Despite the momentary drop in visitor numbers due to the present Coronavirus restrictions, the “Village Hotel” (Albergo Diffuso) complex of Borgotufi in Castel del Giudice, Isernia (Molise) can count itself as one of the most successful recovery programmes of an Italian village on the brink of abandonment.

In 2016, the villagers and the town council got together with a local entrepreneur to transform the many empty stone built houses and barns into modern accommodation for nature-lovers and visitors looking for a peaceful retreat. Preserving the authentic characteristics of the traditional village, some 25 accommodation units with all mod cons and facilities have been created, offering a total 100 beds, as well as a spa and wellness centre.

Activities include rafting on the Sarno River, guided tours of the nearby Samnite Theatre of Pietroabbondanza and the “Apple Museum” - the 35 hectares of abandoned fields surrounding the village which has been replanted as an organic apple orchard with 60 different varieties of apples.

Right now, it is an unparalleled open air astronomical observatory for viewing the night sky, with the help of a specially developed “Sky Map” to help identify the constellations.

Info: Tel. +39.0865. 946820

Posted on 10 Aug 2020 by Editor

The feast day of San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence) on the 10th August is traditionally the night for wishing on a star, as it coincides with the period of the annual meteor showers known as the Perseides, when “falling stars” can frequently be seen.

The ideal place for observing the phenomenon must be the Astrovillaggio (Star Village) in Val d'Ega, near Bolzano, claimed to have the “finest night skies” by Astronomitaly, an organization aimed at promoting tourism linked to astronomical observations.

The Astrovillaggio claims to be the first of its kind in Europe. Situated high in the unpolluted regions of the Dolomites, it offers visitors a unique experience of familiarizing with our neighbours in the solar system and the universe beyond. The “village” includes the Astronomic Observatory Max Valier di San Valentino in Campo di Sopra, the Peter Anich Solar Observatory and the Sentiero dei Pianeti (Trek of the Planets), with guided outdoor excursions for direct viewings of the night sky.

Info: Tel. +39.0471.610020/619560

Posted on 07 Aug 2020 by Editor

During the Covid19 lockdown work has continued on many of Italy's most famous archaeological sites. When Herculaneum re-opened in June 2020, visitor experience was enhanced by the re-opening of the House of the Deer, with important restoration work completed on the previously crumbling facade and the cryptoporticus decorated with brightly coloured still lifes of fruit and vegetables.s The domus takes its name from two sculptures of deer attacked by dogs which decorated the garden area.

Francesco Sirano, Director of the Park of Herculaneum, can also vaunt the re-opening of the 3-storey House of the Bicentenary, which was opened last year after a 35-year closure. The 600 sqm building, decorated with frescos of mythological scenes, is one of the most important Roman residences in the ancient city.

Info: Tel. +39.081.7777008/7324321

Posted on 03 Aug 2020 by Editor


The last word in thrills for “immersion travellers” are helicopter flights over the crater of Vesuvius and the lost cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. So-called “immersion travel” is becoming ever more popular with independent tourists looking for unusual and in-depth experiences.

The growing request for more specialized travel experiences in Italy has been picked up by a number of tour operators, including Italian startup operation -, which offers independent travellers a wide range of exclusive tours to lesser known beauty spots and treasures of the Italian peninsula. They include tours in the iconic vintage Fiat 600, motor yacht tours of the Amalfi Coast, taste trips among Umbria truffles and SuperTuscan wines, exclusive visits of lesser known destinations such as Vinci, Chiavari, the wine hills of the Langhe, the medieval San Fruttuoso Abbey, the Barbagia Mountain park in Sardinia and many others.

Info: Tel. +39.0656567418

Posted on 30 Jul 2020 by Editor

Verona is not the only Italian city that can boast a couple of tragic lovers. The city of Mantua (Veneto) has its own pair – an unnamed young man and woman lie locked in an eternal embrace in the National Archaeological Museum in Piazza Castello, within the perimeter of the celebrated Ducal Palace.

The lovers, housed in a glass coffin in the museum, date back to the prehistoric era. The young couple, who were no older than twenty, died sometime between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago. They lie face to face, with their arms around each other, in an eternal embrace.

Archaeologists found the grave in 2007 while excavating a Roman villa near San Giorgio di Mantova, but the Amanti di Valdarno” (the Lovers of the Arno Valley), as they are called, only found a final resting place among the museum exhibits in 2017.

Flint arrow heads and knives were also found near the bodies, but archaeologists found no evidence of violent death and their story remains a mystery that will probably never be solved.

Info: Tel. +39.0376 320003

Posted on 27 Jul 2020 by Editor

Leading Veneto organic honey, jams and chocolate spread producer, Rigoni di Asiago, has embarked on its fifth project to sponsor the restoration of works of art. The programme was launched by the company in 2015 and involves initiatives in five key Italian art citiesMilano, Venice, Rome, Matera and Florence.

