ON THE ICEMAN'S TRACKS

The recently constructed Iceman Otzi Peak, a spectacular eagle's nest panoramic platform, perched on the summit of the Croda delle Comacchie overlooking the Giogo Alto glacier and the Similaun snow fields, is proving a great new attractions for visitors to the Alpine area of Bolzano. The winner of numerous architectural awards, the platform can be accessed via a short trek from the station of a new cable car, inaugurated in 2023 and linking the Glacier Hotel Gruward, which is situated at a height of 3,212m above the Val Senales. This valley was once the mountain pass marking the traditional transhumance route between Italy and Austria.

The nearby ArcheoPark Val Senales organizes “Otzi Glacier Tours” , guided excursions over the terrain where the oldest European mummy was found in 1991 and is now preserved in the Archeological Museum of Bolzano (Alto Adige). The mummy, popularly referred to as the Iceman Otzi, (named after the Otztal Alpine valley where he was discovered) belonged to a hunter of the Copper Age. Dating to some 5,300 years ago, his clothes and weapons were also intact. Scientific examinations of the body showed that he had died of an arrow wound in his shoulder. Recent DNA tests have revealed that he still lives on in a scattering of descendents alive today.

Info: Tel: +39.0473.662171 www.valsenales.com info@schnalstal.com

Posted on 10 Jul 2024 by Editor

AMERIGO VESPUCCI ITALY'S TALL SHIP WORLD TOUR

The Amerigo Vespucci, Italy's iconic tall ship, acclaimed as “the most beautiful ship in the world” has reached the USA on its current world tour, which involves port calls in five continents during its two-year promotional voyage.

The three-masted full-rigged vessel, built in 1930 as a training ship for the Italian Naval Academy, left Genoa on the 1st July 2023 and is expected back at La Spezia on the 11th February 2025 after a journey of 40,000 miles, touching 30 ports in 27 countries. For this epic voyage she is carrying a crew of 264 men and women.

The aim of the present tour is to promote Italian manufacture and culture. The Amerigo Vespucci has already acted as an Ambassador for both UNESCO and UNICEF in the past. This time it will also be involved with the “Wheels on Waves” mission 2023-2025, with the catamaran “Spirito di Stella”, the first catamaran in the world built specifically to accommodate people with disabilities and dedicated to Italian military or civil ex-service men. These passengers and their carers will travel free of charge. The “Spirito di Stella” left Genoa together with the “Amerigo Vespucci” and plans to rendezvous with her in Darwin, Australia.

Info: www.marina.difesa.it/amerigo vespucci

Posted on 05 Jul 2024 by Editor

MUSIC & ART AMONG TRULLI AND OLIVE GROVES

With the slogan “Puglia a Way of Life” Italy's latest most desirable tourist destination has launched a new promotional campaign aimed at attracting culture-seeking foreign visitors. At the moment, the south-east part of the Italian boot is mainly known for its whitewashed little towns with unique “trulli” houses and olive groves and is enjoying a boom in farmhouse and village holidays.

The region however, is now promoting other attractions, such as its formidable art and cultural heritage. The recent G7 meeting at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia (Brindisi) provided the inspiration for the ambitious exhibition in the nearby historic Norman Castle of Mesagne: “G7: Seven Centuries of Italian Art” featuring a selection of iconic paintings by the great masters of various epochs. The exhibition will run until the end of the year.

Another major event is the annual Festival of the Valle d'Istria at Martina Franca, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The oldest opera festival in southern Italy, it offers a prestigious programme, including Bellini;s “Norma”,“Aladino e la Lampada” (Aladdin and the Lamp) by contemporary composer Nina Rota and the rarely performed Handel's “Ariodante” with a concert of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Ducal Palace.

An attractive addition to the Festival with the evocative name of “Il Canto degli Ulivi” (The Song of the Olives) features a series of summer concerts at various characteristic rural venues.

Info: Tel: +39/080.4805100 www.festivaldellvalleditria.it

Tel: Castello di Mesagne +39.0831.732285

Posted on 02 Jul 2024 by Editor

ITALIAN ANTIQUITIES GO TO CHINA

She Walks in Beauty – Women of the Han Dynasty and Roman Empire” is the theme title, taken from poem by Lord Byron, for a “first” showing in China of some 150 treasures from the collections of the Civic Museums of Roma Capitale. The exhibition opened on the 15th June 2024 and will run until the 7th October 2024 at the museum of Changsha, in the Hunan Province, visited by an average 15,000 people per day.

