As part of its anti-Covid campaign, Italian railways Trenitalia continue to distribute free safety kits to all passengers on board its Frecciarossa and Frecciargento (Red Arrow and Silver Arrow) trains. The kits consist of a disposable paper bag containing a face mask, a sanitizing gel wipe and a carton of mineral water. First introduced in May 2021 when it became evident that the pandemic would continue into and over the summer, the FS (Ferrovie dello Stato - State Railways) introduced the kit as part of its customer care service. There are 38 Freccia trains operating throughout Italy.

All carriages and seating continue to be disinfected regularly at stations.




Posted on 01 Oct 2021 by Editor

Last chance to catch up on the exhibition “Tra Dante e Shakespeare: il Mito di Verona” (From Dante to Shakespeare: the Myth of Verona) which sets out to highlight the particular attraction that the city of Verona had on Europe's two major poets.

Dante spent the first period of his exile from the Florentine state in Verona and expressed his gratitude for the hospitality he received in his “Paradise, XVII, 70”. We don't know whether Shakespeare, on the other hand, ever visited Verona (or Italy) during the years of obscurity when no documentation regarding his life has come to light. However, he set two of his plays in the “Fair City”: “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and the world's most famous love story - “Romeo and Juliet”, inspired by a 16th century writer Luigi da Porto.

The exhibition contains a selection of over 100 paintings, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts and documents as well as original books from the Verona public library and various museums, spanning a period from the 14th to the 19th century. Among the important works on show there are three rare drawings by Botticelli on loan from the Kupferstichkabinett (Berlin), depicting “Dante and Beatrice. Paradise II”.

The exhibition is closes on the 3rd October 2021.

Galleria d'Arte Moderna Achille Forti. Tel.+30.045.8001903


Posted on 28 Sep 2021 by Editor




The favourite wine of the Bourbon monarchs of Naples is making a come back after several centuries of oblivion. The San Silvestro vineyards once covered 5 hectares of land, bordering on the Palace of Caserta royal gardens, but had been abandoned and left to grow wild for over a century. Three years ago Mauro Felicori, the then curator of the royal Palace, decided to restore the vineyards.

The contract was awarded to the local Tenuta Fontana wine-growers, who are about to enjoy their first harvest, from which they hope to produce an initial thousand bottles of both red and white wine. The new, organic vineyard has been planted with the traditional native grape, known as pallagrello, which was one of the grape varieties selected for the original vineyard in the 18th century by the celebrated architect Vanvitelli, responsible also for the Palace design.

The vineyards border on the nature reserve of the Forest of San Silvestro, a WWF conservation area.


Posted on 25 Sep 2021 by Editor

The Connecting Europe Express, the special train commemorating EUROPEAN RAILWAYS YEAR 2021, recently concluded the Italian part of its itinerary, which began in Lisbon on the 2nd September 2021 and will terminate in Paris on the 7th October.

The Italian tour touched Turin, Milan, Rome, Genoa, Verona, Bolzano and the Alps with the last stop at the Brennero pass, Italy's historic frontier station, situated at 1371 metres asl. The entire 5-week journey through Europe covers over 20,000 kms, passing through some 33 border stations.

The train trip is organized in collaboration with the EU Commission and the Community of European Railways (CER), (including Italian State Railways FS) and aims to promote the ability of rail travel to unite peoples, countries and business enterprises.

Source: FS News

Posted on 21 Sep 2021 by Editor

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

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