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

ITALY OPENS EUROPE'S LONGEST ROAD TUNNEL

Italy scored a coup with the longest three-lane road gallery in Europe, the Santa Lucia tunnel, on the Autostrada del Sole Highway tract between Florence and Bologna, inaugurated on the 4th April 2022. The tunnel is expected to cut motoring time by 30% and should decrease CO2 emissions by -2000 tons per year.

The 7.5 km. Santa Lucia tunnel runs under the Apennines on the Barberino-Florence section of the highway. The Florence -Bologna is one of the busiest roads in Italy, with a transit peak period average of 100 vehicles per minute.

Work on the gallery began in July 2017 and involved the use of the biggest tunnel boring machine (commonly referred to as a “mole”) ever employed in Europe and specially adapted for the project – the German Herrenknecht TMB, with an earth pressure balance shield of 15.87 meter – diameter. Tunnelling was completed in June 2020 and the subsequent work has been involved in perfecting security systems and testing.

Italy's Autostrada del Sole (Sun Highway), linking Milan with Naples, was considered revolutionary when it was launched in 1964. Since then, many more tracts have been added over the years, linking all the regions of the country, including the Reggio Calabria “toe of the boot”, the door to Sicily.

Info: www.stradeautostrade.it

Posted on 04 Apr 2022 by Editor

ITALY'S LISTED STOLEN TREASURES

The annual report Arte in Ostaggio” (Art held in hostage”) issued by the headquarters of the special branch of the Italian carabiniere for the protection of cultural heritage (TPC), is now available online. The reports contains lists of the most important works that have been stolen or illegally smuggled out of Italy.

Detailed information and photographs of the art works in question are given to help international police and antique dealers to identify paintings, antiquities and objets d'art of dubious provenance.

Among the “Wanteds” listed this year are an oil painting attributed to Luca Giordano: “Santa Maria della Luce”, (Our Lady of Light) looted in 1971 from the Church of Santa Maria della Luce in the town of Mattinata in Apulia, a 4th century AD polychrome mosaic panel of a “Musiciolus” (a competition judge) lifted in the 1980s from the Roman baths in the archaeological area of Via Severino, Rome, and a 16th century oil painting of “The Visitation” by Claudio Ridolfi, stolen from a private house in 2018.

Thanks to the regular publication of these reports, 131 works of art have so far been recovered.

The lists can be freely consulted on the following links:

http://tpcweb.carabiniere.it/SitoPubblico/bollettini

www.cultura.gov.it/carabinieritpc

Posted on 01 Apr 2022 by Editor

GUIDO RENI SURPRISES AT VILLA BORGHESE

Rome's prestigious Villa Borghese Gallery comes back to normal after Covid with a thought-provoking exhibition of the most important works of leading Baroque artist Guido Reni.

The exhibition was inspired, explained curator Francesca Cappelletti, by the recovery of the lost “Danza Campestre” (Country Dance), the only known landscape to have been painted by Reni.

The painting was part of the original collection of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, one of Rome's most important 17th century patron of the arts, but was sold in the 19th century. All traces of it were lost until 2008, when it re-appeared on the London antiques marketplace. The Borghese Gallery bought it in 2020 and has put it on display for the first time in the “Guido Reni- il Sacro e la Natura” (Guido Reni – Sacred and Nature) special exhibition, running currently until the 22nd May 2022.

The painting gives a detailed and intimate glimpse into country festivities of the time, with groups of young men in hunter's garb and girls in their Sunday best, gathered in the countryside around an open space for dancing. A detail that will arouse visitors' curiosity are the two flies lightly placed in the top right corner of the painting, as if they had been imprisoned in the oil.....

The theme running through the other works on display is the link between sculptures and other paintings that inspired Reni, in particular the sculpture groups by his contemporary Gianlorenzo Bernini.

MARGARET STENHOUSE

Info: Tel.+39.068413979 ga-bor@beniculturali.it (prior booking obligatory)

Posted on 28 Mar 2022 by Editor

WAS AMERICA INHABITED BY GIANTS?

MILAN UNIVERSITY REVEALS SURPRISING MEDIEVAL DOCUMENT

Researchers at the State University of Milan have uncovered a forgotten document that would seem to prove that a voyage of discovery to the New World was undertaken 150 years before the epic voyage of Christopher Columbus. The little known Latin document, entitled “Cronica universalis”, written by Dominican friar Galvano Fiamma, contains a reference to a land called Marckalada, which researchers believe conforms to the name Markland in the Norse chronicles.

The text, translated by PD student Giulia Greco, as part of a special project coordinated by Paolo Chiesa, chair professor of Medieval Latin Literature says: “the sailors who pass the seas of Denmark and Norway recount that beyond Norway, north of Iceland, and then an island called Greenland..and then further towards the west is the land called Marckalada where the inhabitants are giants. There are buildings constructed of stones so big that no man, but only giants, would be able to put them in place There are many green trees and many animals and birds live there. But no seaman has managed to get certain news about this land and its characteristics”.

The document would appear to confirm Scandinavian legends concerning landings on the American continent by Viking heroes centuries before the clamorous Columbus discovery. Galvani is believed to have obtained his information from Genoese seamen who traded steadily with the northern countries.

The State University of Milan is one of the biggest universities in Europe with some 60,000 students and 2000 permanent teaching and research staff.

Info: Tel. +39.02.50325032 www.unimi.it

Posted on 24 Mar 2022 by Editor

ITALY OFFERS TO REBUILD MARIUPOL THEATRE

Italy's Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini, has announced that Italy is prepared to rebuild the Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre at Mariupol, recently destroyed by bombing in the current Ukraine-Soviet war. “The theatres of every country belong to all mankind,” he declared. His proposal to supply the Ukraine with the materials and resources to reconstruct the theatre as soon as possible was at once approved by the Italian Parliament.

Info: www.beniculturale.it

Posted on 20 Mar 2022 by Editor

POMPEII FORESTS

A vast tree replanting project has been launched at the ruined city of Pompeii, near Naples. Over 4000 trees and shrubs typical of the Roman period are to be added to the existing sacred wood just outside the Amphitheatre Gate, inspired by the garden scenes frescoed on the walls of many of the houses, with oaks, ilex, elms, plane trees and tamarisk, interspersed with shrubs representing immortality like myrtle, mastic tree, rose bushes and arbutus.

This is only a part of a wide-scale tree planting project to create a green belt around the old city walls, already begun in some months ago in the area between the Gate of the Amphitheatre and the Nola Gate, with cypress trees, arbutus and Pompeii pines.

The new woodlands will provide recreational and environmentally friendly areas for visitors to the archaeological site.

The new Pompeii urban wood will be the 18th green belt created by Arbolia, a joint venture enterprise involving the Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Snam s.p.a., the leading Italian energy infrastructure company. Arbolia aims to plan three million trees in Italy by 2030, that will be able to absorb 200,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Info: http://pompeiisites.org www.arbolio.it

Posted on 16 Mar 2022 by Editor

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