Eating the Renaissance: Food Culture in Early-Modern Tuscany with Alessandra Becucci

Eating the Renaissance: Food Culture in Early-Modern Tuscany with Alessandra Becucci


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Italy’s culinary tradition is renowned all over the world and this tradition goes back for centuries. Discover the ancient origin of some of the most famous Italian foods, how they made history, and how they are represented in painting with a local Florentine expert and art historian.

Eating is an important part of everyday Italian life and culture, with deep-seated roots in ancient Roman times. Since the late Middle Ages, food in Italy had to be both good, but also beautifully presented, both in common houses and princely households. It was used to celebrate important occasions, to show status, to impress distinguished visitors, and to seal alliances. We’ll learn how Tuscan cities developed important culinary traditions that are still today an important expression of the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Our seminar will move from discussing Medieval eating habits and their connections with the seasonal and religious festivities to considering how geographical boundaries and political fights shaped Tuscan cooking. By looking at the well-documented table settings of prominent Renaissance Florentines’ marriages, we’ll discuss the role that food had in expressing magnificence and informing diplomatic practices for families like the Medici and their peers between the 1400s and the 1700s. Looking at the marriage of Caterina de Medici and Henry II of France, food can be considered as a means for important cultural transfers and crucial in the shaping of the Italianate style in Europe. We’ll finish our seminar with a discussion on the changing habits in regards to eating during this era, mainly due to the arrival of new foods on Florentine tables, such as coffee and chocolate.

From onion soup to Florentine steak, from the invention of ice-cream to the cultivation of Chianti vineyards, discover with Florentine art historian and foodie Alessandra Becucci why food is such an important part of Italian life. This is a fitting conversation for anyone with an interest in Italian cuisine, coupled with a good dose of Italian painting.

Born and raised in Florence, Alessandra has a degree in art history from the University of Florence with a specialization in seventeenth-century painting. She obtained an MRes from the European University Institute in Florence, where she defended her Ph.D in history, focusing on the patronage of Tuscan nobility in Europe during the seventeenth century. She has been teaching art history and Italian for several years in various schools and institutions in Florence.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
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J
J.
Charming, Informative, Thoughtful
M
M.F.
Exactly as advertised
M
M.H.
Consistently high quality
A
A.
J
J.P.
Fascinating lecture with great visuals

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
75%
(6)
13%
(1)
13%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.
Charming, Informative, Thoughtful
M
M.F.
Exactly as advertised
M
M.H.
Consistently high quality
A
A.
J
J.P.
Fascinating lecture with great visuals