A HAPPY AND HEALTHY SUMMER TO ALL OUR READERS........WE'LL BE BACK IN SEPTEMBER

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.

Info: http://whc.unesco.org

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.

M. STENHOUSE

Info: http://whc.unesco.org

 

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: www.iccrom.org www.g20.org www.coe.int it/g20 webinar

Posted on 25 Jul 2021 by Editor

The landmark “Terre degli Uffizi” (Uffizi Lands) itinerant exhibition sparked off on the 17th July in the medieval castle of Poppi, symbol of the Tuscany Casetino Valley, with its sacred La Verna forest. Promoted by the Uffizi Galleries of Florence and the Foundation Cassa di Risparmio, (a non-profit offshoot of the former savings bank of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany) the five exhibitions planned to run throughout the year aim to attract visitors to some of the lesser known historic towns of the area.

 

The Poppi exhibition, entitled “In the sign of Dante. Casentino in the Divine Comedy” will run until the 30th November 2021 and focusses on Dante's exile from Florence and his long sojourn at the castle of Count Guidi, the overlord of Poppi Castle. While he was there, he composed the XXXIII Canto of the “Inferno”, which includes the horror story of Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, imprisoned by his enemy Archbishop Ruggieri and starved to death along with his sons and grandsons.

The exhibition shows works of art dedicated to The Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. On loan is one of the Uffizi's most recent acquisitions: “Francesca da Rimini in Dante's Inferno” by 19th century artist Nicola Monte as well as seldom seen works such as “St. Francis Marries Poverty” by Beatrice Ancillotti Goretti and sketches by '500 artist Federico Zuccari.

The other exhibitions in this year's series:

San Godenzo (26th July - 5th August 2021): “Dante Alighieri and Andrea Del Castagno return to San Godenzo”

Anghiari (Arezzo - 12th August 2021 - 6th January 2022): “The World of Knights in Arms and the Renaissance Court”

Montespertoli (Florence - 25th August - 10th December 2021): “Valdesa Painters in the Style of Giotto”

Castigioni Fiorentino (Arezzo - 2nd October 2021 - 6th January 2022): “The Last Seal – the Stigmati of St. Francis and the Verna from the Uffizi Galleries Collections”

Info: www.uffizi.it www.ilbelcasentino.it

Posted on 22 Jul 2021 by Editor

 

One of Rome's major tourist attractions is the recently re-opened Domus Aurea, the remains of what was the fabulous Golden House of the Roman Emperor Nero on the Colle Oppio Hill overlooking the Colosseum.

Although the site was inaccessible to visitors during the Covid lockdown, restoration work never let up throughout the months of closure, resulting in additional spaces and rooms now on view and a more enhanced visitor experience.

A recent major improvement has been the construction of a new entrance linking the underground areas with the Oppio Park 6 metres above through an innovative pedestrian walkway designed by leading Milan architect Stefano Boeri. This allows a gradual descent through the various strata of the archaeological remains, which include Baths built by Trajan over the ruins of the palace.

The Domus Aurea was an enormous construction spread over 80 hectares and with more than a thousand rooms, all decorated with frescoes in the style of the famous stylized “Grotesques”, so called because the artists of the Renaissance who first ventured into the rooms believed they were in “grottos” or caves and not man-made buildings.

The current exhibition “Raphael and the Domus Aurea” that commemorates the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death, centres round the Octagonal Room, a masterpiece of Roman architecture, with five adjoining rooms animated with multimedial special effects and video-mapping, designed by the Interaction and Exhibit Design Studio Dotdotdot of Milan is guaranteed to fascinate visitors of all ages.

The exhibition runs until the 7th January 2022, while the Domus Aurea will continue to be open normally as one of Rome's major sights. At the moment, prior booking is required.

M.STENHOUSE

Info: www.parcocolosseo.it www.coopculture.it

Posted on 18 Jul 2021 by Editor

FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), the equivalent of the UK National Trust, has launched a series of guided evening excursions in some of the most magical spots in the Italian peninsula.

1) Villa Gregoriana at Tivoli, the botanical cliff-side garden created by Pope Gregorio XVI, one of Italy's most romantic gardens and a favourite subject among artists of the Grand Tour, can be explored by torchlight:

Dates: 17, 24 July and 7, 14, 21, 28 August 2021.

Info: Tel. +39.0774.332650 faigregoriana@fondoambiente.it

2) I Sassi al Tramonto sunset walk among the Matera “Sassi” (the rock caves where once the local population lived in total poverty, but now transformed into exclusive dwelling houses, restaurants and boutiques) following the paths used by the peasant farmers returning home from the fields. Sampling of local products included.

