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Weatherwatch: Log fires, wine and snow – a Venetian poet’s relish


The year is 1537 and it is July but the Venetian poet and satirist Pietro Aretino is thinking about the winter. Not for him the summer heat. “I am happier when I see the snow falling from the sky than when I feel myself burnt by those soft summer breezes,” he writes to his doctor friend Agostino Ricchi (see Aretino: Selected Letters, translated by George Bull for Penguin Classics 1976).

He adds: “Certainly winter seems to me like an abbot who swans along in comfortable ease, enjoying the delights of eating, sleeping and doing you know what with enormous gusto. And then summer comes like a rich, noble harlot who throws herself down, bathed in sweat and does nothing but drink and drink.

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