This year's edition of the traditional procession in honour of Santa Rosa, the patron saint of Viterbo (Lazio) has had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, for the past couple of weeks, it has been possible to have a rare close up view of the spectacular 30 metre-high tower set up in front of the City Hall.

The “Macchina” is re-designed every few years according to a chosen theme. This year's version is “Gloria”, which succeeds “Flower of Heaven”. Constructed with fibre glass, resin and other materials supported by a steel frame, it is covered in elaborate carvings and weighs something like 5 tons. In normal years it is carried along a steep 1 km route through the narrow streets of the historic centre by over 100 “Facchini(bearers). The task is almost superhuman and the difficulties involved in transporting such a heavy and unwieldy construction have caused some dramatic incidents in the past, fortunately without fatal consequences.

The “Macchina di Santa Rosa” event is listed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Text & Photo M. STENHOUSE


Posted on 17 Sep 2021 by Editor








After a year's delay, due to Covid restrictions, Rimini has finally inaugurated its multi-museum dedicated to its celebrated son, film director Federico Fellini, creator of masterpieces like “La Dolce Vita” and “8½”.

The museum is distributed in three different venues: the Sismondo Castle, the Palazzo del Fulgor and Piazza Malatesta. Piazza Malatesta is already the cultural hub of Rimini, with the recently restored Galli theatre, inaugurated by Giuseppe Verdi, the PART modern art centre and the Sculpture Garden. The Fellini project included the restyling of the vast square in front of the Castle including the controversial creation of a pool of water to recall the original moat (since filled in and paved over). The Sismondo fortress is one of Italy's most important castles, designed with the contribution of Brunelleschi in 1438. It is to host exhibitions and projections. The Cinema Fulgor, on the ground floor of the 18th century Vallone Palace, is the iconic movie theatre featured in “Roma” and “Amarcord”, familiar to all Fellini fans

The opening of the Museum was originally planned for 2020 to celebrate the Fellini Centenary Year, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.


Info: Tel. +39.0541.704494

Posted on 14 Sep 2021 by Editor

The historic city of Ferrara is known more for its imposing castle and its city walls than for its gardens. The Interno Verde (Green Interior) event scheduled for the 11th - 12th October therefore promises to reveal many “green” surprises.

On those two days, the private gardens of the city will be open to visitors. The initiative offers exclusive experiences such as boat trips on the River Po Primaro (also known as the “dead Po” since it has been transformed into a canal flowing through the city) and the Po Volano (which leads into the river delta rich in bird life), contemporary dance performances, open air concerts, exhibitions of contemporary art, themed walks and picnics.

Participants will be given a visitor's kit complete with map and a guide book with a special cover made of algae gathered from threatened water lands

For the occasion Visit Ferrara Consorzio offers discounts on hotel bookings under the code: internoverde2021.

Info: +39.0532.783944/340 7423984

Posted on 10 Sep 2021 by Editor

Little Amal, the giant 3.5m-tall puppet of a young refugee girl, made by the South African Hand Spring Puppet Company, famous for their creation of “War Horse”, is visiting Naples on the 8th - 9th September 2021.

Little Amal is on an 8000 km journey from Turkey to London in order to highlight the plight of refugee children everywhere.

A warm welcome is prepared for her in Naples, where she will appear in the Royal Woods of the Capodimonte Palace and then in the Quartiere Sanità, a busting, densely populated area of the city. The events include music, dance spectacles and special events for children.


Posted on 08 Sep 2021 by Editor

The 7th edition of the highly successful Mediaval Festival at the historic town of Gubbio (Umbria) will run between the 22-26th September 2021, and, in view of the fact this is the 600th anniversary of the death of the great poet Dante Alighieri, this year's theme will be: “Il Tempo di Dante” (Dante's Times).

The Festival, the brainchild of Umbrian journalist Federico Fioravanti, has gone from strength to strength since the first edition in 2015 and each year it concentrates on different aspects and themes.

The packed 5 day-long programme lists lectures by historians, writers and Dante experts from all over the world.

But it is not all heavy stuff. Some of the talks have intriguing titles such as “Dante between Dylan, rock n' roll and pop music”, “Dante and Advertising”, “Dante in Tweets,” “Dante and Comics” and “The table of the Poet with the dishes set before Dante and Boccaccio”.

On a more serious note, one session is devoted to “The Secret Language of Dante's Faithful (“fans” in contemporary language) where Dante has inspired famous modern authors like Pound, Eliot, Joyce and Borges.

The Festival always devotes a section to Tolkien, the popular fantasy writer of “The Lord of the Rings”, set in a magical era relating to the Middle Ages. This year, the focus will be on connections between the worlds created by Tolkien and l'Inferno of Dante Alighiere.

Festival partners include the Study and Research Centre of the Italian Historic Institute of Medievalism and the Medieval Among Us organization, with the patronage of the University of Urbino Carlo Bo.

Info & bookings at

Posted on 04 Sep 2021 by Editor

With Covid-19 still very much among us, it is interesting to see how Renaissance authorities coped with epidemics. An exhibition currently running in Venice gives a fascinating insight into the official measures taken to try to keep the deadly plague under control.

