Habitual Offenders

A True Tale of Nuns, Prostitutes, and Murderers in 17th-Century Italy

Craig A. Monson, ­emeritus professor in music in Arts & Sciences, sifted through more than 4,000 pages of primary texts in order to tell the tale of two nuns who fled Bologna’s convent for reformed prostitutes in 1644. A search for the nuns went nowhere until their bodies were found a year later in the wine cellar of a ­Bolognese townhouse. The scandal touched priests, nobles, cardinals, a king and even the pope.

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