SARDINIAN NEW GIANTS TO JOIN THE REGIMENT

A new archaeological coup for Sardinia! Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of another two Iron Age warriors to join the 30 monumental statues found over the years in the unique necropolis at Mont' e Prama, Cabras, on the western coast of the island in the province of Oristano.

The necropolis was first discovered in 1974 and has since yielded some 30 giant boxers and archers, each well over 2m in height, which are now on display in the Giovanni Marongiu Civic Museum of Cabras and in the Cagliari Archaeology Museum.

Recent excavations have revealed that the site is an enormous cemetery, with an ceremonial funeral road flanking the tombs, which contained the remains of young men. No elderly people, no children and few women have been found in the 170 graves so far investigated.

Archaeologists believe that the “Giants” were guardians placed on the site. The statues subsequently fell over through the course of time and were gradually concealed under the earth.

Sardinia is rich in Iron Age archeological sites, with remains of villages, fortifications and burial grounds scattered over the island. On the opposite coast from Cabras, for instance, is the S'Ena e Thomes at Dorgali (Nuoro) with the “Giant's Tomb” dating to the Bronze Age – an impressive structure with a dolmen and a towering central stele.

Info: Tel. +39.0783 290636 www.museocabras.it

Posted on 15 May 2022 by Editor

GENOA'S SUPERBAROCCO SPLENDOUR

The SCUDERIE DEL QUIRINALE (the Quirinale Stables), Rome's major exhibition venue, has finally put on the major exhibition: “Superbaroque, Art in Genoa from Rubens to Magnasco”, delayed due to the pandemic crisis. The exhibition was first conceived in Genoa as a tribute to the opening of the new San Giorgio Bridge in 2020, which replaced the old Morandi Bridge that collapsed, with tragic consequences, in August 2018.

This exhibition, organized with the collaboration of the Washington National Gallery of Art, was originally programmed to debut in Washington but had to be cancelled, again due to Covid. The US museum, however, continues to maintain the role of co-organizer. The Superbaroque presentation therefore has its first showing in Rome. It features 120 works of art, many on loan from international museums and private collections and focusses on the Genoese Baroque of the 17th and 18th centuries – a period of incredible splendour and prosperity for the “Superba” (the Proud City) as Genoa was called, thanks to the wealth and prosperity it enjoyed.

The status of its leading citizens (Genoa was a republic) is reflected in the magnificent portraits and religious paintings they commissioned from leading Flemish masters like Van Dyck and Rubens. The exhibition opens, in fact, with Rubens' triumphant equestrian portrait of the young Giovan Carlo Doria, elevated to the rank of Knight of St. James of Santiago by the King of Spain. An entire room is dedicated to Van Dyck's striking portraits of aristocratic personages, clad in their magnificent and costly garments.

Another section is dedicated to the development of the still life genre and country scenes, often under the guise of religious subjects or mythological themes, imbued with the individual touch of artists like the impulsive and violent Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, known as Il Grechetto, Valerio Castello and Alessandro Magnasco.

The wealth enjoyed by the upper classes in the period is also represented by a silver statue of the “Immaculate Madonna” from the Museum of the Treasure of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, marble sculptures by Francesco Bigi and stunning pieces of furniture like the spectacular amethyst-topped table by Genovese master woodcarver Ludovico Francesco Perini.

Superbarocco: Arte in Genoa da Rubens a Magnasco” runs till the 3rd July 2022.

M. STENHOUSE

Info: Tel. Call centre +39.02.92897722 www.scuderiequirinale.it

Posted on 11 May 2022 by Editor

ROME'S MOST SURPRISING MUSEUM

The MAAM (Museo dell'Altro e dell'Altrove – Museum of the Other and Elsewhere) is not only Rome's most unusual museum - it is unique. A former squatter's refuge in a former salami factory, it is now the third largest contemporary art museum in Rome, with the unique tag, according to founder Giorgio de Finis, that it is the only museum in the world that people actually live in. The inhabitants include immigrants, refugees and Italians down-on-their luck, forming a closely forged community over the past thirteen years.

The MAAM, in fact, is part of the self-styled city of Metropoliz created in a Roman suburb by 60 homeless families, who moved into the abandoned 20,000 sqm premises in 2009. The site also attracted artists, looking for studio and exhibition space. To date, Metropoliz has attracted over 400 artists from all over the world who have filled the ex-warehouse premises with murals, sculptures, installations and other art works. One of the most arresting areas is the ex-slaughter house, now re-christened the “Porcine Chapel”, where the walls are covered symbolically in paintings of pigs hanging from hooks, which, however, free themselves and fly off at the end of the cycle.

