Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Longevity - Bologna Style

Books of “Secrets” were popular in the Renaissance; mostly written by quacks and charlatans they contained everything from soup (food recipes) to nuts (the use of ground walnut shells to rid the body of parasites). They allowed the common herd to share the “secrets” of the Venetian cloth makers for scarlet die, the Borgia's poison antidote and a famous courtesan's formula for turning her hair blond. And of course many of them gave the formulas for eternal youth or longer life. In most cases most of the ingredients - ambergris, powdered silver etc - were beyond the pocket book of the average Joe or Joan.

But some of the "secrets" were yours for the simple cost of the pamphlet; such as this piece of advise given by an Anonymous writer in Bologna in 1617.

Mangia poco e bevi meno
Alla lussuria pono freno
Dormi in palco, e stà coperto
Lunga cura non ti pongo
Se vuoi havere tua vita longa

Eat little and drink less
Curb lust
Sleep on an upper floor and cover up
Don't subject yourself to long cures
If you want to have a long life
Il nuovo, vago e dilleterole giardino
The New, Lovely and Delightful Garden (of Secrets)
Bologna 1617

Sounds like pretty sage advise even today!

19 ottobre - Santi Giovanni de Brébeuf, Isacco Jogues e martiri canadesi


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, good advice is usually simple, isn't it? And I see that today is the feast day of the "martiri canadesi" Jean Brebeuf et al. Did you go to St. Peter's Square on Sunday for the conferring of sainthood on Brother Andre?

Willym said...

Debra: No I was planning to but it was such a circus that I thought I'd give it a pass. You had to be down to St Peter's by at least 0830, to fight for a seat in the VIP section - unlike the VVIPs who had assigned seats. Then sit for 2 hours before the mass and canonization. Little side note: Laurent's grandfather was the undertaker who embalmed Brother André.

Elizabeth said...

"Don't subject yourself to long cures." Perfect!