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A lecture in Moscow about Venetian banquets in the 18th century

In 18th-century Venice, festivities and banquets were so sumptuous that nowadays we consider that period one of the liveliest epochs of Venetian culture. On November 26, thanks to an initiative of the Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow, Ekaterina Igošina, art historian and director of the scientific library of the A.S. Puškin State Fine Arts Museum will lecture on the subject during the fourth Week of Italian Cuisine in the World. In “Serenissima Venetia”, as Ekaterina Igošina will explain, there was no lack of reasons to celebrate: religious and secular holidays, noble weddings and the long-awaited birth of heirs to illustrious families, elections of Doges and receptions in honor of ambassadors and other high level guests. Every event was accompanied by luxurious banquets that could last anywhere from a few hours to an entire week. Generally speaking, the festivities were subject to a number of rules that determined the menu and the sequence of courses, the composition of the servers and the types of special entertainment that added to the delight. Though for wealthy Venetians the refined dishes of the festive ceremonies were practically routine, for the common folk, the abundance of food was a very special thing, and the most special and exciting of all was the wonderful week of Carnival.

It was not unusual for the people of Venice – rich or poor – to eat out. The city offered a wide variety of inns and taverns, but also street food in the form of itinerant stands that filled the alleyways along the canals with the aroma of their wares. During the lecture, Prof. Igošina will talk about the menus served at banquets in Palazzo Ducale, about the tradition of hospitality reserved for high-ranking guests of the Republic of Venice, about the foods that were served by the inns and taverns and what the street vendors had to offer. Perhaps the best of all must have been the treats that visitors and Venetians alike could only enjoy during Carnival.

Due to the limited number of seats available for physical attendance of the event, the lecture will be broadcast on YouTube and also made available on the Gastronomic Marathon playlist of the Italian Institute of Culture.