Pierfrancesco Giustolo, born in 1440, was a famous humanist Spoleto for years in the service of Cesare Borgia. Fond of good food, between a diplomatic negotiation and the other he also found time to write the De Croci Cultu, a little poem on Saffron, in which, speaking of his land, he remembered proudly: “and of truffles abounds/that often with the veracious Grifo/digs The holy not rare offspring.
Saffron and truffles were the food jewels that the cities of Umbria offered as welcome gifts in the complex diplomatic skirmishes among the lords of the Renaissance, when the assassination was legalized even at the table and were necessary tasters By profession and then appreciate, with due calmness, the pleasures of food. In the absence of poison, in the face of so much abundance, there was also the risk of dying of indigestion. It is said that Lucrezia Borgia, Lady of Spoleto and Foligno, who stayed in Umbria for at least three years, particularly loved the truffles also for the known aphrodisiac virtues of which we will speak shortly in a dedicated article. The story reminds you of her as an irresistible seductress. He died less than 40 years after eight parts and a life full of twists and turns. But his passion for the precious tubers helped to nourish the erotic legend of the noble mushroom Hypogeum. The subjects Spoletini welcomed her in the armed Rocca of Albornoz with a memorable lunch, of 14 courses almost all made from truffles. And so, for the rich of the time, the truffle quickly became a true “status symbol”.
Let’s see who this woman was capable of dictating tastes, costumes and styles of her time. Between reality and legend, the figure of Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most fascinating that the Renaissance has left us. The only female daughter of Rodrigo Borgia and the lover Vannozza Cattanei, was immediately attracted by luxury, “easy” life, of the contempt of court, attitude reinforced by his father Rodrigo, a man who loved to spend his days between parties and Banquets, under the banner of excess and vice. Unlike his siblings, he was educated at the court’s refined milieu, raised as a damsel of a certain rank, to aspire to a convenient marriage. Fourteen year old, we find it depicted by Pinturicchio as St. Catherine of Alexandria, in the dispute of the saint with the philosophers, under the watchful gaze of his brother Juan dressed in the oriental on the back of a horse. But Lucretia will be far from it, will not disdain to witness the parades of excesses of his father and his brother Caesar, to enjoy the obscene shows of their lives with “red lights” and will not be scrupulously to kiss publicly Caesar. He will love the uncut clothes and approach the faithful love of his wife, the intense and fleeting lover.
Yet Lucretia loved. He loved it in a vulnerable and very sweet way of a woman. He also loved with cruelty, often also using violence against the lovers of his men. Despite the bold and confident attitude, Lucretia was a fragile, vulnerable woman, often forced to undergo the destinies that the men of her life imposed on her. She was a woman who wanted to love and to feel reciprocated. His whole life had as a frame parties, dances and celebrations that went on for months as in the case of his third marriage, this time with Alfonso d’Este. The Burcardo says: “A banquet to which fifty Meretricians are taking part, those called courtesans. Finished dining here are the courtesans dancing with the servants and other people who are there; From the beginning dressed, then naked. Always after dinner the Candelabra are laid on the ground with lighted candles that illuminate the table; Where chestnuts are scattered that the meretricians, nude, collect crawling between the candelabra on the hands. Everything in the presence and under the gaze of the pope, the Duke and his sister Lucretia».
Lust, Perversion, vice, voracity of feelings, but often also deep solitude. Lucretia’s life was marked by this continuous oxymoron. And if the painter Hieronymus Bosch has depicted lust as a harp forgotten by lovers, in the center of the scene, it is so that we seem to imagine Lucretia in the last years of his life, an end in which the woman tried perhaps to refresh herself from the delirium of youth. A life devoted to religious meditation and penance, a lock in his cocoon in search of anything else that was far from earthly fugacity. “They are of God forever ” would be Lucretia’s last words. And his legend is delivered to history.