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.
often written about this castle, one of central Italy’s most
significant historical properties, that has been in the same family
|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|
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 .
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 .
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.
|the gardens created by Ottavia Orsini |
|Gardener Santino greets Prince Stash and Tan |
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,
|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 |
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 |
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 .