Simonetta Vespucci by Botticelli

Meaning: “He has heard”
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: see-moh-NET-tah
Origin: Italian
Other forms of the name: Simona, Simon.

Simonetta Vespucci or “La bella Simonetta” as she was called, was said to be the most beautiful woman in Florence and maybe of her age. She was the personification of the Renaissance with her flowing golden hair and nymph-like appearance. Simonetta was said the model for Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and was the object of his affections, though she did not return his. She was the Helen of Troy to Italy and had many paintings and poems written about her, one being “Simonetta as Cleopatra” for which she posed with an asp around her neck. Simonetta married at fifteen or sixteen to Marco Vespucci who was very much in love with her. She sadly died young at the age of twenty-two probably from pulmonary tuberculosis. The entire city was reported to have mourned her death and thousands followed her coffin to its resting place. Simonetta is an Italian diminutive of the name Simona, a feminization of the name Simon. In the 1950s in Italy this name was extremely popular, though later on in the 60s and 70s Simona was prefered.

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