Re. the date Huck mentioned - I'll read up that thread. Kaplan gives the date as simply 17th Century - I'm more than slightly out of touch with THF.
Chapter 8: Conclave.
On September 16th 1644:
Chapter 9, The Vicar of Christ.
Having counted the votes, the distinguished theologian Cardinal Juan de Lugo rose to his feet and said in a loud voice, "Benedictus Dominus Noster, habemus cardinalum Pamphili Pontifecum." Our Blessed Lord, we have Cardinal Pamphili as pope. (24)
Apalled at the choice of new pontiff, Cardinal Bichi raced back to his cell and fired off a letter to the court of France. "Gentlemen," he thundered, "we have just elected a female pope!" (25)
24: Strozzi, D'Innocenzo Decimo, vol.21, folio 59a.
25: Colville, p.31.
Chapter 11: Women in the Vatican.
But Giacinto Gigli wrote in his diary that evening, "When they heard that it was Pope Pamphilo, the crowd did not celebrate so much, because he was held to be a severe man, and not very liberal." Worse, he added, "It is believed that the widow called Olimpia, of the house of Maidalchini, will be the dominatrix of this pontificate." (3)
3: Ibid.p.432 (Gigli vol.2)
The author has found many quotes from ambassadors and churchmen regarding her influence - all interesting but too long to repeat here.
I like this from Pasquino (a statue on which the people of Rome used to post irreverent messages), in Italian rhyme:
Chapter 17: The Holy Jubilee year.
He who wishes a favor from the sovereign,
Bitter and long the road to the Vatican.
But the shrewd person
Runs to Donna Olimpia with full hands,
And there who wants attains it,
And the street is wider and shorter. (20)
20: Cavoli, p.101.
One morning, as the devout flocked to the Church of Saint John Lateran, they saw that the wall inscription INNOCENT X, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS had been partially covered with a banner that some enterprising soul had hung in the night. "Olimpia 1, Ponifex Maximus," it said. (12) Others started sprouting overnight in various churches, including "Olimpia, the first female pope." (13)
12: Ciampi, p.142.
13: Vassalli, p.159.
I'll try and find the reference to the medal later.