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Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy$
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Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678136

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678136.001.0001

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Practices of Healthy Living: The Sources

Practices of Healthy Living: The Sources

(p.48) 2 Practices of Healthy Living: The Sources
Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy

Sandra Cavallo

Tessa Storey

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the other sources used in the study, starting from the correspondence of a Roman noble family, the Spadas, which has provided key evidence about contemporary practices. Showing the family's social ascent as typical, it charts the shifting identities and values amongst the Italian elites, stressing the importance of healthy living and the fostering of a hygienic domestic environment for the construction of noble identities. More specifically, it discusses the value of studying letters for insight into preventive practices. The chapter then highlights the role of ‘everyday’ objects in the management of domestic health and outlines ways this helps us identify a medical rationale for the evolution, shaping, and diffusion of certain elements of domestic material culture. The use of household inventories as sources, their flaws and strengths, are discussed. Finally the chapter details our approach to the use of images and objects as sources for studying domestic material culture.

Keywords:   nobility, family, Rome, correspondence, material culture, visual sources, inventories

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