The Baron in the Trees

The Baron in the Trees

by

Italo Calvino

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Battista Piovasco di Rondò Character Analysis

Cosimo and Biagio’s older sister. At the beginning of the novel, she’s the house nun and takes on much of the cooking. She became a nun after an incident with the Marquis della Mela, in which he supposedly raped her, but evidence instead points to the possibility that she was the aggressor. Though Biagio insists that Battista has all the qualities of a good cook, such as passion and creativity, she also has a sadistic streak that means her dishes are often an ordeal for those eating them. She enjoys creating dishes that may or may not taste good, but are sure to shock the family at dinner, such as pâté made with mouse liver, porcupine, and a snail dish in which the snails are arranged to look like swans. In general, Battista likes to keep the family on its toes by doing strange and unexpected things, such as hunting mice at night with a pistol and chewing her fingernails in a way guaranteed to attract attention. Her snails are the reason why Cosimo goes into the trees. Not long after Cosimo goes into the trees, Battista marries the young Count d’Estomac and, for the most part, exits the story. She briefly returns with her husband to live with Biagio during the French Revolution, bringing with her a model guillotine so she can regale people with tales of the executions in Paris.

Battista Piovasco di Rondò Quotes in The Baron in the Trees

The The Baron in the Trees quotes below are all either spoken by Battista Piovasco di Rondò or refer to Battista Piovasco di Rondò. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner edition of The Baron in the Trees published in 2017.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Now, instead, as we dined with the family, childhood’s sad chapter of daily grievances took shape. Our father and our mother were always right in front of us; we had to use knives and forks for the chicken, and sit up straight, and keep elbows off the table—endless!—and then there was our odious sister Battista. A succession of scoldings, spiteful acts, punishments, obstinacies began, until the day Cosimo refused the snails and decided to separate his lot from ours.

Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
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Battista Piovasco di Rondò Character Timeline in The Baron in the Trees

The timeline below shows where the character Battista Piovasco di Rondò appears in The Baron in the Trees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
...Arminio Piovasco di Rondò; his brother, the cavalier avvocato; his wife, the Generalessa; their daughter Battista; the tutor Abbé Fauchelafleur; along with eight-year-old Biagio and twelve-year-old Cosimo—gather in the villa’s dining... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...during dinner. The Generalessa has military manners all the time, so dinner is little different. Battista frightens everyone. Thus, the table is where the family fights, as it’s where everyone’s differences... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...Abbé—in the process. Later, Cosimo tells Baron Arminio that he doesn’t care about the ancestors. Battista is a rebel in her own way. After the mysterious affair of young Marquis della... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Battista’s insistence on cooking snails drives Cosimo and Biagio to rebellion. After Battista presents a dish... (full context)
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
Battista prepares snail soup and snails for the main course. Biagio, tired of fighting, gives in... (full context)
Chapter 3
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
...Cosimo’s legs dangling from the oak. The cavalier avvocato makes odd comments in Turkish, and Battista seems perturbed that she’s not the one keeping the family on edge. The Generalessa talks... (full context)
Chapter 5
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
From behind the Generalessa, Battista offers a dish in Cosimo’s direction, but Baron Arminio slaps her and sends her inside.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
Battista makes the final attempt to capture Cosimo by smearing his favorite tree in sticky birdlime... (full context)
Chapter 9
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...visit on his family’s way to France. Baron Arminio introduces Biagio and then explains that Battista won’t show since she’s a nun, but Battista appears in her nun’s cap, covered in... (full context)
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coming of Age, Family, and the Individual Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...family members about Cosimo when he gets to court. He also realizes he can’t see Battista and the young Count d’Estomac. Cosimo returns from an exploratory mission and declares that Battista... (full context)
Chapter 11
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
Civilization vs. Nature Theme Icon
...through. Despite this, Cosimo eventually stops attending Mass and it seems like he doesn’t attend Battista’s wedding. Later, Biagio learns that Cosimo was there, watching the festivities through a window. He... (full context)
Chapter 26
Education, Connectedness, and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
...troops remain in Ombrosa. The young Count d’Estomac leads the Austro-Sardinian troops, and he and Battista set up in Biagio’s house. Battista entertains everyone by beheading small animals with a model... (full context)
Chapter 28
Virtue, Dignity, and Kindness Theme Icon
The Age of Enlightenment vs. The Romantic Era Theme Icon
Battista and the young Count d’Estomac leave just in time to escape capture by the Republican... (full context)