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Episode 7: Aqua Tofana

Episode 6 - Aqua Tofana

Newly widowed women began to fill the streets of 17th century Rome. This prompted an investigation into their late husbands’ deaths that would uncover a legendary poison that struck fear in the hearts of abusive husbands everywhere. For over 350 years, the poison Aqua Tofana has been linked to the infamous Giulia Tofana, who confessed to killing over 600 men. But how much of this is actually true?


Barker, Sheila. “The Art of Poison.” The Florentine, September 4, 2008.

Bisset, Andrew. Essays on Historical Truth. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1871.

Carlton, Genevieve. “Meet The Woman Who Poisoned Makeup To Help Over 600 Women Murder Their Husbands.” Medium, March 2, 2018.

Cooper, Alexia, and Erica L Smith. “Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008 Annual Rates for 2009 and 2010.” U.S. Department of Justice, November 2011.

Dash, Mike. “Aqua Tofana: Slow-Poisoning and Husband-Killing in 17th Century Italy.” A Blast from the Past, April 6, 2015.

Elhassan, Khalid. “History’s Most Prolific and Deadly Female Poisoner Helped Women Get Rid of Their Husbands.” History Collection, April 18, 2019.

Hayes, A. Wallace, and Claire L Kruger, eds. Hayes’ Principles and Methods of Toxicology. 6th ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2014.

“La Leggenda Dell’Acqua Tofana e La Vera Storia Delle Donne Che La Crearono.” Fiore Avvelenato, December 15, 2019.

Mackay, Charles. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. 1. Vol. 1. London: Robson, Levey, and Franklyn, 1852.

McKennett, Hannah. “Meet Giulia Tofana: The 17th-Century Professional Poisoner Said To Have Killed 600 Men.” All That's Interesting, June 1, 2020.

Millar, Judy. “The Woman Whose ‘Cosmetics’ Poisoned Over 600 Unwanted Husbands.” History of Yesterday, August 25, 2020.

Monson, Craig A. The Black Widows of the Eternal City: The True Story of Rome’s Most Infamous Poisoners. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2020.

Zheng, Shannon. “This Woman’s Side Hustle Killed over 600 Abusive Husbands in 17th Century Italy.” The Tempest, September 4, 2020.

Music: Dellasera by Shane Ivers -

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