Two main alternative paths structured the lives of women in early modern Italy:
marriage and the convent. Historians have analysed the disciplinary and economic functions, and the
legal, religious and symbolic meaning of these paths, from a variety of perspectives. However, studies
of marriage and the convent have mainly developed as two separate fields of historical research. My
article reviews these two series of studies in the context of the historiography of early modern Italy, and
suggests some of the possible connections between them.