The Bridge - Page 14



Don’t be disgusting

This new book from Venice promises to do to polite behaviour what the "Prince" did to Politics

We are in Veneto, a region in the north of Italy. We are guests at Giovanni Della Casa's home, a highly experienced Monsignor born in Tuscany. Among his various positions, he has also been the Pope' s ambassador in Venice.

Monsignor Della Casa is a writer and person of letters, and he is pleased to show us his latest book. He invites us into his office to show us the little book he has just finished writing. It is dedicated to one of his grandchildren and he has chosen a bit strange title:

“Galateo overo de' costumi".

Della Casa explains that the title Galateo has been chosen to pay homage to the bishop Galeazzo Florimonte, who has encouraged him to write the essay. Continuing the conversation, Monsignor Della Casa tells us that in his essay he gives advice on how to speak, dress, being at the table, how to treat others.

He also makes the list of gestures and attitudes not to be used, since they are unpleasant or inappropriate. Consider, for example, things like putting your fingers in your nose, dirty the table while eating, talking loudly or even worse scream and so on

Conversing with the Monsignor we realize that his book is a real treatise of polite, elegant and refined behaviour, in short, a treatise of good manners. When you meet others, you start a very special conversation made mostly of small gestures and small actions that follow the rules of a hidden “grammar”. These are the rules described in the treatise. .

s.IGiovanni Della Casa provides some tips on how to talk, being at the table, dressing, moving in order to be in harmony with the environment you're located. The measure, and grace towards others are key rules. The tone reproduces the pleasing trend of the conversation. The vivid and concrete images provide examples of negative behaviour, without any moralistic attitude.

"Spittle is not the only unpleasant thing emerging from the mouth"

For this reason, if we know the “grammar” of good manners we can get together with others in a more easily and pleasant way, to be appreciated and, in some cases, also to have success. The book is written in a clear and fluent form, full of anecdotes and short storie




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