Pick of the week
When you read this, I will have paid my first visit to the biennial Gotha Fair at Parma and shall report on it shortly, but it will still be possible for anyone travelling to Italy to see it, as it runs to Sunday. Launched in 1994, the name is taken from the aristocratic bible, the Almanach de Gotha, to signify excellence. Some 50 leading Italian dealers offer paintings, sculpture, furniture, jewels, objets d’art and curiosities in the Fiere di Parma.
Either of the latter categories could include a splendid ebony, crystal and embossed silver reliquary (right) to be shown by MR Antichità Di Rita Stasi at €35,000 (£32,000). The silver bees suggest that it may have been commissioned by the Barberini Pope Urban VIII.
The city will also be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Napoleon’s second wife, the Empress Marie Louise, to her retirement job as sovereign Duchess of Parma. There will be exhibitions in her honour and, as she was a gourmet as well as an art lover, I am looking forward to the supper at the Gotha preview, inspired by her favourite dishes.