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Italian Life during the Renaissance Period

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During the Renaissance period, Italian life changed drastically. The Renaissance era saw the main cities in the Italian region transform from dark wood medieval to bright marble cities. It was the beginning of different home designs as the city life developed from courtyards into thoroughfares and open squares.

Weddings

Italian weddings during the Renaissance embraced the tradition of medieval times. In fact, it was raised to another level as the poor families tried to outdo the wealthy. It was necessary for peasant girls to put up a substantial payment to lure a family into offering up their son for marriage.

During that time, the contemporary ideology of marriage as being an act of love was just coming onto the Italian stage. Because of that, weddings were considered a societal binding agreement between two families. This didn’t mean that families and guests didn’t joyously celebrate the matrimonial union. The civil law during that time was Roman-influenced. Therefore, weddings were officiated by magistrates and not priests.

The Women’s Tasks

During the Renaissance period, women took a prominent part in social life. They still assumed the part of caretaker in their home. Marriage was entertained for one main reason – to yield sons. When a son was born, the wife was expected to nurture the young boy into a cultured and healthy young man. It was expensive to raise daughters because of the necessity for a larger dowry, which could leave poor families penniless. However, during that period, Italian women, unlike women of the Middle Ages were free to move around. They also were expected to create their own will and be duty-bound to have their own opinion of things. They were still unable to exercise direct power, but empowered women during that time were oftentimes the power behind the scene.

The New Cuisine

Rich Italian families of the Renaissance, primarily the Medici family, broke away from consuming traditional cuisine to creating their own contemporary gourmet food. They started to integrate ingredients from around the world. Some of those foods included peppers and potatoes. It was during that time that forks were introduced as eating utensils. For the first time, the wealthy Italians ate their meals on wooden, metal and porcelain plates. The wealthy were able to access the more expensive ingredients and exotic seasoning to cook with. Most of the Renaissance people still ate their custom meals like polenta and pasta.

Renaissance Festivals

The Renaissance was a unique era of spectacle and festivity as the affluent tried to surpass each other in civic displays. This included secular and religious festivities. At these events, both the rich and poor participated freely with processions of almost every social echelon, from the Pontiff to the panhandler. 

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