On Monday 2 April 2018 at 11.45 pm “The hidden Cathedral”, the special of Rai1, was broadcast. The special events by the journaslist Osvaldo Bevilacqua inside the St. Peter Cathedral tells what millions of tourists and pilgrims can not see. With the guidance of Cardinal Comastri – General Vicar of His Holiness for the Vatican City – we will discover the work of the thousands of artists, artisans and workers who have made unique the most important Church of Christianity. And also the role of women, unknown for centuries. “The Hidden Cathedral” is a special by Osvaldo Bevilacqua and Paola Miletich, directed by Gian Marco Mori, executive producer Eleonora Iannelli. In this special, the “Allegrezze” will be explained, a lunch organized by the workers who were building the Dome of the San Peter Cathedral on the direction of Michelangelo, every time they finished a job. My team and I were called for to create a painting that could illustrate this event. Behind the supervision of mr. Pietro Zander (Fabbrica di San Pietro), we first made a sketch then we execute the painting.


Here the testimoniance of Antonio da Sangallo Younger (1484-1546) writes about the Allegrezza of 30 November 1544 which took place in the Lock of the Grand Vault (vault of the main nave behind the “partition wall”):

  • 4 barrels of “Grecho wine” (about 230 liters);”Macaroni and lasagne”;
  • 54 kilos of cow’s meat;
  • 8 of veal from calf;
  • Sausages, liver and cerebellum (from master Francesco “macelaro in borgo”);
  • Also chickens, thrushes and pigeons;
  • 5 kilos of pecorino cheese “to be put on macaroni”;
  • Other cheese, fruit and, of course, bread;
  • Loan of plates and glasses (including the charge of those who broke);
  • 80 “baiocchi” (money) given to the cook for cooking.

    Michelangelo arranged over the vaults of the basilica, almost 50 meters high, as many as six “end-of-work” lunches to celebrate with his workers the happy conclusion of the work under his direction.
    The lunches included a variety of dishes, mostly based on pork, although there are references to dozens of pounds of “lasagna”, “pecorino romano”, “salsicioni bologniesi”, with vegetables, fruit and various cheeses, all washed down by many liters of wine. On December 23rd, 1550, he gave his workers two dozen Basques.

    Also thanks to contribution by Sangallo, we have been able to bring into painting a fairly faithful representation of what happened more than 500 years ago!