father used to print regularly, besides occasional orders of broadside ballads, invitations to big social events and other such things.
She benefitted from a well-educated father's belief that his only daughter should receive an education as long as she was willing to learn. She was first tutored by him, then she read a lot by herself, the library becoming her friend. Following in the footprints of Lucrezia Marinella Vacca
and Elisabetta Caminer Turra’s
, she began writing early on and she started getting involved not only in printing the gazzete
which, at that time, were a nice perk of a printing shop's dedication. This didn't mean, of course, that her name appeared anywhere. She was just one of the shadows making them happen…
At 17, she got married to Simon Vidal, her father's apprentice. It was a love-based marriage, fully approved by her father, who thought he would pass along the printing shop to his son-in-law and their male descendants. Her marriage hadn't changed anything – she was living in the same room of the same house, doing the same things she had done before, and the housework was still done by the same housemaid who was for her a mother figure. Just that the fate didn't want old Master Anton to have his printing shop run by a man, and after a few days' suffering, Simon Vidal died, leaving her a widow at the fresh age of 20.
Aftera few months of accute grief, she had to accept the widowhood and go on with her life – which meant, keep writing and keep involved more and more in the printing shop's operation, given that her father got sicker in time. The printing shop has a couple of apprentices and some collaborators for the writing of the gazzete
, so a part of the work is shared, she is not working harder than she can resist.