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Church of Santa Margherita dei Cerchi

Santa Margherita dei Cerchi is a small Florentine church near the birthplace of Dante Alighieri. According to legend, it was here that Dante, the Supreme Poet, met his beloved Beatrice. The church, which was patronised by the Donati family, was the place in which Dante Alighieri and Gemma Donati were married. Inside it, you can admire a plaque commemorating Beatrice's burial, although it is undoubtedly false, because she was married to Simone de' Bardi and, therefore, her tomb is located in her husband's family chapel in the Great Cloister in Santa Croce.
An amusing piece of trivia: on the floor of this small church, there is an oval plaque near the altar, commemorating the "Compagnia dei Quochi" (Society of Qooks - meaning Cooks), written with a Q instead of a C. History describes this Society as a small circle that included painters, sculptors, philosophers and writers, but also all those who wanted to talk about culture, sharing their ideas before some good food. A friendly ritual in which each participant also experimented with new culinary recipes to share.

The Confraternità dei Quochi made St Paschal Baylón its protector, as he was considered the protector of cooks and pastry chefs. According to legend, he was the inventor of the tasty and much-loved sweet custard used to fortify desserts: zabaglione. The story tells us that many women of marriageable age turned to him and uttered this invocation in front of his effigy: "St Paschal Baylon, protector of women, send me a husband, a handsome, white and colourful one, like you, just like you, oh blessed St Paschal!".
A story passed down tells us that, during their confession, some women complained about not receiving much attention from their husbands, who often declared that they were tired. Paschal Baylón had a vigorous remedy for all: a concoction made of egg custard beaten with liqueur, which he had invented. Hence, St Baylón's cream became "sambayon", zabaglione.

  • Progetto finanziato a valere sui fondi Legge n. 77 del 20 febbraio 2006 “Misure speciali di tutela e fruizione dei siti italiani di interesse culturale, paesaggistico e ambientale, inseriti nella “lista del patrimonio mondiale”, posti sotto la tutela dell’UNESCO”