Friday, July 20, 2007

Good enough 500 years ago - good enough today!

I just returned from a 2 week trip to Europe. My wife and I competed in Ironman Austria and then took in the sights and sounds of Italy. Wandering through the incredibly ornate halls of the Palazzo Pitti (aka the Pitti Palace that was built in Florence for the Medici family) I spotted an inscription high up on the painted ceiling: rado tu parla e sii brevi et arguto

An sign nearby revealed: It was here that the public audiences took place. After waiting in the antichamber, visitors were ushered into this room to be received by the Grand Duke, seated on his throne and surrounded by the court. Only the sovereign remained seated, everyone else was obliged to stand in his presence. Since so many people were received at a time, the room had practically no furniture apart from the throne. A motto, above the niche of the painted staircase, presumably addressed to those about to speak to the Grand Duke, reads:

rado tu parla e sii brevi et arguto

[talk little, and be brief and be witty]

A great piece of advice for all ages!