ITALY'S TALL SHIP AMERIGO VESPUCCI WORLD TOUR

Italy's iconic full-rigged sailing ship, the “Amerigo Vespucci” set sail from Genoa on the 1st July 2023 on a world tour to promote research and protection of the marine eco system. The 20-month planned itinerary touches 31 ports in the five continents and will terminate in February 2025.

The “Amerigo Vespucci” was built in the shipyards of Castelammare di Stabia, Naples, in 1931 and was named after the 15th century Florentine explorer who was the first, after Cristopher Columbus, to reach the “New World” and to realise that it was, in fact, an entire continent. A gilded statue of him features as the ship's figurehead.

The three-masted tall ship is used as a training ship for Italian naval cadets and has often participated in promotional and eco-sustainable activities, promoted by world organizations like UNESCO and UNICEF.

The Genoa send-off ceremony included a spectacular flyover by the Frecce Tricolori (the Italian Air Force acrobatic team).

Info: www.navalnews.com

Posted on 04 Jul 2023 by Editor

ANCIENT BRONZE OFFERINGS TO THE GODS (SAN CASCIANO DEI BAGNI)

The cache of bronze offerings discovered last November 2022 at the spa resort of San Casciano dei Bagni (Tuscany) is considered so exceptional that the finds have been put on public display for the first time at the Quirinale Presidential Palace in Rome – a rare privilege accorded only to very special exhibits, such as the two celebrated bronze warriors recovered from the seabed in 1972 and known as the Riace Bronzes.

The exhibition, entitled, “Gli Dei Ritornano” (The Gods Return), features some 20 statues and statuettes, as well as thousands of ex-voto anatomical images and coins, dating from the Etruscan era to the advent of Christianity. A particularly unusual find is the bronze thunderbolt representing the one recorded as having struck the site of the Baths in the 1st century AD, confirming the sacredness and healing powers of the waters.

According to Prof. Jacopo Tabolli, Professor of Etruscology at the University for Foreigners at Siena who led the site archaeological team, the exceptional state of conservation of the ex-votos is thanks to the fact that the bronzes were submerged in the mud at the foot of a sacred well at the ancient healing centre fed with natural warm mineral water.

The exhibition will remain at the Quirinale until the 25th July 2023 and then again between the 2nd September and 29th October 2023, after which the collection expects to be moved to a new permanent museum in San Casciano dei Bagni, opening planned for the end of the year, according to the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Info: www.beniculturale.it

Per visite: Tel. +39.0578.20915 museocivicochiusi@gmail.com

Posted on 30 Jun 2023 by Editor

CAPRI REOPENS CELEBRATED VIA KRUPP

Good news for visitors to the island of Capri who want to see more than the Blue Grotto and the high class shopping centre around the Piazzetta: Via Krupp, one of Capri's most spectacular sights, has re-opened again, after a closure lasting nine years.

The narrow paved track, containing 1,300 meters of twists and turns, snakes down the 1000 metre-high cliff face from the public gardens “of Augustus” to the beach at Marina Piccola.

Built by architect Emilio Mayer and financed by the German steel magnate Alfred Krupp, the Via Krupp opened in 1902. Hailed as a miracle of road engineering, it instantly became one of the most popular island excursions. Unfortunately, the fragmentary nature of the Capri cliffs meant that it was frequently blocked by falling rocks and landslides. The last, most serious one, was some ten years ago. The road was proclaimed dangerous and subsequently closed off until extensive maintenance work on the cliff face was carried out to ensure future safety.

Finally, Via Krupp is now once more open to the public every day between June and September and throughout the Christmas holidays. The rest of the year will be reserved for inspection, dealing with potentially dangerous fissures in the cliffs and maintenance work.

Info: www.capri.it

Posted on 27 Jun 2023 by Editor

MILAN'S CITADEL OF ARCHIVES AND ART

Milan's monumental Cittadella degli Archivi (citadel of Archives) has continued its policy of promoting street art with a new display of wall paintings covering 600 sqm along its street frontage with the theme: “Dai borghi alla citta, dalla citta ai quartieri” {borghi are small historic towns). The initiative (first introduced five years ago) has become a pole of attraction for citizens and visitors alike, giving the historic archives a fresh look and a contemporary dimension.