The exhibition opens with the celebrated sculpture of the veiled Roman matron from the Centrale Montemartini museum and introduces the role of women in Ancient Roman society. Other major exhibits include the 1st century Sarcophagus of the Amazons, featuring scenes of the warrior women, a statue of the Empress Livia, influential wife of Augustus, and busts of various women who made their mark in Ancient Roman society, exhibited alongside the important discoveries from the local Chinese Mawaangdui tomb, dating back to the Han dynasty, and includes the mummified body of the noblewoman Dai, perfectly preserved after 2,200 years, that is part of the Changsha collection.

The exhibition is promoted by the Culture Department of Roma Capitale, Superintendency of Cultural Heritage and is sustained by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Institute of Culture at Peking. Afterwards the exhibition will be transferred to other major Chinese cities, such as Chengdu, Shenzhen and Shenyang.

The exhibition is part of the commemorations of the 700th anniversary of the death of Marco Polo.

Info: PuntoeVirgola: info@studiopuntoevirgola.com Tel. +39.335.6303795

Posted on 01 Jul 2024 by Editor

ISA, 1st DOWN SYNDROME STYLIST TRIUMPHS IN ARICCIA

Palazzo Chigi of Ariccia (Castelli Romani, Rome), seat of 17th century art patron Cardinal Flavio Chigi, nephew of Pope Alexander VII, was the opulent setting for the fashion show “Wings of Hope”, featuring the unique creations of young Guatemala stylist Isabella Springmuhl Tejada.

Isa was born in 1997 with Downs Syndrome, which hasn't, however, repressed her talent or her ambition. Despite being initially refused admission to study fashion due to her condition, she acquired a BA in Sciences and Letters and forged ahead, creating her own unique fashion brand “Down to Xjabelle,” inspired by the crafts and textiles of her native culture.

Her creations have been shown at a number of international events, including the International Fashion Showcase during the 2016 London Fashion Week, which led to her inclusion in the BBC list of 100 Women of the Year.

Isa hand-picks vintage authentic Guatemalan textiles and embroideries for her vibrant and colourful collections. Her models tend to be young, with neurotypical conditions or various disabilities, as part of her crusade to encourage acceptance and integration of “those who are different” into normal society and activities.

Info: Fondazione Giovanni Campaniello ETS: Tel. +39.0349.7812102

Museo Diocesano di Albano (RM): Tel. +39.06.93269490

Posted on 25 Jun 2024 by Editor

PESARO 2024 ITALIAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE; MUSIC & BIKES

Pesaro (Marche), the birthplace of Gioachino Rossini, has been crowned the 2024 Italian Capital City of Culture, a revolving yearly event that promotes a chosen city and encourages new cultural initiatives and programmes.

Pesaro qualified thanks to several unique factors: it has an important annual Film Festival, second only in importance to the Venice Film Festival. It is also called the “Cycling City” thanks to its BICIPOLITANA, a 90 km network of safe cycling tracks connecting the town centre with surrounding districts and the sea. Most importantly, it is also “the City of Music,” with its annual Rossini Festival, starring the world's top opera singers.

The historic centre is grouped around the towering Castello di Gradara, which dates from the early 12th century and is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval castles in Italy. Legend links the castle to the tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca, mentioned by Dante in the “Divine Comedy,” in which the jealous husband Giovanni Malatesta, overlord of Rimini, caught the couple together and killed them both.

The Pesaro Cultural Capital Year, however, is not solely focussed on the city itself, but also five surrounding towns that take turns to “host” their own programmes for a week, in rotation throughout the year.

ROSSINI OPERA FESTIVAL 2024: 7th - 23rd August presents a programme of Rossini favourites, as well as several lesser known works, performed by international stars of the Bel Canto.

M. Stenhouse

Info: info@pesaro2024.it

Posted on 20 Jun 2024 by Editor

THE MUSICIAN IN THE BEETLE CAR

Omar Conti, the nomadic musician of the mountains, is set to become the online star of this Italian summer. Driving along the tracks and upland valleys of northern Italy with his piano keyboard strapped on the roof of his red vintage Volkswagen Beetle car, he gives impromptu concerts that attract scores of locals and tourists from the nearby villages.

Omar, a graduate in transportation design, lives in his compact little vehicle, which he has adapted, not only as a mobile living unit where he sleeps and cooks, but has also fitted up with amplifiers, loud speakers and other electronic equipment, as well as his cello, which he plays, alternating with his piano performances.

