Francesca


Paolo and Francesca by Charles Edward Halle

Gender: Feminine

Origin: Latin

Meaning: “From France.”

Pronunciation: (frahn-CHES-kah)

Nicknames: Cesca, Cesi, Chess, Frankie

Detail: Francesca (and Paolo) were historical contemporaries of Dante Alighieri.

Francesca was blatantly tricked into marrying Gianciotto, who was disfigured and uncouth, when the handsome and elegant Paolo (Gianciotto’s brother) was sent in his brother’s place to settle the nuptial contract. Angered at finding herself wed the following day to Gianciotto, Francesca made no attempt to restrain her affections for Paolo and the two in fact soon became lovers. Informed of this liaison, Gianciotto one day caught them together in Francesca’s bedroom (unaware that Paolo got stuck in his attempt to escape down a ladder, she let Gianciotto in the room); when Gianciotto lunged at Paolo with a sword, Francesca stepped between the two men and was killed instead, much to the dismay of her husband, who then promptly finished off Paolo as well.

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