The Italian was raised in a household full of medicines and apothecaries, which prompted her to invent the poisonous water known as tofana, which even Mozart suspected he had consumed.
Giulia Tofana | Photo: Medium
Having grown up in an apothecary-filled neighborhood, Giulia Tofana had no idea her legacy would endure till the present day. She was born in 1620 and had to see his mother die when he was just 13. The viceroy of Naples, Fernando Afán Enriquez, found her guilty of the murder of her husband and sentenced her to death.
It changed her for good. Her mother was convicted after the evidence led to her being found. In this way, the young Giulia would look for a new way to kill and get away with it. From a very young age, she knew how hard it was for women to live in a world where men were in charge and sometimes mistreated and ignored their wives.
Becoming A Legend
Arrest and conviction
Authorities were able to track down the murder weapon after a remorseful client betrayed Giulia. The guilt-ridden client was rueful of murdering her husband. Then, Giulia took sanctuary in a church.
The woman was well-liked in Rome, therefore she was able to escape going to trial. When word got out that she’d tainted Rome’s ancient water supply, the police forced their way inside the church and arrested Giulia.
Because of the horrific torture she endured, she eventually confessed to the murder of more than 600 men between 1633 and 1651. Since she had only focused on the selling of tofana water, she had no way of knowing the numbers.
Giulia, her daughter Girolama, and three of her accomplices were hanged in the Campo de’ Fiori in July 1659 to bring an end to the disastrous venture. Despite this, the drink was still being sold for years, scaring men who felt sick.
“Someone gave me tofana water and calculated the exact timing of my death.”
Giulia Tofana is not your average serial murderer. On one hand, they didn’t just make poison. It offered many items and services that others couldn’t. She didn’t even kill them but sold the poison so others could. After all, she catered to unhappy women wanting to flee violent relationships, and most of her customers were mistreated housewives from the working class and poor. Women had few alternatives in 17th century Italy. Other alternatives were sex labor, nunhood, and maidhood. Marriage was one among those alternatives, and it was frequently artificial and devoid of passion.