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Maestro Martino, a top-noch 15TH-century cook

by Isabelle Yrma Pace
Reading time 2 minutes
One of the copies of Mastro Martino's "Il Libro de Arte Coquinaria", depicted as the reference point of the Italian food literature, is hung on to in Riva del Garda at the public library. A not-to-be-missed masterpiece for every enthusiast.

Cooking is… loving. Firstly, loving yourself (cooking some tasty food).

Cooking is unarguably an expression of love, mainly if it comes from the heart. Everybody would like to have some chef qualities, but if these are not exactly your kind of stuff, we could just be inspired! By whom? Well, why not aiming high and be inspired directly by Mastro Martino?

Mastro Martino de Rossi, known as da Como, was the first prestigious author of the Italian cuisine and wrote the “Libro de Arte Coquinaria” (loosely, cooking book), edited in Rome in 1464/65.


Who was Mastro Martino and why are we talking about him? Maybe you don’t know he was the most important cook in the 15th century and his manuscript “Libro de Arte Coquinaria” marked the transition from a medieval to a Renaissance cuisine.

Maestro Martino, a top-noch 15TH-century cook Tips

Considered the Leonardo for the cuisine, there is some kind of mystique around him. Above all, there are some dark reasons why a copy of his famous masterpiece (the original one is currently at the Library of Congress in Washington) has been brought to the library historical archive in Riva del Garda, where it is held still nowadays (the other one can be seen in Rome, at the Vatican Museums). As Mrs Fanizza, director of the public library in Riva del Garda, has explained us, how the manuscript has come to the Garda Trentino shores is still unclear.

For those of you who would like to learn more about Maestro Martino, it is possible to visit the association website, represented by the famous chef Carlo Cracco. He has underlined many times the fact that it is dramatically important not to forget the greatest protagonists of the cooking history, as to give them the right importance.

If you are dying to learn some secrets and tricks of the late-medieval cuisine, we disclose that it is possible to retrieve a pdf file, downloadable directly from the website of the Riva del Garda historical archives.

Colourful (it seems that Mastro Martino loved to change his cooking using every primary natural colour, from saffron yellow to parsley green), cooked to a turn (he put great importance on cooking techniques and time), Mastro Martino‘s cuisine holds all the features that make a great chef: creativity, taste and health. Focused on “KM 0” cuisine.

What if the secret arrival of the manuscript to Riva del Garda was precisely this? The harmony between cuisine and territory, so precious for us in Garda Trentino!

After all this talking about good food, I am quite starving. Waiting for retrieving the “Libro de Arte Coquinaria” pdf file, I dabble in cooking some good carne salada e fasoi (directly from Tenno). I am pretty sure Mastro Martino would approve it!

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