Lunch at Castello Ruspoli

February 5, 2013 / Local Interest
Vignanello, Lazio
IN castle entrance
Entrance hall Castello Ruspoli

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.

IN ruspoli portrait
IN cordova leather
Original gilded leather doors
IN  Pelliccia & table
Chiara Pelliccia, Giorgio Monari, F.M.Ruspoli and Donna Giada Ruspoli
In Santino and family
Santino and family greet guests
IN  halberds
Halberds decorate the entrance hall
IN  FMRuspoli family tree
Francesco Maria Ruspoli explains the family tree
In table sunshine 5
Lunch at Castello Ruspoli
IN cutting torte
IN  fireplace

IN facade castle
Facade of Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello

Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

Mary Jane is a historian, cruise lecturer, author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century.

See her award winning website and weekly blog posts on 50YearsInItaly for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.

11 Responses to “Lunch at Castello Ruspoli”

  1. Torre Newman

    Fun to get this post of yours twice in one day. Once via our Facebook connection and also via my email subscription to the notebook. The menu sounds wonderful and I want some.

    • Thank you Donna Giada for the invitation. I am sue that some of the many Italian Notebook readers who discovered your Castello will want to make a visit.

  2. Thanks Torre and Louise, I wish you could have been with me on Sunday…this is only one of the many special places and events. Stay tuned for more…tomorrow evening we’ll be at the Irish Embassy, at the historic Villa Spada, to meet the President of Ireland.

  3. Evanne

    Thank you for this, Mary Jane. We loved visits to Castello Ruspoli and seeing the very kind Princess Giada, usually during marvelous summertime concerts that ended with fireworks exploding with lights overhead. The garden is a masterpiece and the castello so full of memories, no matter where one turns to look.

  4. Judith and John Mixon

    Three cheers to Giada. We miss Vignanello, and hope to return to our apartment there at the end of May. We hope there will be more music then. John and Judy Mixon

  5. Anne Robichaud

    Mary Jane, enjoyed your note on Castello Ruspoli – brought back memories of a good visit there years ago, Claudia Ruspoli showing us around, a gracious hostess.

  6. Marianna Raccuglia

    Thank you for this article – enjoyed the photos. It sounds so lovely! It was nice to read Anne Robichaud’s comment as I am one of her “fans”.


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