SO, one of the bizarre things that’s been going on in my life was that I was struck by a car in a parking lot. I was in the emergency ward, waiting for scans & xrays to my aching body & my DH read to me this incredible story from a National Geographic mag to distract me. The story, apparently a true one goes that in Renaissance Italy poison was the solution to delicate political problems. Poisoning was as much an art as painting, architecture & sculpture as it was discrete & dignified. The Borgias family – Alessandro & his son Cesare specialized in faith-based poisonings. The Borgias selected & laid down rare poisons in their cellars with as much thought as they gave to their vintage wines. As pope, Alessandro appointed wealthy men as bishops & cardinals, allowed them to increase their holdings, then invited them to dinner. The house wine, dry, with overtones of arsenic, neatly disposed of the guests, whose wealth, by church law, then reverted to the Borgias, increasing their influence & wealth. The capital of conspiracy in Italy was VENICE, where the architects of evil were the Council of Ten. A special tribunal, created to avert plots & crimes against the state. To accomplish poisoning, the council would contract with an assassin, paid by an intermediary & often from another city. Funds were readily available for such matters & the Council kept two sets of records, one for public & one for private dealings of a less savoury type. The Council’s cloak & poison doings were officially recorded in a thin volume marked Secreto Secretissima (top, top secret)…………..and this book still exists and is housed somewhere in Venice for public display. (I missed that last time I was there)………..OF COURSE…………I couldn’t help myself……….I JUST HAD to turn this into art! It was too delicious a topic, complete with mystery & intrigue…..this journal spread is the result.