Aim of this chapter is to investigate the phenomenon of the social construction of the "bad woman". During the twentieth century the Italian crime news is populated by dark ladies: infanticides, murderous lovers, witches and wives with a disquieting double life. From these criminal court cases emerged the image of an Italy in transformation, and they became an interesting historical source to investigate the progressive rise on the public scene of an unprecedented visibility of the female body, icon and allegory of the Nation. The essay highlights the continuity and discontinuity between these portraits of unknown women entered in the public arena through the particular channel of the crime news, pointing out the archetypes and the elements of currents that emerge from the narration of the tragic events in which they are the absolute protagonists.
Keywords: Dark ladies, female sexuality, female body, crime news Parole chiave: dark ladies, sessualità femminile, corpo femminile, cronaca nera