DELLA CASA, Giovanni

(1503-1556)
Giovanni Della Casa, a humanist-educated courtly writer, advanced Catholic reform efforts for the papacy in Venice and authored a handbook on manners titled II Galateo. Della Casa, born in Mugello and raised in Rome, returned to Florence in 1524, where he began humanistic studies under Ubaldino Bandinelli. In 1525 at the University of Bologna he preferred poetry and the classics over law. He studied also at Padua, where he learned Greek. By 1531 he decided, for practical rather than spiritual reasons, on a career in the church, entering papal service and participating in the Accademia dei Vignaioli in Rome. There he composed Sopra il forno, Quaestio lepidissima an uxor sit ducenda, and La formica, youthful, licentious works later judged obscene. After securing a post as a clerk in the Apostolic Camera, he became a member of the literary Accademia della Virtù and sought the patronage of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. In 1544 he became archbishop of Benevento, a role he exercised in absentia.
Later that summer he was named to the important post of papal nuncio for Venice and was entrusted with diplomatic missions, the care of ecclesiastical privileges, and the enforcement of Counter-Reformation policies in the Veneto, where he introduced the Inquisition and the Index of Prohibited Books. The most important case heard by the Holy Office was that of Pier Paolo Vergerio, who escaped to Germany and launched accusations against Della Casa, to which the latter responded in beautiful humanistic Latin charging the exile with all manner of crimes. Della Casa's diplomatic efforts were ineffectual despite a humble oration addressed to Emperor Charles V* to restore Piacenza and an Orazione per la lega.
After the death of Pope Paul III, Della Casa returned to private life and wrote biographies of Pietro Bembo* and Gaspare Contarini, Latin lyrics in honor of Marguerite de Navarre,* and poetry, epigrams, and orations. With the election of Pope Paul IV, he returned to Rome, hoping to become a cardinal. The nom­ination was blocked by Della Casa's enemies, who recalled his youthful poetry.
Della Casa enjoyed a hospitable, literary, and courtly life in palatial environs among influential friends, including Pietro Bembo. He was no stranger to the company of noble women nor to Venice's cultured courtesans, and he fathered a child by a common prostitute. He knew the painters Giovanni Battista Franco (Semolei) and Titian.* He generously oversaw the education of his nephews, to whom he recommended humanistic rhetoric for its practicality and eloquence.
In 1546 he wrote Tractatus de officiis inter potentiores et tenuiores, which explains the relationship between superiors and inferiors at court and advises the latter in utilitarian terms rather than those of Stoic duty. His most enduring work, Il Galateo (c. 1551), often compared to Baldesar Castiglione's* The Courtier, is a handbook for civilized, courtly comportment. It deals with more practical matters and pragmatic advice for contemporaries, however, while of­fering the modern reader a realistic understanding, not simply a prescriptive model, of the level of civility in the sixteenth century.
Bibliography
M. Mazzeschi Porretti, Il monsignore: Vita e opere di Giovanni Della Casa, 1990.
Luci Fortunato DeLisle

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Della Casa, Giovanni — (1503 1556)    Italian author and churchman, most famous for his Galateo (1558), a book of manners that promotes a set of values for personal life emphasizing the importance of education, wealth, and social standing for those who have to cope… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Giovanni Della Casa — (Florencia, 28 de junio de 1503 – Roma, 14 de noviembre de 1556) fue un poeta y clérigo italiano. Biografía Nació en Florencia, e …   Wikipedia Español

  • Giovanni della Casa — (né le 28 juin 1503 dans le Mugello, près de Florence, Toscane mort à Rome le 14 novembre 1556) était un prélat et un littérateur italien de la Renaissance. Biographie D’origine florentine il est peut être né dans le palais de famille du Cavour… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • DELLA CASA (G.) — DELLA CASA GIOVANNI (1503 1556) Appartenant à une noble famille florentine originaire du Mugello, Giovanni Della Casa séjourne tout jeune à Rome et à Bologne. De retour à Florence, il étudie les lettres puis revient à Bologne pour des études de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Della Casa — Della Casa, Giovanni, ital. Schriftsteller, s. Casa …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Giovanni Della Casa — (* 28. Juni 1503 in Mugello; † 14. November 1556 in Montepulciano) war ein italienischer Kleriker und Dichter. Giovanni della Casa wurde 1503 in der Provinz Mugello in der Toskana vermutlich in dem Dorf Della Casa, von dem seine Familie den Namen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Giovanni della Casa — (28 June 1503 14 November 1556) was an Italian poet.He was born in the Mugello district, in Tuscany. He studied at Bologna, Florence and Rome, and by his learning attracted the patronage of Alexander Farnese, who, as Pope Paul III, made him… …   Wikipedia

  • Della Casa — is a surname, and may refer to: Giovanni della Casa (1503 1556), Italian poet Lisa Della Casa (born 1919), Swiss soprano This page or section lists people with the surname Della Casa. If an interna …   Wikipedia

  • Giovanni Della Casa — (né le 28 juin 1503 dans le Mugello, près de Florence, Toscane mort à Rome le 14 novembre 1556) était un prélat et un littérateur italien de la Renaissance. Biographie D’origine florentine il est peut être né dans le palais de famille du Cavour… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Casa, Giovanni della — Casa, Giovanni della, ital. Schriftsteller, geb. 28. Juni 1503 in Florenz, gest. 14. Nov. 1556 in Rom, widmete sich in Bologna und Florenz der schönen Literatur und der Rechtswissenschaft und begab sich dann nach Rom. 1538 wurde er… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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