Foreign rights sold: Hungary (Jelenkor); Spain (Anagrama)
Giovanni Briccio is a plebeian genius, opposed by the literati and ignored by the court: he is a mattress-maker, a painter of scant fame, a popular playwright, actor and poet. He has a daughter, Plautilla. Briccio wants to make her the total artist he has failed to become and teaches her about painting, mathematics, science. Plautilla, however, is doubly disadvantaged as a female and of humble origins. She struggles in Rome’s artistic circles, dominated by the genius of Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, and conditioned by the patronage of the Barberini family. Her father’s overbearing presence forces her to sacrifice her youth. But the meeting with Elpidio Benedetti, a young aspiring writer, will eventually change her life. Plautilla Bricci and Elpidio Benedetti, both apparently unarmed due to the dangers of the court, will become the most extravagant couple of seventeenth- century Rome. She a virgin, he an abbot, both of them held to chastity to safeguard the only treasure they possess. They must hide and officially ignore each other for twenty-five years, until they can embark on an enterprise that crowns the dream of a lifetime: the construction of a Villa designed, planned and executed by the woman.