Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Food, Social Politics and the Order of Nature in Renaissance Italy

Food, Social Politics and the Order of Nature in Renaissance Italy

Allen J. Grieco

ISBN 9780674244085

Publication date: 02/04/2020

The act of eating is a basic human need. Yet in all societies, quotidian choices regarding food and its consumption reveal deeply rooted shared cultural conventions. Food goes beyond issues relating to biological needs and nutrition or production and commerce; it also reveals social and cultural criteria that determine what dishes are prepared on what occasions, and it unveils the politics of the table via the rituals associated with different meals. This book approaches the history of food in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy through an interdisciplinary prism of sources ranging from correspondence, literature (both high and low), and medical and dietary treatises to cosmographic theory and iconographic evidence. Using a variety of analytical methods and theoretical approaches, it moves food studies firmly into the arena of Late Medieval and Renaissance history, providing an essential key to deciphering the material and metaphorical complexity of this period in European, and especially Italian, history.


  • A comprehensive and insightful contribution on the subject of food culture in the Renaissance.

    —Marco Malvestio, Renaissance and Reformation


  • Allen J. Grieco is Senior Research Associate Emeritus at the Villa I Tatti.
  • Christiane Klapisch-Zuber is the former Director of Studies and Associated Member at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Book Details

  • 328 pages
  • 6 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Villa I Tatti
  • Foreword by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber