30. A Deadly Apple From a Deadly Tree
The historical record is remarkably silent about much of Giulia Tofana’s background. Relatively little is known of the woman’s childhood, her early upbringing and youth, or about much of her life, for that matter. She was said to have been exceptionally beautiful, just like her mother, Thofania d’Adamo, but there are no known surviving portraits of her.
What is known is that Tofana was born and grew up in Sicily, and was a case of an apple that did not fall from the tree. Her mother, an apothecary who made and sold perfumes, cosmetics, herbal medicines, and other concoctions, was executed in Palermo on July 12th, 1633, after she was convicted of murdering her husband, Francis d’Adamo. It is unknown whether the husband had been poisoned, but odds are that he had been. Tofana took after her mother in more ways than one, including a mastery of apothecaries, in which she had exhibited an interest since an early age.