One of the biggest draws at the Festa del Libro Antico e Medioevale (Festival of Ancient and Medieval Books) at Saluzzo (Cuneo, Piedmont) will certainly be a chess game starring 2018 Olympic Gold champion Marina Brunello against thirty competitors contemporarily on the 23 October 2022.

This year's International Fair of Ancient and Medioeval Book will run from the 21st - 23rd October as part of the Salone del Libro Internazionale (s) with a busy programme animated by jugglers, acrobats, jesters, dancers, falconers, typical games and medieval music.

Festival theme centres round women, taking inspiration from Petrarch's celebrated description of the fairer sex as “uno spirito celeste, un vivo sole” {celestial spirit, a vibrant sun}. Sessions for specialists and the curious on the revolution in printing techniques are to be held in the town's Historic Library while the Saluzzo Communal Cemetery, built in 1787, holds guided tours centred on “Stories of Dreams and Dreamers.”

Info: Tel. +39.0175.46710

Posted on 19 Oct 2022 by Editor


Top places in World's Best Bars awards of 2022 have gone to Italian barmen, Giacomo Giannotti and Simone Caporale, who concoct their magical cocktails in Barcelona, in the celebrated bars “Il Paradiso” and “Sips” respectively.

While Giannotti scooped first place, Caporale's “Sips” got the “Highest Climber” nomination for leaping 34 places to number 3 in this year's classification.

The two displaced many years winner Connaught of London, owned by Italian Agostino Perrone, which still ranked however in the top ten.

The World's Best Bars is run by William Reed Ltd, the group behind “The World's 50 Best Restaurants”. Classifications are voted annually by 650 international drinks experts belonging to the World's 50 Best Bars Academy.


Posted on 14 Oct 2022 by Editor


As a result of the long spell of dry weather this spring and summer, the Tiber river, historic symbol of Ancient Rome, has diminished in volume to the extent that it has dropped a meter and a half lower than its average flow, as registered over the past 16 years. The tributaries that feed the river have been reduced to little more than trickling streams, transforming stretches of the river in the city centre to virtual marshland.

On average the Rome area records an average rainfall of 357 mm but only 137 mm of rain have fallen during this year's four month-long drought.

Looking down from the Bridge of the Angels at Castle Sant'Angelo at the weeds poking up from the shallows it seems impossible to believe that for centuries the city was subjected to flooding. The last great flood, when the Tiber burst its banks and covered the city centre in 2m of water, was in December 1870, just after the Unification of Italy.

Work on the Tiber embankments began in 1876 and involved the construction of 8 kms of 13m-high containing walls, finally completed fifty years later in 1926.

Photo: The Tiber at Castle Sant'Angelo September 2022 by M. Stenhouse

Posted on 11 Oct 2022 by Editor


Six historic villas of Veneto open their doors between the 9th October and 6th November for “Foliage Month, the Magic Atmosphere of Autumn” when visitors can admire the beautiful autumnal colours of the trees and plants. The villas all belong to the Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane (ADSI) (Historic Houses of Italy) and are open on different dates during “Foliage Month” with various programmes that include guided walks with botany and arboreal experts, culinary events and art associated with nature. Some of the visits will be accompanied personally by the estate owners.

The Villas involved in the programme are:

Villa Sagramoso Sacchetti of Verona, Borgo Feriani, Castello di Thiene, Villa Angarano (Bassano di Grappa), Villa Valmarana ai Nani (includes view of rooms frescoed by Tiepolo) and Villa da Schio (Castelgomberto) with its sculpture garden.

Foliage 2022” also runs a photography and video competition

For full information on dates of openings: Tel. +39.349.639317

Posted on 07 Oct 2022 by Editor


The Codice Citra Cooperative has recently financed the restoration and preservation of a rich collection of ancient grave goods belonging to the pre-Roman Frentani people in the hilly area near Chieti (Abruzzo). The Cardetola Necropolis at Crecchio was first excavated in 1844, unearthing a 1.47 m funerary stele with a rare inscription in the language of this little known people. Since then, the site has yielded 138 tombs dating between the 6th and 3rd century BC.