The latest project is part of the Florence I Care project, promoted by the city of Florence. The Rigoni di Asiago contribution is the restoration of a series of lunette paintings by a group of 17th-18th century painters in the cloister of Santa Maria Novella, now part of the church museum. The frescoes were badly damaged during the Arno flood in 1966 when they were detached from the walls in order to save them.

Rigoni di Asiago entered the field of art preservation five years ago with the recovery of the historic entrance to the Brera Palace in Milan, known as the Atrio dei Gesuiti (Jesuits' Atrium) in 2016-17, followed by the restoration of the statue of San Teodoro in the Ducal Palace of Venice, then the “Venice Marries the Sea” fountain in Palazzo Venezia, Rome (2018) and the recovery of the rock church of San Giovanni in Monterrone in Matera (2019).

Rigoni di Asiago was one of the first food producers in the EU to obtain organic certification in 1992.


Posted on 24 Jul 2020 by Editor

An application has been filed with UNESCO to have the unique Neapolitan espresso coffee included in the Intangible Heritage of Humanity list. As anyone who visits Naples will know, a coffee in a bar is not simply a pick-you-up drink, but a ritual, deeply embedded in the culture of the city. It's where you meet friends, take business associates, clinch deals and get the latest news.

A morning shot of espresso is considered so important, in fact, that the custom of the caffé sospeso developed here, whereby anyone who wishes can leave a paid coffee at the till for any unfortunate who can't afford to buy his own.

Both the espresso machine used in bars and the ubiquitous moka coffee pot were invented by Italians. The moka (named after the city of Mocha in the Yemen) was developed by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and commercialized by his son Renato, who introduced the traditional Bialetti coffee pot into almost every Italian home, where it still holds its own today, despite competition from the modern and heavily advertised “cialde” or coffee capsules. The moka has the advantage of lasting almost a lifetime, as it is possible to buy replacement parts, like filters, gaskets and rubber sealing rings at low cost. An antidote to our 21st century culture of “readily disposible”?

Margaret Stenhouse


Posted on 21 Jul 2020 by Editor

Despite the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic, Rome's traditional summer cultural programme goes ahead – with some important modifications for safety reasons.

This year, the popular Caracalla Opera will not take place as usual inside the ruins of the Roman Baths, but will be transferred to the equally important Roman archeological site of the Maximus Circus. The dimensions of the Circus allow the erection of a vast stage of 1,500 sqm for performances and seating for 1000 spectators, respecting the rules of social distancing. The season opens with “Rigoletto” on the 16th July and offers a total of 21 spectacles of opera, ballet, concerts and gala evenings until the 13th August 2020.

Meanwhile, Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica has also moved out into the open, with an inaugural Beethoven concert by the Santa Cecilia Orchestra conducted by internationally celebrated Antonio Pappano, in the Cavea (outdoor courtyard) of the concert hall. A series of events are programmed throughout the summer.


Posted on 18 Jul 2020 by Editor


The charming resort of Positano on the Amalfi Coast has long been celebrated for its stunning cliff-side position overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, its unique Positano fashion style and its VIP lifestyle.

But its attractions are not a modern phenomenon. It was a favoured retreat also for the ancient Romans. Evidence of the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed a couple of thousand years ago has been uncovered underneath the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in the heart of the old town.

Although the lavishly decorated villa has been known since the mid 18th century when archaeologists were excavating Pompeii, Herculanum and Stabiae, it has only been brought to light in the last ten years and opened to the public a couple of years ago, after lengthy and delicate restoration work.

The remains of the vast triclinium lie 11m under the medieval crypt of the church. Access has been created through glass and steel stairways and passages in order to not obstruct the view of the excavated dining hall, frescoed with a brightly coloured world of mythological creatures, heroes, gods, birds and animals. The villa was badly damaged during the Pompeii eruption of 79AD and was buried under landslide of pumice stone and mud, which helped preserve the amazing riot of colours.

The owner is thought to have been the rich and powerful Posides Claudi Caesaris, a friend of the emperor Claudius, and from whom Positano took its name

Info: MaR Positano Museo Archeologico Romano

Tel. +39.331 2085821

Posted on 14 Jul 2020 by Editor


Well-known street artist Harry Greb got to work immediately after the announcement of the death of composer Ennio Morricone, dedicating a mural homage in Via delle Fratte in the Trastevere district of Rome where the maestro was born.

Morricone is shown in a characteristic pose, holding a finger to his mouth for silence. In his other hand he holds one of the two Oscar statuettes he won – one awarded for his career in 2007 and the other for the soundtrack of “The Hateful Eight” in 2016.

He was a prolific composer, who wrote classical symphonies as well as popular songs. But he is best remembered for the haunting music that accompanied films like “Mission”, “A Fistful of Dollars”, “Cinema Paradise” and innumerable others.

Harry Greb's works are a well-known feature in Rome. Recently, he painted a mural on the wall of the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome in memory of the many victims of Coronavirus.

Source: ArtLife

Posted on 10 Jul 2020 by Editor

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