Vignanello, ancestral home of the Ruspoli-Marescotti family, has always been a special place for good music. In 1708-10 German musician Handel and his favorite soprano Margherita Durastante, spent their summers here as guests of Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli, a generous patron of the arts.
Gilded Cordoba leather covers the door of the salone where the composer’s arias and cantatas were composed and sung for the prince and his friends.
The tradition continues thanks to the Francesco Maria Ruspoli International prize for music promoted by Donna Giada Ruspoli.
On Sunday several dozen guests, many of them specialists in antique music, gathered at Castello Ruspoli for the presentation of”Miscellanea Ruspoli” studies in Baroque music and to hear Dr. Chiara Pelliccia speak about her research on the cantate da camera of 17th century musician, Giovanni Lorenzo Lutier.
To enter the castle’s massive entrance doors one must cross the moat on a wooden bridge. Once inside the guests were greeted by Princess Giada while Santino, the castle’s mythical gardener, helped to serve bruschette and aperitivi.
A group of musicians basked in the warm glow of portable heaters while hardier guests braved the cold to admire the castle’s famous Renaissance gardens.
Lunch served near crackling fireplaces on the piano nobile included risotto con radicchio, roast pork, frittata, finished with home made cakes and Carnival sweets and washed down with excellent local Vignanello wines.
All looked upon by Ruspoli-Marescotti ancestors peering down from their framed portraits.