CUT THE RIBBON: VIRGINIA OLDOINI, LA CASTIGLIONE

Posted on October 30, 2012 by admin

La Divine Comtesse! Long, wavy blonde hair, pale skin, delicate oval face, green and violet eyes. The Countess was known for her beauty and her flamboyant entrances with elaborate dresses at the French imperial court. Virginia Oldoini, (Queen of Hearts), Countess of Castiglione, better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian aristocrat who was sent by cousin Count of Cavour  on the very first mission to the French court of Napoleon III to plead with the emperor the Franco-Piedmontese alliance. La Castiglione’s skills and charm, prevailed over politics and surely made her a first ribbon cutter in many ways; maybe  embarrassing but useful for to Italian politics. The large presence of her seductive institutional cause, gave the expected results:in her luxuriously house in Paris, she was a ‘mondanissima’ and  official mistress of the Emperor Napoleon III, arousing envy, great scandal and the fury of the catholic Empress Eugenie. It was even said that the rivalry came to the point that, having been the emperor target of an attack in the house of the Countess in Rue Montaigne, everything had been orchestrated by the Empress itself to damage the opponent. The Countess significant  power, being aware of her beauty, ambition and intelligence made her a sharp shooter and rigorous instructions follower, considering her plead to the cause of Italian unity with Napoleon III of France. Her achieved notoriety and scandal led her Italian husband to demand a marital separation. The Countess returned to Italy in 1857 when her affair with Napoleon III was over. Four years later, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, conceivably in part due to the influence that the Countess had exerted on France.  In her declining years, La Castiglione would spend her days in her Parisian apartment in Place Vendôme, where she had the rooms decorated in funereal black, the blinds kept drawn, and mirrors banished.  

She is buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. .