Spitting in public, blowing one’s nose uproariously, cleaning one’s hands with the tablecloth… error and horrors that obviously nobody makes nowadays. However, during the 16th century they were very common, in fact an eminent Tuscan Monsignor and literary man wrote down the basic rules of good manners, such as: “It is indecent to rub your teeth with the table-cloth or your napkin, and much worse to do the same thing with your finger. It is likewise so, to gurgle your mouth before company, or to spit the wine out after you have done”. The aforesaid Monsignor was Giovanni Della Casa, who wrote this famous book: Galateo, which is a collection of “instructions to a young gentleman how to behave himself in conversation”, as the original subtitle says. This millstone of Italian literature, over centuries, has become a real point of reference for European behaviour and bon ton. [show more...]