The Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni”
has many a tale to tell. Here objects d’art, furniture and decorations all recount Bologna
’s fascinating past. One interesting chapter in the story is that of the Ristorante I Carracci
: just sitting down at the table here is to embark on a journey through time and the history of art.
At school with the Carraccis: the Renaissance in Bologna
Under the impetus of the Carracci family, Bologna
was, with Rome, the nerve centre of Italian art in the late 15th
centuries. Culture in the city flourished thanks to brothers Annibale (1560-1609) and Agostino (1557-1602) Carracci and their cousin Ludovico (1555-1619), all born and bred in the city. It was precisely to make their intuitions materialise and to create a school that they founded the Accademia degli Incamminati
. Their influence shaped more than one generation of Emiliani artists
who were to leave their mark on the scene throughout the 17th century: the likes of Domenichino, Giovanni Lanfranco, Francesco Albani, Guido Reni, Alessandro Tiarini, Sisto Badalocchio, Il Guercino and many others still, all of whom worked between Bologna and Rome. The relationship between the two cities was closer than ever as the election of three Bolognese popes –GregoryXIII, Innocent IX and Gregory XV – testifies. Today some speak in terms of a veritable Bolognese Renaissance. All the behind-the-scene stories are told by local historian Carlo Cesare Malvasia
in his Felsina Pittrice
(1678), a text that did for Bolognese art what Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists did for Tuscan Renaissance painters.
Enjoying summer recipes among the myths of antiquity
If on the piano nobile of the Majestic it’s possible to admire the Carracci’s first known work – the Camerino d’Europa
, with the stories of Jupiter and Europa taken from Ovid – sitting in the Ristorante I Carracci
it’s possible to appreciate the cultural impact of their pupils and heirs. Looking up at the ceiling and the frescoes of the Carracci school, one recognises the style borrowed from Annibale, Agostino and Ludovico, who abandoned the mannerism of their predecessors to adopt a more naturalistic approach. Over one’s head – the apex of the vault – one sees Jupiter
hurling his lightning bolt at Phaethon
, son of Apollo, causing him to fall from his sun chariot. Art historians surmise that the fresco – specifically the figurative part – may be the work of a pupil of Lorenzo Sabbatini, a Bolognese follower of Parmigianino and Vasari who also worked for the Medicis in Florence and at the Vatican in Rome. At the four corners are allegorical figures representing the four seasons
, each propped up by a pair of nudes clearly inspired by Michelangelo and all painted by Giovanni Luigi Valesio, an admirer of Agostino Carracci in particular.
Once they have sated their curiosity for art, the epicureans among you can devote themselves to other types of pleasure with a journey into flavour. The new feature of summer 2021 will be the recipes of chef Cristian Mometti, with a special emphasis on extra virgin olive oil and indication of type, origin, intensity and characteristics for every dish on the menu.