Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

The BERLINGACCIO

... or the feast of the senses

Berlingaccio is how it is called in Florence the Fat Thursday, the name probably comes from berlengo, "dining table or gaming table".

In Venice is known as the day for the "giovedí della caccia" (Hunting Thursday), when the bull is hunted and finally killed and eaten.

And it is a big celebration too, a real “feast of the senses” at the table: food, food, meat, wine, whatever, the more the better.

So it is not surprising if there is a character named after it, as I have found here in the “Il Carnevale Italiano Mascherato” by Francesco Bertelli, not so much a mask, but a character with a definite personality.

In Florence, coming Berlingaccio time, there is this saying:

"Per Berlingaccio chi non ha ciccia ammazzi il gatto!"

"Coming Berlingaccio time,
who does not have meat ... kill the cat!"


And here is how the Berlingaccio character defines himself:

"Voi vi credete, ch’io sia il dio del mosto,
C’son il Berlingaccio, él Ferragosto."

"You would believe, that I am the god of the must,
That I am the Berlingaccio, the Ferragosto. *"

* The "Ferragosto", August 15, in all Italy is considered a special day, usually the hottest day of the year, and the last day of vacations ... nuff said.

Etching by Francesco Bertelli: the Berlingaccio (1638-1650)
Francesco Bertelli: "The Berlingaccio"
Il Carnevale Italiano Mascherato - etching (1638-1650)

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