Concerts in the hills by “the Pianist in the Beetle Car” are rarely programmed in advance, though he does turn up for the odd local festival or event. Otherwise, his growing number of fans have to search for him among the remote mountain peaks and lakes, meadows and ruined castles. However, he can usually be traced through social media such as Facebook and Instagram under the title:

il pianista sul Maggiolino”

 

Posted on 16 Jun 2024 by Editor

ROMEA STRATA: OLD PILGRIM ROUTE REVIVED

The Catholic Church's Holy Year 2025 is officially due to begin in December 2024, but many commemorative initiatives have already taken off. Hikers are already walking the traditional old pilgrims' routes to the Eternal City, with several tracks added to the well trodden classics like the Via Francigena.

The Romea Strata, the Route of Faith, which once linked Germany and the Baltic states with Rome, has now been officially recognized and has its own website and 20 official Miliarium stages marked where walkers and cyclists can have certificates stamped to prove they have undertaken the pilgrimage. On obtaining their third Miliarium stamp participants can claim at St. Peter's basilica the final official document - the testimonium, that certifies their participation in the Route of Faith.

Completing the entire trek requires dedication. Within the Italian peninsula alone the route coves 1,400 kilometres and passes through 7 Italian regions, starting from Friuli Venezia Giulia in the north and continuing through 19 provinces, touching on a total 235 major and minor municipalities. It includes many little known country paths through unspoiled countryside and mountain passes, taking in 40 UNESCO world heritage sites and 20 significant Miliarium destinations.

The total Romea Strata of Europe stretches a total 4,000 Kilometers, linking seven European countries.

M.Stenhouse

Info: Fondazione Homo Viator – San Teobaldo, Vicenza

Tel. 0039.0444 327146 www.romeastrata.org

Posted on 12 Jun 2024 by Editor

STARRING ITALIAN OPERA TRADITION AT VERONA

A glittering galaxy of opera and ballet stars celebrate the entry of Italian Bel Canto in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list with a gala performance in the Arena di Verona to be broadcast by the state RAI TV in Mondovision on the evening of the 7th June 2024.

Italy has been slow to promote its own particular contribution of music to the UNESCO list, which already contains a large number of traditional forms of song and music from countries all over the world, including Jazz, another 2024 entry.

The Italian Canto Lirica creation has enchanted fans for over two centuries and continues to be popular, with the works of great musicians like Rossini, Verdi and Puccini staged regularly in theatres worldwide.

The Arena di Verona, originally an ancient Roman amphitheatre, is the largest open air opera theatre in the world and home of the oldest annual opera festival.

The special performance orchestra, directed by Riccardo Muti, is composed of 160 musicians and a choir of 300 singers The programme features solos by celebrated international opera stars such as Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Florez and others, and with dance performances by La Scala stars Roberto Bolle and Nicoletta Manni.

M. STENHOUSE

Info: Tel. +39.045.805.1861-1905-1891-1939-1847  (Ufficio Stampa Fondazione Arena di Verona)

Posted on 07 Jun 2024 by Editor

FLORENCE: TREE OF PEACE MEMORIAL

The bronze Tree of Life took centre stage during the recent 30th anniversary commemoration ceremonies of the tragic bomb attack that took place in the heart of Florence in 1993. The 4.40m-high tree by sculptor Andrea Roggi stands in Via Georgofili, on the spot where the stolen vehicle that held the bomb was parked. The evocative sculpture replaces the succession of living olive Trees of Peace which did not survive due to the lack of light and space in the narrow alleyway between the Uffizi and the Torre dei Pulci, seat of the Georgofili Academy.

The bomb, planted by the Mafia in an attempt to coerce the Italian government into granting concessions to Cosa Nostra members serving prison sentences, killed or injured some 35 people and caused extensive damage. The Uffizi, the Vasari Corridor, Palazzo Vecchio and the Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte were all devastated by the blast and many paintings in the Uffizi collection were badly damaged.

The Georgofili Academy which was set up in 1753 (the first scientific institute in Europe to concentrate on agricultural studies) was razed to the ground.

The Torre dei Pulci has since been rebuilt and carries an inscription beside the door of a poem written by one of the victims, nine-year old Nadia Nencioni.

Info: www.georgofili.it https://www.magentaflorence.com

Posted on 04 Jun 2024 by Editor

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