The Cittadella city archive contains over 1.5 million documents of historic and cultural interest in around 70 kms of linear shelving space and dates back to 1923 when Mussolini amalgamated eleven municipalities bordering on Milan, turning them into “quarters” and thus doubling the city's metropolitan area.

The present exhibition, organized by the Isorropia Homegallery non profit organization, features the work of 14 artists and aims to underline the individual identity that these former little towns have preserved.

Info: Tel. +39.02.88445523 www.beniculturali.it info@isorropiahomegallery.org

Posted on 23 Jun 2023 by Editor

MYSTERIOUS ROMAN SWORD FOUND AT APPIA ANTICA

The Palazzo Chigi museum in Ariccia (Lazio, near Rome) has recently acquired a unique treasure, that had been lost for several decades. The short Roman sword, lavishly decorated and complete with its ivory scabbard, was first discovered in 1976 near a tomb on the Appia Antica road in the valley of Ariccia during an excavation campaign. However, it was put aside and subsequently languished forgotten for twenty years in the vast deposits of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.

Giuseppina Ghini, the former head of the area archaeology department, recognized the sword as a unique and invaluable piece during a routine visit of inspection in 1994 and had the sword transferred to the expert hands of the restoration team at the Central Institute for Restoration, Rome, who recovered much of its original splendour.

The 53 cm-long sword has many unusual features, including an ivory hilt decorated with four miniature masks, protected by an ivory scabbard. Experts think that, since the weapon was not suitable for battle, it probably belonged to an actor and was used in theatrical productions. Mysteriously, the sword was found underneath – and not inside - a sarcophagus that came to light when an ancient tower collapsed on the tract of the Old Appian Way under the town of Ariccia. The tomb contained a skeleton wrapped in a purple woollen cloak and some grave goods.

The Old Appian Way has applied for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

MSTENHOUSE

Info: Tel. +39.069330053 www.palazzochigiariccia.it

Posted on 19 Jun 2023 by Editor

GENZANO FLOWER FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUSION

The celebrated annual Infiorata (Flower Festival) of Ariccia (Lazio) centred on the theme of inclusion and ethnic tolerance in this year's version. “Io Sono L'Altro” (I am like the Other) was the title for the long series of 16 colourful petal carpets that covered the entire street running down from the Church of Santa Maria della Cima (St. Mary of the Peak) to the main piazza during the 9-11 May 2023. The subjects of the floral pictures paid homage to the theme by featuring, alongside the usual religious Christian icons, the civil rights activist Gino Strada, founder of the Emergency organization, the Caritas and Mother Teresa of Calcutta, as well as addressing political issues with the symbolic representation of the long braid of an Iranian girl's hair. Special guest of honour at this year's event was Afghan artist Elaha Rahgozar, along with a group of young Afghan artists from the Art Academy of Herat, who had taken refuge in Italy through the help of the Humanitarian Corridor organized by the Sapienza University of Rome.

The Infiorata has been running for almost two and a half centuries and was visited and praised by many foreign visitors on the Grand Tour, including Hans Christian Andersen in 1883, who described it in lyrical terms in his travel diary. It also inspired August Bournonville's ballet,the Flower Festival of Genzano”, performed for the first time in Copenhagen in 1858.

The Genzano Infiorata is not the only one of its kind in Italy. Similar festivals are held in Noto (Sicily) and Spello (Umbria), as well in a number of smaller towns.

Info: Tel. +39.0693711 upp@comune.genzanodiroma.it

Posted on 15 Jun 2023 by Editor

BULGARI STUNS ROME WITH NEW DELUXE HOTEL

The Bulgari Hotel, Rome's newest luxury hotel, has just opened after extensive restoration and conversion work. Occupying a prime position beside the majestic Tomb of the Roman emperor Augustus and the Ara Pacis (Augustus' celebrated Peace Altar), and a stone's throw from the Tiber, Via del Corso and the glamorous district of Piazza di Spagna, the hotel is the latest ambitious project of the historic Bulgari fashion and jewellery company, founded in 1884.

The hotel occupies the largest of three palaces that constituted the former seat of the Italian Pensions and Social Security offices (INPS), built in 1938 in the typical Rationalism style favoured in the period. The original facade, projected by architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, has been preserved, along with the 70m mosaic panel “Origins of Rome” by the artist Ferruccio Ferrazzi, as well as a Latin inscription: “This is the place where the soul of the Emperor Augustus flies through the air.”

