Shakespeare in Italy
Posted on 20 April 2021
Every 23rd of April the literary world, or at least in the English speaking world, celebrates the birth (and death, he died on the 23rd April too) of William Shakespeare. Often credited as the finest playwright, poet, and literary personality to come out of England, he is also widely celebrated in Italy thanks to his frequent use of the cities and towns of Italy as backdrops for his most famous plays. But was his connection to Italy more than just a passing fascination?
There is a large schism in the world of Shakespearean scholars, with the two sides known as the Stratfordians and the Non-Stratfordians. It is the latter group, containing such scholarly heavyweights as Richard Roe and Alexander Waugh, that argue that during Shakespeare’s lost years from 1585 that there is no question that he visited and toured Italy to draw inspiration for his works.
Italy undoubtedly plays a huge part in his works. His widely celebrated plays contain no less than 106 scenes set in Italy, and 800 references to Italian cities, towns, and culture. The cities of Rome, Venice, Verona, Milan, Naples, Florence, and Messina host nearly half of his written plays. With such accurate depictions of the houses, palaces, and even roads and waterways of Italy, can there be any doubt that he spent a considerable time there?
Some scholars have even gone further and suggested that maybe he was in fact Italian, a rumor that has found a happy home in Messina, with many pointing to his obsession with the heartbreak of true love implying that he’s clearly Sicilian!
Well, we don’t profess to be even remotely qualified to argue the toss with either side of the arguing factions, all we know is that the link to Italy exists for whatever reason, and that’s good enough for us to raise a glass of something tasty and Italian to the Bard this 23rd April!
Let us “drink to the general joy of the whole table”!
Italian Wines to toast Shakespeare’s Birthday:
Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG “Bosco di Gica” by Adami
£50.01 for a Magnum
A nod to THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, let us start the evening with the famous bubbles from that famous city.
Soave Classico Superiore “Foscarin Slavinus” by Monte Tondo
£23.57 for a bottle
I’m not sure ROMEO AND JULIET ever got a chance to sit quietly together and enjoy a bottle of Soave together, but maybe THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA did?
Etna Rosso DOC by Benanti
£24.27 for a bottle
I’m not sure the vineyards of Mount Etna were producing wines of such quality back in the day, but I do hope so for the cast of THE WINTER’S TALE.