Oglio Imperiale – Imperial Oil from Alexis of Piedmont’s Book of Secrets

In 1555 Dei Secreti del Reverendo Don Alessio Piemontese was published in Bologna. In 1558 an English translation of that Italian book of secrets was published (and is now available online in digitized form). This book was wildly popular, translated into several language in the first few years of existence and then published in more … More Oglio Imperiale – Imperial Oil from Alexis of Piedmont’s Book of Secrets

Caterina Sforza – The Alchemist

“THE ALCHEMIST’S DESIRE”: RECIPES FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY FROM CATERINA SFORZA 03/03/2015 By Meredith K. Ray  In this blog post, I’m presenting material from my forthcoming book Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). The material in this post is drawn from Chapter One, “Caterina Sforza’s Experiments with Alchemy,” and Chapter Three, … More Caterina Sforza – The Alchemist

Libri di Secreti (Italian Books of Secrets)

‘Books of Secrets’ (Libri di Secreti or, more generically, ricettari) first flourished during the middle ages. They were technical, crafts-based ‘how-to-do it’ manuals, ‘secret’ because they were written in Latin and available only to the privileged few. With the advent of the printing press, vernacular editions started to appear—the first in Italian was the Opera … More Libri di Secreti (Italian Books of Secrets)

Italian Lunch Feast Menu & Gulf Wars XXIV Schedule

Menu for our period lunch feast next Friday at Gulf Wars (click here to donate and reserve your space!): Primo servito di Credenza – First service from the side board Insalate di cetriolo – cucumber salad Salciccione cott’in vino – pork sausage poached in wine Duck breast prosciutto Bread and butter Primo et ultimo servito … More Italian Lunch Feast Menu & Gulf Wars XXIV Schedule

Aromatario del Giglio – The Apothecary of the Lily – Winter Line

This is the Aromatario del Giglio (Apothecary of the Lily), an extension of the La Bella Donna living history blog. I am Gigi, an herbalist and living history participant who loves to indulge herself in historical cosmetic and apothecary products made from authentic recipes of the medieval and renaissance time periods. Let me share my … More Aromatario del Giglio – The Apothecary of the Lily – Winter Line

Isabella Cortese’s Book of Secrets and the Biblioteca Marciana

While conducting research in Venice on the Italian Books of Secrets by the alchemist Isabella Cortese I had occasion to visit the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (National Library of St Mark’s) in Venice. It is in a beautiful building that was designed by Jacopo Sansovino in 1536. The biblioteca itself was constructed from 1537 to 1553, with frescoes and ancillary … More Isabella Cortese’s Book of Secrets and the Biblioteca Marciana