Friday, February 27, 2015

THE GRAND TOUR

In the middle of the seventeenth century, upper-middle-class Europeans began to set out on what was known as “the grand tour,” which was more of a rite of passage for young men than a tour. The young noblemen, who were mainly British, searched the continent of Europe for the pleasures that could be had far away from their austere lives in England. At first, they focused on Paris and later ventured farther afield to Venice, Rome, and finally Naples. 
They studied art and culture and spent time with professional women. Indeed, once the grand tour reached Naples, the number of women waiting to service the young travelers exploded. Many contracted venereal diseases there, which gave a new meaning to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s famous phrase: “to see Naples and die.” The grand tour gave rise to the first printed travel guides, as well as the profession of the tour guide who showed people around cultural and ancient sites.


Monday, February 9, 2015

THE CAPODIMONTE PORCELAIN

The origin of Capodimonte porcelain dates back to the early eighteenth century and geographically to the Kingdom of Naples. 
The father of Capodimonte porcelain is considered to be Charles of Bourbon. In 1738 he married Maria Amalia daughter of the King of Saxony, Augustus III of Poland and granddaughter of Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and founder of the first European hard paste porcelain factory in Meissen in 1710.
It was from this union that Charles' interest in porcelain production in Naples first sprang. His desire was to create a porcelain production of a quality comparable with the factory in Saxony, whose methods and ingredients were only known by the chemist Bottiger. Charles initially allocated a small building in the Royal Palace to be dedicated to porcelain production under the direction of Giovanni Caselli and the chemist Livio Ottavio Schepers, who had originally worked at the Neapolitan Mint.
In spite of many efforts, including those underhand, the formula for porcelain remained a mystery.






Wednesday, February 4, 2015

MOZZARELLA HISTORY

Mozzarella has a very ancient history and an uncertain origin. The history of this cheese is directly connected to the introduction of the buffalo in Campania, a region of south Italy, and some believe it was in the sixth century, whereas others say it was introduced in Italy by Hannibal. 
Talking about evidences of the past, there are some information provided by a historian of the “Chiesa Metropolitana di Capua”, Monsignor Alicandri. In one of his writings it is read that near the Monastery of Saint Lorenzo in Capua - it was twelfth century - monks offered to pilgrims a piece of bread and a mozza or provatura
The writing literally reads: “…one mozza or provatura with a little piece of bread was offered by monks of monastery of Saint Lorenzo in Capua as agnitionem dominii to the metropolitan church to which every year, because of an ancient tradition in occasion of the fourth fair of legations, a procession used to go to that Church…”. 
The term “mozzarella” is directly connected to the locution “mozza”, a term used to refer to provatura, that is provola, another typical cheese of Campania, as it was clearly written by Monsignor Alicandri.