Italian pride

Stendhal’s love of gossip, acerbic comment and piercing observation throw up a continual stream of delight. Here he is, in 1816, on Italian pride speaking truth to power.

In Bologna, it would take more courage than I possess to hint that Mr Astley (of Bond Street) makes better boots that signor Ronchetti – a well-known shoe-maker of the city, renowned for his love of paintings no less than for his dauntless stand against [Marshal] Murat.  Murat had ventured to observe that no one outside Paris understood how to make a pair of boots fit to be worn; in revenge, Ronchetti refused point-blank to make him a complete pair.  The King of Naples, having approved one boot by trying it on, demanded its fellow. “Have it made in Paris, Sire!” retorted Ronchetti.  (from: Stendhal. Rome, Naples and Florence; tr Richard Coe. London, 1959.  p189)

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About rimboval

Writer, thinker and proud grandfather
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