Monday, October 30, 2017

Special Women of Castello Ruspoli

    Yesterday  I was honored to be among the music loving guests gathered at Castello Ruspoli in Vignanello for  luncheon and concert of the 9th international  prize for Baroque singing  and musical studies. 
I have often written about this  castle,  one of central Italy’s  most  significant historical properties, that has been in the same family since 1531.
Donna Giada and  Manola at castle entance
brick floors  spina di pesce16th century

imposing facade of Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello 

It was the first visit  since my  discovery in a local church of the only portrait of  an infamous ancestor of the Marescotti-Ruspoli family, Ortensia Farnese. The story of Ortensia’s  nefarious deeds   is narrated in my recently published  “The Painted Palazzo/Il Palazzo Dipinto” , the 7th publication dedicated to the  Tuscia/Etruria  area here in central Italy.  
Ortensia, Madonna del Riscatto, Vetralla

Ortensia Farnese  fresco discovered in Vetralla

The contest for Baroque singers and musicians is named for  Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli  (1672-1731) a patron of Handel . It  is a unique experience for scholars  and performers offering  a monetary award and solo concerts at the castle and later in Copenhagen and Havana. Singers and instrumentalists specialized  in Baroque music compete in alternate years .

Guests for the luncheon and concert were greeted in  the castle entrance hall by Donna Giada Ruspoli and shown into a cozy room where  aperitivi were served . 

the gardens created by Ottavia Orsini 
Other  guests  took a stroll in the magnificent  gardens designed in 1610 by Ottavia Orsini Marescotti, daughter of the creator of  Bomarzo’s  Sacro Bosco. The gardens  retain  the original   design and parterres which are lovingly  maintained by the castle’s  gardener, Santino.
Gardener Santino greets  Prince Stash    and Tan 

As well as  great patrons of the arts and benefactors,  the historical Marescotti-Ruspoli family also  included  saints  and sinners. 
In  the family chapel on the ground floor  mementos of the family saint, St. Giacinta, are kept. 
in the chapel 

dress of Saint Giacinta Marescotti 
papal shoes and robes 

 Upstairs in the many rooms of the piano nobile, numerous family portraits  line the walls and vintage photos show other  Marescotti –Ruspoli ancestors.  A memento  of Ortensia, and her  three  unlucky husbands, can be seen on the fireplace mantle – a half erased coat of arms.
fireplace with  coat of arms
buffet  in front of the fireplace 
castle rooms 

still life  

setting up for the luncheon 

Luncheon was  held in several salons  of the piano nobile, next to the main hall  where the concert  was held . 
program of the  concert 

The  audience of music  connoisseurs  was enthralled by the voice  of this year’s  winner of the Ruspoli prize,   Hungarian contralto Dalma Krajnyak, accompanied   by Luigi Trivisano at the clavicembalo.  
named after his ancestor, Francesco Maria Ruspoli 

Surely Handel and his Ruspoli benefactor, Prince Francesco Maria, were  smiling  down on the castle yesterday as history repeated itself with beautiful music, good company and interesting encounters .

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you; sounds a great experience Mary Jane. BTW spina di pesce is called herring bone in English.