Dates: Every Friday between 9th July- 6th August at 6 pm.

Info: Tel. +39.0835.335452 fainoha@fondoambiente.it

3) BAIA DI IERANTO at Massa Lubrense. A three hour trek with a professional AIGAE guide (Italian Association Guida Ambientale Escursionistica) along the Punta Campanella promontory to admire the sun going down over Capri, Procida and the Gulf of Naples

Dates: 10,16,17,29,30,31 July – 5,7,12,13,16,19,20,21,26,27,28, August.

Info: Tel. +39.335.8410255 faiieranto@fondoambiente.it

Posted on 15 Jul 2021 by Editor

Il Sole 24Ore”, Italy's most prestigious financial newspaper, has published its 2021 review on the quality of life in the various Italian regions, according to the services available for three categories: the Elderly, Young People and Children.

In all three cases, the smaller provincial cities win out over the major cities of Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples which all lost points during the current Coronavirus epidemic.

If you are a Senior, the best place to live in is apparently Trento, followed by Ravenna, Bolzano, Aosta and Bologna.

Young people are best catered for in Ravenna, Ferrara, Forte-Cesena, Vercelli and Piacenza, while families with young children would be well to look for a house in Cagliari, Udine, Oristano, Gorizia and (again) Aosta, which all offer good childcare facilities for harassed Mums and Dads.

Factors taken into account include disposable income, job possibilities, available housing and rents, pension levels, public transport and services and the environment.

M.STENHOUSE

Info: lab24.ilsole24ore.com

Posted on 11 Jul 2021 by Editor

The Giants of Cabras, one of Sardinia's (and Italy's) little known archaeological treasures, are finally receiving the promotion they deserve. The Sardinian regional government has launched the exhibition: “Sardinia Megalithic Island – from Menhirs to Nuraghi: Stories of Stone in the Heart of the Mediterranean” in Berlin, scheduled to run till the end of September, as part of an international tour.

In view of the recently awakened interest in the unique prehistoric site of Cabras (Oristano) on the Sinis Peninsula, Italy's Culture Ministry has awarded a grant of 3 million euro to the recently constituted Foundation Mont'e Prama, which manages the Archaeological Park of Tharros and the Archaeological Museum of Cabras. The funds will be used to create visitor facilities.

The Giants, stone carved warriors over 2 metres in height, were discovered in the 1970s and languished for thirty years in the repositories of the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari till 2005 when restoration work began. Some of the statues were exhibited at special events over the next decade till a permanent home was finally found for them at their original discovery site of Cabras.

Scientists have not yet been able to definitely date the sculptures, which are believed to belong to the Sardinian Nuraghi culture somewhere between the 11th and 8th century BC. So far, 28 warriors have been reassembled from the fragments discovered: 16 represent boxers, 5 archers and the others soldiers.

Info: Tel. +39.0783290636 www.museocabras.it

Posted on 08 Jul 2021 by Editor

Not many people know that the humble little brown dried lentil has its moment of glory during the summer months when it comes into flower, mingling with thousands of wild flowers and transforming the three valleys of Pian Grande, Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto (this last within the territory of Marche) in the Sibillini Mountains into a vast carpet of brilliant colours. The phenomenon has become an ever expanding tourist attraction with motorists arriving from all over the region to admire the spectacle. So much so that the mountain roads leading to Castelluccia di Norcia (Umbria), the centre of the lentil cultivation, risk endless bottlenecks during the weekends.

The valley lies between the regions of Umbria and Marche. When the Umbria regional government at Perugia decided to close access during the peak weekends of 3-4 July and 10-11 July in order to avoid nose-to-tail traffic jams trying to reach the village of Castelluccia, Marche protested, along with the mayors of the five other scattered villages, who all rely on day tourists for much needed municipal income.

Meanwhile, the Municipality of Norcia, whose territory encompasses Castelluccio has decreed that on the two critical weekends, prior booking for access will be required in one of five designated parking lots, some of which provide a shuttle bus service.

In latter years, 80,000 visitors have visited the tiny borgo of Castelluccio during the flowering season between mid-May to mid-July. During the last weekend of June an estimated 26,000 cars invaded Pian Grande to see the spectacle of the flowering valley floors.

Info: www.castellucciodinorcia.it info@comune.norcia.pg.it

Posted on 04 Jul 2021 by Editor

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