Evening Class: A Feast in 1530s Correggio
Immerse yourself in the sounds, sights, and tastes of 1530s Correggio, Italy, at the court of poet Veronia Gambara in this unique class! You can travel back in time to rub shoulders with historical figures and discuss the arts and politics of the era. In an entirely candlelit hall, you will dine upon an exquisitely prepared and presented period feast and be served wine throughout the night. Music from the elegant ladies of Bella Donna Venetian Courtesans and others will fill the room during the meal, and dancing will be lead afterwards.
Amid the warring city-states of Italy, where Spain and France fought over territory, tiny Correggio was an island of peace and prosperity. Through her letters and poems, the widowed Lady Veronica made alliances with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V of Spain, as well as his antagonist, Francis I of France. She welcomed each of these great leaders in turn, and her court was visited by many artists, musicians, and scholars of the day. It was from this small, yet brilliant region that the painter Antonio Allegri took his name.
During this feast, you will learn about the Italian Renaissance by experiencing it first-hand. You'll be surrounded by people of the historical period, talking about the events of the era with you. Raise a glass, hear the music, enjoy the spirit of the age!
What to Expect
A herald will announce your entry into the hall, and the head steward will assist you in washing your hands and then guide you to your place at the table. You can mingle amongst the other guests, such as visiting Italian leaders and well-known artists, enjoying your hostess's fine wine and discussing politics, literature, and philosophy, and sharing witty aphorisms. Once seated, the lady of Correggio will formally greet the assembly, and the meal will begin. Musicians from England and singers from Venice will entertain you while servers deliver the main course to table and carvers deftly carve the food at your hostess's head table. Your servers will happily fill your wine glass, ask you how your journey was, or even deliver a private message to a handsome barone or fine viscontessa across the hall. After the main course, the sweet banquet course will be served on a sideboard as dancing is led. Feel free to play at dice or cards and socialize with the other guests until the candles burn low and the hostess thanks you for your company.
Please note that this feast is over and occurred on November 10, 2012. To see a few photos and video of the feast hall, please see our Flickr set.
Where and When the Class Is Set
1530s Italy was an interesting point in the Renaissance because many of the great artistic, literary, and scientific advances of the time had come to fruition. And yet the region was rocked with battles caused mostly by foreign invaders, and the Italian city-states lined up on different sides, changing allegiances and betraying each other. Italian nationalism was not to rise for several centuries, except in a few voices, often female, as in Veronica Gambara's poetry. Find out more about the setting for this class.
What to Wear
The aim of this class is to immerse everyone in 1530s Italy, so we encourage costumes that fit this theme. Take a look at this gallery of historical portraits for inspiration. Because Veronica Gambara wrote to and associated with leaders from most of the great nations of Europe in the 16th century, garb from the lands of Spain, France, Germany, and England would also be appropriate.
What to Bring
Since this is not a traditional SCA feast, you do not need typical feast gear. All you should bring is a period-appropriate cup (historical glassware is especially appropriate for Italy) and perhaps a small eating knife.
What We Will Eat
The proposed menu can be seen here.
Who to Play
If you would like to portray a historical figure, please take a look at this list of Veronica Gambara's contemporaries. Of course, you can simply come as yourself in the 16th century to learn more about the era and interact in a period fashion!