The Codice Citra Coop, composed of 300 families, represents Abruzzo's largest community of winegrowers. As a personal contribution to the cultural heritage of their area, members volunteered to help with recent excavation work involving three Tombs - nominated 17, 34 and 57, all of which have yielded a cache of objects that proved continuous trading links with the Magna Grecia, Taranto and Campania, as well as the Baltic and Africa.

Tomb 17 contained some 28 pieces of refined terracotta tableware. The owner of the tomb had been cremated, which was considered unusual practice for this area and at that time. He is believed to have been an athlete as his strigil (a tool used to massage the body and scrape it clean of sweat at the baths) was buried with him.

Tomb 34 belonged to a woman of wealth, buried with refined gold and silver jewellery.

Tomb 57 is considered particularly interesting. It contained a youth with a splendid bronze and gilded crown decorated with terracotta fruit.

The finds are to be added to the collection of the Museum of the Crecchio Ducal Castle, which also contains an important collection of Byzantine and Medieval antiquities.

Info: Nazionale Archeoclub Italia: Tel. +39.25967459 Museo: +39.0871.941392

Posted on 04 Oct 2022 by Editor


The ancient olive trees, with their towering heads of silver-grey leaves, their gnarled trunks and twisted branches, were the pride of Apulia and much admired and photographed by tourists to the region. That was until some years ago when they were attacked by an implacable enemy – a bacteria called Xylella fastidiosa which dried up their vascular system, cutting off water and nourishment and turning them into twisted spectres. The disease spread like wildfire, killing off gigantic trees that were centuries old and a seemingly eternal feature of the landscape. An estimated 20 million trees were affected.

Fortunately, scientists eventually found a remedy by grafting on cultivars such as “Favoloso” and “Leccino” which have proved resistant to the disease. Trees which couldn't be saved are being replaced, with the help of EU funding, by new immune varieties.

Many however could not be saved. A local non-profit association called EXIBART, headed by photographer Ulderico Tramacere, decided to give them a second life as Land Art objects. In 2020 Tramacere created the Field of Giants, a 2 ½ acre area near Nardò (Lecce) of spectral olive groves, whitewashed in lime disinfectant. These old warriors make natural sculptures and are destined to become a new tourist attraction.

Photo by EXIBART


Posted on 29 Sep 2022 by Editor




Norwegian pianist and orchestra conductor, Lief Ove Andsnes, leads the centenary inaugural concert at Pordenone's Teatro Verdi on the 26th September 2022. The ultra modern theatre and concert hall has a long and chequered history. First opened in 1922 as the Teatro Licinio, it has been rebuilt several times over the past century as a theatre and then a cinema, always, however, conserving a special place in the heart of the citizens. The city's special attention towards the arts is also blazoned on the external wall of the theatre decorated with white panels carved with poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Sylvia Plath.

Pordenone (Friuli Venezia-Giulia) is also known for its long tradition of decorated walls dating back to the 16th century, traces of which remain on the historic buildings that line the old Corso in the historic centre. The tradition continues to be kept alive today with murals created by contemporary artists in the more modern part of the city, such as the gigantic 200sqm representation by Marta Lorenzon of an actress touching up her makeup “Behind the Scenes” that covers the walls of the old Fish Market (Piazza Pescheria) at the back of the Teatro Verdi.

The month of September also focussed on the printed press with the 16th edition of the event “Ascoltare, Leggere, Crescere” (Listen, Read, Grow), which also marked the centenary of “Il Popolo,” the weekly newspaper published by the diocese of Pordenone.

M Stenhouse


Posted on 26 Sep 2022 by Editor


Another triumph for Italy's Ministry of Culture – the recent return of the 5th century BC Greek sculpture group of “Orpheus and the Sirens,” purchased illegally by the Getty Museum from a Swiss dealer in 1976.

