In a dialogue drafted soon after the Sack of Rome (1527), Paolo Giovio details historical views of female dignity and assesses the beauty and talents of over 100 women in contemporary Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, and Rome. Unlike most such catalogues, Giovio’s seasons praise with explicit acknowledgment of physical, intellectual, and personal shortcomings. Yet it also celebrates Vittoria Colonna, who commissioned the work, as the ideal noblewoman. Giovio is unconventional in applying to this living woman a pattern of graphic physical description that Petrarch, Boccaccio, Bembo, and many others had followed in delineating fictional characters. This strategy exemplifies the latitude of representational possibilities that characterized Italian literature and art of the 1520s and 1530s. The dialogue also eloquently documents a crucial time in Colonna’s life when her verse commemoration of her husband coalesced with religious devotion, and when physical beauty could be seen to harmonize with other virtues to form a desirable and inspirational whole.