For centuries, the Plague, also known as the Black Death, decimated the population of Europe at recurring intervals. Without vaccines there was no cure, so how did societies cope? The Republic of Venice was one of the leaders in the field of 16th century prevention as illustrated in the fascinating exhibition “La Pandemica, una lunga storia: dalla Peste al Covid-19” (Pandemics, a long history: from the Plague to Covid-19) currently on show in the colonnaded entrance hall to Venice's public hospital - the Saints John and Paul Hospital, known locally as the San Zanipolo, in the Venetian dialect.

The exhibition shows a series of rare documents from the archives of the renaissance Scuola Grande di San Marco, the former seat of the St. Mark Confraternity (lay charitable institution), founded in the early Middle Ages. This magnificent building now constitutes the monumental entrance to the hospital. The documents illustrate how the authorities attempted to limit the spread of devastating infectious diseases in the past. Already in the early 16th century, the Venetian Senate introduced precautionary measures including an official pass (on display) attesting that the bearer was not a carrier of the contagion, the equivalent to today's EU Digital Covid Certificate.

No foreigners could enter Venice without this pass, which came in two forms – one for travellers arriving by land and another for those who came by sea, in which the port city of departure had been certified Plague-free. This was an important distinction as it was already known that ships were the main culprits regarding infection diffusion. A false document brought severe punishment or even the death penalty. This practice was subsequently copied by many other European cities.

The concept of quarantine was also introduced by the Venetian Senate in 1423 with the institution of the first Lazzaretto island on the lagoon, where plague sufferers were isolated from the rest of the population. Vinegar was used as a disinfectant, including full immersion in a tub, and the clothes and objects belonging to victims who died were burnt.

Little else could be done once the contagion caught on. Masks were worn and sufferers and their families would be subjected to home confinement. Evidently not much has changed during the last six centuries!

The exhibition is part of the 1600 anniversary celebrations of the foundation of Venice, which has been officially dated to 421AD. It is running until the beginning of October, with a planned digital version to be launched on the 13th September 2021



Posted on 01 Sep 2021 by Editor


Posted on 31 Jul 2021 by Editor

Announced only yesterday (28th July 2021) at the 44th edition of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, meeting in Fuzhou (Republic of China), the inclusion of the ancient beech forests of Calabria in the UNESCO list.

The area consists of 8000 hectares of natural and unspoiled mountain woodland stretching over the regions of Aspromonte, Pollino and the Gargano peninsula and will be part of a vast transnational protected area, “the Ancient Beech Woods of Europe”, spanning several European countries, in which scientists will study the ability of this primordial ecosystem to adapt to climate change and preserve biodiversity.


Posted on 29 Jul 2021 by Editor


With the recent additions of Padua Urbs Picta, Montecatini Terme and the Porticoes of Bologna, Italy tops the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, with a total 58 unique sites.

For the town of Padua, this is a dual triumph as it already has official UNESCO recognition of its historic Botanical Garden, a double honour it shares with Tivoli, which can boast Hadrian's Villa and the Villa d'Este.

Whereas the election of Padua's amazing cycle of paintings in the 14th century Scrovegni Chapel comes as no surprise, the Montecatini Spa is less well known for its art nouveau architecture and décor, placing it among the Great Spa Towns of Europe category in the UNESCO listing.

The Montecatini Spa consists of four natural hot springs, proven since 1417 to be efficacious for digestive problems. However, the spa attained world fame after it was launched in grand style by the Grand Duke Leopold of Lorena towards the end of the 19th century, when it was frequented by the royalty of Europe and major personalities of the arts. The entire complex was restructured in 1916, on the model of the magnificent Terme establishments of Ancient Rome, with a monumental entrance and decorated with sculptures, ceramic tiles and wall paintings in typical Liberty style, immersed in a huge public park.

Bologna's great network of covered porticoes stretching for a total 62 kms all round the city centre, closed the latest trio of Italian World Heritage sites nominated to the UNESCO list. A characteristic 12 kms of historic corridors were selected to represent the entire portico system.




Posted on 29 Jul 2021 by Editor

Between the 29th - 30th July, Rome will host the G20 of Culture, instituted by the Council of Europe at the last G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia in November 2020, when an important discussion was held on “the rise of the Cultural Economy...a new paradigm”, in which the important contribution that cultural activities make to economic development was officially recognized for the first time.

Rome's Cultural Ministry plans to pull out all the stops to make the event a splendid occasion to highlight Rome's unique artistic heritage. Participants will be dazzled by the venues chosen for the three-day event which will host 20 ministers plus the delegates from the participating countries. The Opening Ceremony will be held in the Colosseum, while summit meetings will take place in the vast salone in the Baroque palace of the Palazzo Barberini Gallery under the celebrated ceiling of the Divine Providence, painted by Pietro da Cortona. Delegates will also be treated to a concert by the Youth Orchestra Luigi Cherubini, directed by Riccardo Muti, at the Presidential Quirinale Palace and to a special guided tour of the Borghese Galleries.

Proceedings will be broadcast on 3 international Webinars on the Youtube channel of the Italian Ministry of Culture.

During the delegates' visit some streets and sights will be closed for security reasons.

Organizers assure that visitors with prepaid tickets will be entitled to a refund.

Info: it/g20 webinar

Posted on 25 Jul 2021 by Editor

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