The group, an Ancient Greek masterpiece dated to the 4th century BC, was discovered during an illicit dig in the area of Taranto (Puglia) and smuggled into Switzerland where it was offered to the Getty Museum for sale. The group is almost life size and features a seated male figure originally holding a lyre and two somewhat hefty mermaids with birds' bodies in their traditional form as spirits of the World of the Dead.

The Getty Museum, through its legal office, has recognized that the sculptures had been exported illegally out of Italy. The group was returned to Rome on the 17th September 2022 and is temporarily on view in the new Museo dell'Arte Salvata (Museum of Rescued Art) inside the Baths of Diocletian complex until the 15th October 2022, when it will be returned to its original home in Taranto.

The Getty is actively collaborating with the Italian government regarding the identification and restitution of antiquities of doubtful provenance in its collection. The Museum, however, is reluctant to part with the magnificent “Victorious Youth”, one of the stars of its collection, which was fished out of the Adriatic sea by fishermen in 1964. Italy has been demanding its return for many years. The Getty Museum, however, claims that the sculpture, attributed to Lysippos, was found in international waters and therefore does not legally belong to Italy.



Posted on 23 Sep 2022 by Editor


The annual Festival del Medioevo (Medieval Festival) is off an running in Gubbio (Umbria) between the 21st - 25th September 2022.

The popular event – a “must” for history fans as well as tourists visiting this beautifully preserved medieval city in Umbria – was launched eight years ago and has grown from strength to strength ever since, thanks to its imaginative programmes and scope that ranges from talks by celebrated international experts to fun family shows and happenings.

Each year, the Festival adopts a particular theme which is explored by panels of eminent speakers in a series of lectures, accompanied by exhibitions of traditional crafts, a “Medieval Market”, dance spectacles and other performances, as well as an exclusive fair of Medieval-themed books.

The title of the 2022 Festival is “Dinastie, Famiglie e Potere” (Dynasties, Families and Power) and the theme will be explored in 90 lectures by international experts on the Middle Ages. Juicy themes range from Lucrezia Borgia, the Icelandic Sagas, Kievan Rus (the Slavic state encompassing eastern and northern Europe in the 9th century), papal nepotism, the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan, the Medici, as well as Medieval art.

Events with catchy titles are sure to attract, like “Shakespeare Juke Box” featuring philosopher actor Cesare Catà, “The World of Game of Thrones” and the session on Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings°.

The leading figure chosen this year to represent the spirit of the age is the powerful war lord Federico da Montefeltro, who was born in Gubbio and whose 600th centenary falls this year. Federico is well known to all of us through his celebrated profile portrait by Piero della Francesco. Not only a war leader, but also a humanist, patron of the arts and founder of the most celebrated library of the period, so much so that he was referred to as “the Light of Italy.”

This year's version of the Festival is dedicated to the celebrated historian Chiara Frugoni, who died this spring. She will be commemorated in the inaugural day by her lifelong friend and writer Virtus Zallot.


Info: as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Posted on 20 Sep 2022 by Editor


The humble chestnut is the King of the Month at the town of Lana in Alto Adige where it has its annual celebration between the 16th-30th October 2022. The Feast is known as Kerschtnriggl after the traditional woven wicker baskets which are shaken vigorously to separate the shells from the roasted nuts, and involves the neighbouring communities of Foiana, Tesimo and Prissiano.

For centuries, the chestnut was a vital basic food, providing flour for the local bread, pasta and innumerable local food specialities. During the Festival, there are shows, guided forest walks, traditional music and numerous special recipes are created specially for the event.

The Festival will also provide the frame for the launch of a new gastronomic treat: Chestnut Gin, produced in Lana and the surroundings, for the joy of those who like to discover gastronomic novelties.

Info: Tel. +39 0473 561770

Posted on 18 Sep 2022 by Editor

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