Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Festa della Porchetta

Relazione, e disegno della fiera, e festa popolare della Porchetta, fatta in Bologna lanno 1698
'Relazione, e disegno della fiera, e festa popolare della Porchetta, fatta in Bologna lanno 1698 : dedicata a gli llustrissimi signori confaloniere, et eccelsi signori anziani del quarto bimestre'

Description of Bologna's annual Porchetta festival (Festa della porchetta or Festival of the suckling pig), held in 1698. Full-size folded sheet tipped in, with engraving depicting the event, signed: "Giacop-Antonio Manini del." and "L. Mattioli f. 1698."



Festa de Vino a Bologna. 1691 (Christie's)
'Baroocco Romano e Barrocco Italiano' by Luigi Mattioli (illustrated by Fagioli & Madonna). Print title: 'Festa de Vino a Bologna', a scene from the Festa della porchetta of Bologna in 1691. [source]



Lanniversaria popolar festa di Bologna (1751)
'Lanniversaria popolar festa di Bologna avutasi il presente anno M.DCC.LI. il di XXIV dagosto', published by CM Sassi in Bologna in 1751. The pageant theme at Festa della Porchetta was the story of the Greek poet Arion of Lesbos and the engraving depicts Arion's rescue by a dolphin.



Descrizione della festa popolare della Porchetta fatta in Bologna (1721)
'Descrizione della festa popolare della Porchetta fatta in Bologna : da gli llustrissimi, ed eccelsi signori confaloniero di giustizia et anziani del quarto bimestre dellanno 1721. In occasione della solita festa popolare della Porchetta per lanno 1720' by GM Moretti & AC Galli.



Relazione della festa popolare della Porchetta fatta nella piazza di Bologna lagosto dellanno M.DCC.XV
'Le feste Adonie rinovate al popolare divertimento nella piazza di Bologna per la Festa della porchetta lagosto dellanno M.DCC.XIV. : consegrate a gli illustrissimi signori gonfaloniere di giustizia, et eccelsi signori anziani del quarto bimestre' by Gaetano Fanto, 1714. Festival pageant depicting the death of Adonis.



Relazione e disegno della fiera fatta in Bologna (1710)
'Relazione e disegno della fiera fatta in Bologna quest anno M.DCC.X. per la solita festa popolare della Porchetta' by CA Buffagnotti, 1710.



La Porchetta festa annua popolare seguita in Bologna il giorno di san Bartolomeo (1701)
'La Porchetta festa annua popolare seguita in Bologna il giorno di san Bartolomeo : dedicata a glillustrissimi, & eccelsi signori anziani, e gonfaloniero di giustizia, di luglio, & agosto 1701' signed Carlo Buffagnotti and dated 1707.



Torneo di Bacco per la festa popolare della Porchetta nella fiera dellanno 1699
'Torneo di Bacco per la festa popolare della Porchetta nella fiera dellanno 1699 : dedicata a glillustrissimi signori confaloniere, et eccelsi signori anziani del quarto bimestre' by Evangelista Manolessi and featuring Dionysus.



Relatione della festa popolare fatta in Bologna in occasione della solita porchetta (1667)
'Relatione della festa popolare fatta in Bologna in occasione della solita porchetta : a glillustrissimi signori Confaloniere et Anziani del quarto bimestre dellanno 1667' by Camillo Magnani. The signature on the engraving suggests the illustration was produced by (the great) Giuseppe Maria Mitelli.



Relazione e disegno della fiera, e festa popolare della Porchetta fatta in Bologna questanno 1695
'Relazione e disegno della fiera, e festa popolare della Porchetta fatta in Bologna questanno 1695 : dedicata a glillustrissimi signori confaloniere, et eccelsi signori anziani del quarto bimestre' by Evangelista Manolessi and illustrated by Agostino Mitelli (father of Giuseppe, above).



Relazione e disegno della fiera per la solita festa popolare della Porchetta fatta in Bologna il di 24. agosto 1693
'Relazione e disegno della fiera per la solita festa popolare della Porchetta fatta in Bologna il di 24. agosto 1693' by AM Antonii and illustrated, again, by GM Mitelli.


[click through for enlarged versions; piggies can be seen]



Bologna's Festa della Porchetta was an annual carnival held on 24 August for more than five centuries. It commemorated both the Feast of St Bartholomew and the victory of Bolognese forces over Frederick II during the Battle of Fossalta in 1249. Frederick's son, King Enzo, was captured and imprisoned for thirty years in the city centre in a tower that now bears his name, adjacent to where the Porchetta celebrations took place in Palazzo Maggiore [MAP].

It was customary for the city's noblemen to enjoy a banquet in a palace fronting onto Palazzo Maggiore, and a spit-roasted suckling pig, together with poultry, breads, cheeses and cakes, was thrown from the balcony for the regular townsfolk to fight over.

The festivities evolved over the centuries into large-scale affairs with acrobats, games, singing and dancing, in theatrical productions of wars, historical events and allegorical performance plays. Giant purpose-specific floats, stages, theatre props and machinery were constructed each year to accommodate the unique requirements of the year's entertainment theme.

The last Festa della Porchetta was held in 1796, when Napoleon's army entered the city; although the church in Bologna has revived the tradition in the last decade - including a shared roasted pig - to help spread peace in the city.

The baroque tournament and festival book enthusiasm being what it was at the time, commemorative illustrated booklets were printed each year, starting in about the 1660s. These twenty or thirty page publications recorded the production details and theme of the year's festival, accompanied by one or more fold-out engraving of a pageant scene.

Except where noted, all of the above images come from the digital collection at Yale University's Beinecke Library (search on 'porchetta'). [All, or just about all, of the illustrations were saved in this set]

There really isn't a single background source online worth linking {well, maybe this}, but the standard reference on this topic is said to be the 2005 book by Lorena Bianconi: 'Alle Origini della Festa Bolognese della Porchetta' published by Clueb.

Thanks Anne!

7 comments:

PwincessCleo said...

really nice pictures!!

Angelika Conan Bammer said...

The pictures with the beasts remind me of Hieronymus Bosch creatures. Very cool!

Karla said...

"Festival pageant depicting the death of Adonis." You could have fooled me. Death of Adonis, huh? And where was our lovely corpse, and where was Venus? Am I losing my mind? (I can hear you saying "very probably." And indeed the likelihood is strong of late.)

lorena said...

Thank you very much for the quotation.. Lorena Bianconi

peacay said...

You're welcome Lorena!

And Karla I thought I could only appear less smart by answering. I stand by that still.

Lorena said...

Hi! I'd like to know much more about you and your interest on the "Festa bolognese della Porchetta", so, how can I join you? Please, write to me at this adress bianconil@gmail.com. Tank's!

Karla said...

I have yet to see you appear less smart. I, on the other hand, look less smart every day.

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