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The Pope that died f .../ Curiosities




Eels cooked and soaked in Vernaccia wine
Eels cooked and soaked in Vernaccia wine

Martin IV was a French Pope that was crowned in Orvieto  and chose Montefiascone as his residence, a town 80 km North of Rome . At that time Popes were not living in Rome because the eternal city was stormed by conflicts between factions and nobody was safe.
Medieval  writer Jacopo della Lana describes Martin IV : ” He had very vicious throat…he brought out eels from nearby waters pf Lake Bolsena and made them drown and die in Vernaccia wine … ” .

Dante Alighieri, the famous Florentine poet, also mentions in his Divine Comedy Martin IV love for eels soaked in vernaccia Wine.

But why, even though there were many glutton popes ,  Martin IV became probably the most famous ? Maybe because in the Middle Ages eel represented a  prohibited delicacy, symilar to snake, symbol of original sin and the unbridled preference of such food in a Pope became an occasion of scandal .

Martin IV died in Perugia in 1285 , and according to some historians, the cause was ” fatness and indigestion of tasty fish from Lake Bolsena cooked and washed down with Vernaccia :-)” .
For an ancient and strict ceremonial , his body would have been washed with warm Vernaccia   flavored with secret and special herbs .


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