The site has been threatened with closure many times, but de Finis has met threats of demolition by covering all the walls with art works, some of which by well-known artists who command high market prices. No authority, he says, would dare destroy a mural worth thousands! The number of celebrated artists who have exhibited in the MAAM include Michelangelo Pistoletto, who showed his “Venere Callipigia” (Venus of the Rags) sculpture (normally part of the Castle of Rivoli, Turin) collection) at Metropoliz for several months as part of a charity campaign.

MAAM is open to the public by prior booking and visitors can join in the communal lunch on Saturdays.

Info: Facebook: MAAM Museo dell'Altro e dell'Altrove di Metropoliz

 

Posted on 07 May 2022 by Editor

A LONG WALK TO CHINA

Three cheers for intrepid long-distance hiker Vienna Cammarota who has just started her epic trek from Venice to China, in the footsteps of Marco Polo!

72 year-old Vienna is a veteran trekker who has completed long-distance hikes in Tibet, Palestine, Bohemia, Patagonia, Madagascar, the Amazon and other remote corners of the world, as well as a 2000-km trek through Italy, Austria and Germany in 2017-2018 following the itinerary of Goethe's “Viaggio in Italia.”

A native of the Cilento region, Campania, Italy, Vienna is an environmental tour guide and elected Ambassador of the Italian Archeoclub Association of archeological and cultural conservation.

Her new, even more ambitious walk, which she is undertaking in the name of peace, will cover a total 22,000 kms over the traditional Silk Route. With her pack on her back, she will traverse 15 different countries, including the Balkan states, Iran, Azerbijan, Kyrgystan and Mongolia, where she will face, totally alone, the challenges of harsh climatic conditions, desert and mountainous terrain, and possible hostile and dangerous situations.

Vienna aims to reach Beijing in December 2025 after an expected three years “on the road”. Her feat should qualify her for entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Info: Tel.+39.06 44202250 www.archeoclubitalia.it

Posted on 03 May 2022 by Editor

 

 

UFFIZI TOPS COLOSSEUM

For the first time, visitors numbers at the Uffizi Galleries in Florence in 2021 overtook those of Rome's Colosseum, traditionally Italy's top tourist attraction. The Uffizi's dynamic curator, Eike Schmidt commented with satisfaction on the boom of post-Covid visitors, who hit the 1.721.637 mark - 100,000 more than the celebrated Rome amphitheatre.

Interest in young visitors soared with the Vogue magazine photoshoot of popular blogger Chiara Ferragni, a Forbes-ranking “Top Fashion Influencer”. Shots of Chiara posing for the cameras in front of some of the Uffizi's most celebrated paintings last July made a huge social media impact, stimulating interest in young people who would not normally have flocked to museums and art galleries. Despite some criticism from purists concerning “the appropriateness” of allowing the photoshoot inside the Uffizi's hallowed halls, the general consensus was the “the end justified the means” and that encouraging art appreciation in the new generation could only have a positive outcome......

Info: Tel. +39.055 294883 www.uffizifirenze.it

Posted on 28 Apr 2022 by Editor

KEEP THE DATES......with the POETS

The Keats-Shelley Memorial House Museum in Rome is launching the second part of its two-year bi-centenary programme commemorating the poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who both died in Italy within two years of each other and who are both buried in the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome.

The celebration programme was launched in February 2020 at the British Ambassador's residence in Rome, followed by the launch of the video- documentary “The Death of Keats”, premiered on the 23rd February 2021.

Despite the problems presented by pandemic restrictions, a series of online presentations, documentaries and readings have continued to be broadcast on YouTube over the past year by the Keats-Shelley House, in preparation for the main events programmed for this year.

John Keats died of tuberculosis on February 23rd 1821 in what was a modest inn that has now become the Museum dedicated to the two poets on the Spanish Steps. He was only twenty-five. Percy Bysshe Shelley was 29 when he was drowned in the Gulf of La Spezia on July 8th 1822. Both poets, although not popular in their lifetimes, subsequently achieved unparalleled fame and recognition, leaving an indelible mark on poetry in the English speaking world and beyond.

