Italy Magazine tells us that at the courts of Italy’s most powerful families of the Renaissance, as well as the
Vatican, hosting sumptuous banquets was a major pastime, used especially as a demonstration of power and wealth. Skilled chefs were in high demand. Two of the most famous from the Renaissance, Bartolomeo Scappi and Cristoforo di Messisbugo, worked respectively for the popes in Rome and for the Este court in Ferrara.
Scappi started his career working for various cardinals, until he was hired to be the chef of the Vatican under Pope Pius IV and V. In 1570, toward the end of his career, he published a monumental cookbook, Opera dell'arte del cucinare, which listed 1,000 recipes of Renaissance cuisine; in it, he also described cooking techniques and tools and how to choose ingredients; he was the first to introduce ingredients coming from newly discovered America. In the book is the first depiction of a fork. Scappi wrote that Parmigiano Reggiano was the best cheese in the world (“il Parmigiano è il migliore di tutti i cacii”). Including numerous recipes of pasta, stuffed pasta, cakes and other pastry-based preparations, his book is a precursor of what would become modern Italian cuisine.
Ferrara-born Cristoforo di Messisbugo was a chef at the court of the Este, but his fame soon went beyond the city; he was often invited to Mantua, at the court of the Gonzaga, for consulting, while emperor Charles V, fascinated by his craftsmanship, nominated him a ‘count’. Cristoforo also wrote a cookbook, Banchetti, composizioni di vivande e apparecchio generale, where he described in great detail how to create the perfect banquet and the menus for his official feast at the Este court. Some of his recipes are still made in Ferrara today. Besides listing recipes, he also discusses logistics, decor, and cooking equipment. In the book, we also learn that the best caviar could be eaten at the court of the Este as it came from the Beluga sturgeon from the Po river, which flows near Ferrara.
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Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.