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The magnificent banquets for the wedding of Annibale II Bentivoglio and Lucrezia d’Este
By Andrea Maraschi
Published Online (2014)
Introduction: In his Della historia di Bologna (XVIthcentury), the agostinian friar Cherubino Ghirardacci shows that wedding celebrations, in the past, focused on roast meat, spectacular dishes and exquisite culinary ruses rather than on a solemn religious function and a priest to bless the couple. This doesn’t mean that the Church did not have any role during the entire process, but just that the basic moment of a wedding feast, as it had been for many centuries till then, was essentially the banquet: convivium is the latin for “living together”, sharing and, more important in the context of marriage, witnessing.
Cherubino tells that in 1487 the people of Bologna was ready to hail Lucrezia d’Este and to celebrate her wedding with Annibale II Bentivoglio. This important event would finally seal an alliance between two of the more powerful families of the time. The entire city had changed its clothes in honour of the nuptials: Giovanni Bentivoglio, father of Annibale and lord of Bologna, ordained that all the streets should be adorned and even commanded to destroy some houses in front of his palace to broaden the opposite square and make space for the celebration. He housed some of his numerous guests in his own court, others in noble’s residences. Everything is set…the party is going to begin soon. Food is going to become the unquestioned protagonist.
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