Shelley will be the focus of the Lerici Shelley Poetry Festival to be held between the 16th-19th June 2022. Special guest will be UK Poet Laureate and Keats-Shelley Ambassador200, Simon Armitage. The Festival will feature contemporary poetry in both English and Italian, with main venue the splendid setting of the 19th century Villa Marigola, whose English-style gardens are listed among the Most Beautiful Gardens of Italy.

The Bicentenary Commemorative day follows on the 8th July 2022 in collaboration with the sister Keats-Shelley Association of America with a global online reading of “The Triumph of Life,” Shelley's last, unfinished work, translations of which will be recited in various languages, followed by a debate on the last days of the poet's life.

From the 8th July until the 10th December 2022, the focus will be on “Adonais”, the poem-elegy that Shelley dedicated to Keats, as a double tribute with a special exhibition in the KS House.

Celebrations are still in the air, however, with Lord Byron's Bicentenary events starting in 2023, so keep in touch.....

Info: YouTube: TheKeatsShelleyHouse www.ksh.roma.it

Posted on 24 Apr 2022 by Editor

The Flower Festival of Merano (Alto Adige) returns promptly this year to usher in the spring. A regular appointment for cultivators and public alike, the Festival is known for its tradition of introducing rare and new plants. This year's version, in fact, displays exotic flora from four continents with considerable space given to rare examples of cacti, succulents and orchids, while a special display entitled: Wunderkammer Botanica - Rare and Precious Plants of the Past for the Gardens of the Future” is dedicated to the vast and little-known family of Araliacee from New Zealand and Asia.

The Festival runs between the 23rd -25th April 2022

Info: Tel. +39.0473 272000 www.merano.eu/meranoflowerfestival

Posted on 20 Apr 2022 by Editor

HAPPY EASTER

TO ALL OUR FRIENDS

Posted on 15 Apr 2022 by Editor

LAZIO'S MYSTERIOUS TOMBS AND THE COSMIC EGG

In 1982, the unexpected discovery of some mysterious rock tombs, hidden under thick vegetation in the Alban hills some 30 kms from Rome, opened a whole new window of research concerning the prehistoric civilization of the region before the rise and dominance of Rome.

The two Grotticelle tombs on the slopes of the supposed extinct Lazio volcano have since been the subject of exploration on the part of committed local researchers and writers Daniele Cataldi and Riccardo Bellucci who have published some interesting conclusions concerning the tombs, as well as the possible situation of the mysterious town of Alba Longa, capital of the Latin peoples, defeated by the early Romans (according to Roman chroniclers) at the Battle of Lake Regillus in 496 BC.

The Grotticelle tombs were both dug out of the rock and consisted of a narrow passageway entrance leading into a semi-circular burial chamber, large enough to contain more than one person. In 2007-2009 the tombs were cleared out and measured by state archaeologists and researchers from the University of Tor Vergata, Rome, who noted that the dromos, or entry corridor, of one of the tombs was the longest (9.60m ) so far found in this kind of tomb in Italy.

Even more fascinating is the strange monument known as “the Cosmic Egg” - an egg-shaped rock “temple”, with an oval chamber carved out at the top. This is situated in the same area, on the slopes of the crater lake Albano. This type of monument, which apparently originated in Mesopotamia, would appear to be unique in an Italian context.

Info: riccardobellucci61@gmail.com Itpaobserverproject@gmail.com

Posted on 12 Apr 2022 by Editor

AMALFI'S HISTORIC PAPER MUSEUM RE-OPENS

Amalfi (Campania) has re-opened its historic paper mill museum after a prolonged closure due to Covid pandemic regulations. The Paper Museum is a unique institution situated inside a historic 13th century mill, where visitors can observe the time-honoured bambagina process of converting rags into handmade paper using the newly restored traditional machinery.

The high quality of Amalfi paper was greatly appreciated over the centuries – among the distinguished customers were the Vatican and Mozart.

The mills were situated in the Valle dei Mulini (Valley of Mills), fed by the Canneto stream. At one point there were sixteen working mills in the valley, but most were destroyed during a catastrophic flood in 1954, leaving only three still operative.

The Paper Museum is open every day between 10-19.

Info: Tel. +39.089.8304561 www.amalfipapermuseum.com info@museodellacarta.it

Posted on 08 Apr 2022 by Editor

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