Other gems of the period, such as frescoes by artist Antonio Barrera, can be seen on the premises, while the interior décor pays homage to Italian craftsmanship and culture and even includes a reading room stocked with historic books on the history of jewellery, open also to the public.

Info: Tel. +39.06.36080400

www.bulgarihotels.com>rome rome@bulgarihotels.com

Posted on 11 Jun 2023 by Editor

NOW and ETERNITY” at ANCIENT ROMAN BATHS

Taking the limelight at the fascinating exhibition of antiquities at the Baths of Diocletian, Rome is the ancient Roman ceremonial carriage discovered during excavations in a Roman suburban villa in the vicinity of Pompeii.

Although the four-wheeled vehicle was largely destroyed during the eruption, its imprint remained in the ashes, allowing it to be accurately reconstructed in its former form, complete with its silver and bronze decorative elements.

Identified as a pilentum (an ornamental carriage used to convey a bride in wedding processions), this is a unique find for Italy. The only other known example was discovered some years ago in a tomb in Greece.

The bridal carriage, however, has to compete for attention with over 300 precious antiquities and objet d'art in the exhibition “L'Istante e l'eternita. Tra noi e gli antichi” (“The Present Moment and Eternity. Between Us and the Ancients”) at present running in the Roman Baths of Diocletian, Rome. Many of the items are on show to the general public for the first time, including the Tabula Chigi, a terracotta panel covered with reliefs depicting episodes from the Illiad, the monumental 840 BC Neolithic female statue from Santorini Island (Greece) and the statue of Hercules, discovered during recent excavations on the Appia Antica Roman road, Rome.

Other striking exhibits include the plaster casts of two of the earthquake victims of Pompeii, two 4th century BC Greek sculptures of athletes, a large representation of the “Navel of the World” from the famous Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, one of the prehistoric Giant warriors from Sardinia and an inscription on an ossuary altar that brings the exhibition theme of “Us and the Ancients” vividly to life: it tells us that C. Terentius Pistus was an oculist and he lived to the exceptional age of: “87 years, 5 months, 24 days and 10 hours.”

The exhibition runs until the 30th July 2023

MSTENHOUSE

Info: Tel. +39,06.684851 http://museonazionaleromano.beniculturali.it

Posted on 07 Jun 2023 by Editor

KNITTED LINK OVER LAKE D'ESEO

Brescia and Bergamo, the two provincial capitals united under the banner of the 2023 Italian Year of Culture are to stage an original friendship link on the 4th June 2023. The 50 Miglia (50 Miles) event is a charity initiative involving a chain of 40,000 knitted and crocheted woollen strips stretching between the two cities, prepared by two knitting circles; the Club dei Punti (Stitches Club) of Bergamo and the Viva Vittoria Association of Brescia.

The event, in memory of the suffering the two cities shared at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, will see the participation of 40,000 people along the 80 km route (roughly the equivalent of 50 miles) and involves the 200-year old bridge linking the town of Sarnico(Bergamo province) with Paratico, on the Brescia side.

Info: Tel. +39.3517201254 (Club dei Punti) vivavittoria.bergamo@gmail.com

Posted on 03 Jun 2023 by Editor

DARING OPENING FOR FESTIVAL OF MARVELS

DARING OPENING FOR FESTIVAL OF MARVELS

Italian Tightrope Walker Andrea Lorena successfully completed his heart-stopping 205m walk across a cable suspended 140m high between Milan's two tallest buildings at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Festival of Marvels in the BAM (Biblioteca degli Alberi – Library of Trees) Park in the heart of Milan's business quarter.

Lorena's daring feat involved the iconic Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) residential tower covered with over 900 trees planted on 8,900 sqm of terracing, designed by architect Stefano Boeri, and Italy's highest tower – the Uni Credit bank building by Cesar Pelli. Composer and pianist Cesare Picco provided a musical accompaniment at ground level.

The three-day Festival (26-28 May 2023) was dedicated to the performing arts and to street artists in particular and attracted crowds of thousands. This year's edition included scores of events featuring international artistes and dance troupes, as well as workshops for children and a mass picnic in the park – all free of charge.

The “Library of Trees” is a 9 acre public botanical park. Inaugurated in 2018, it contains some 500 trees and 100 different plant species..

MSTENHOUSE

Info: www.bam.milano.it info@bam.milano.it

Posted on 31 May 2023 by Editor

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