Luigi Cornaro

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Not to be confused with Cardinal Luigi Cornaro (1517-84).

Alvise "Luigi" Cornaro (1467[1]–1566) was a Venetian nobleman who wrote treatises on dieting, including Discorsi della Vita Sobria (Discourses on the Sober Life). Finding himself near death at the age of 35, Cornaro modified his eating habits on the advice of his doctors and began to adhere to a calorie restriction diet. His daily initial self-allowance was 14 ounces (about 400 g) of solid food and 17 ounces (about 500 g) of wine. He later reduced his daily intake to no more solid meat than an egg.

His first treatise was written when he was 83, and its English translation, often referred to today under the title The Sure and Certain Method of Attaining a Long and Healthful Life, went through numerous editions; this was followed by three others on the same subject, composed at the ages of eighty-six, ninety-one and ninety-five respectively. The first three were published at Padua in 1558. They are written, says Joseph Addison, in the early eighteenth-century periodical The Spectator (No. 195), "with such a spirit of cheerfulness, religion and good sense, as are the natural concomitants of temperance and sobriety." He died at Padua at age 98.

In the work known as Illustrissimi, a collection of letters written by Pope John Paul I when he was Patriarch of Venice, Cornaro serves as one of the "recipients" of the letters. There are 40 letters in all, mainly to people in Italian history and fiction, but also to internationally well known fictional and historical characters such as Pinocchio, Charles Dickens, Hippocrates, and Jesus.


  1. ^ The 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica gives a birth date of 1467

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