When it comes to excess in 16th-century Rome, nothing compares to the Banquet of Chestnuts. During the early 1500s, the great Renaissance city of Rome was ruled by Pope Alexander VI and his son Cesare, both members of the powerful Borgia family. The influential clan epitomized the misconduct and debauchery of the era with their entertainment. Every Borgia party and banquet was a lavish affair catered to a privileged social set.
One such occasion arose the night of October 30, 1501, when a huge banquet was organized in the Papal Palace. The guest list of this Borgia banquet included nobility and senior officials of the Catholic Church - but courtesans and prostitutes as well. What began as a carefully choreographed ballet of manners soon devolved into a wild party with naked entertainers and sexual games.
The infamous Banquet of the Chestnuts has gone down in history as one of the wildest nights in history. Although historians disagree on whether the event actually occurred, there is a firsthand written account of the night. That document shows how the scandalous feast shed light on the morality of the papal office, particularly the negativity surrounding the Borgia rule. Salacious though it was, the party illuminated the duplicitous and flawed nature of religious authority.
Women Of The Night Picked Up Chestnuts With Their Lady Parts
The Polite Dinner Party Turned Into An All-Night Romp
It Set The Tone For One Hell Of A Season
Religious Historians Deny The Story
The Borgias Epitomized Rome's Excess
Pope Alexander VI Was A Player