The unexplained appearance of a 4m-high metal column in the middle of the Utah desert (USA) on the 18th November 2020 caused a stir in the world press, especially when it vanished as mysteriously as it had come. A week later, however, an almost identical column turned up, this time in the remote Petrodava Dacian Forest in Romania, near a location known as the “Holy Mountain”.

At the beginning of December unconfirmed reports announced a third column on Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California.

Not to be outdone, Italy has also its mysterious metal obelisk, which appeared on the 4th December, in the ancient town of Lanuvio (some 30 kms from Rome). The column was set up by unknown hands in the local Sforza Cesarini Park, in front of the ruins of the Roman Temple of Juno, the site of strange pre-Christian rituals involving sacrifices to a Holy Serpent. So far, no one knows who put the column there, but it is already attracting crowds of curious visitors.



Posted on 07 Dec 2020 by Editor


The city of Volterra (Tuscany), ushers in the Christmas season with alabaster, its most celebrated product. The precious translucent stone forms the “Stone of Light” sculpture in the central Piazza dei Priori, due to be inaugurated on the 8th December 2020.

The installation of blocks of “arnioni” (the technical name for the natural kidney-shaped fragments of the mineral) has been created by 22 alabaster craftsmen and coordinated by designer Luisa Bocchietto. Ms. Bocchietto, former president of the World Design Organization, is the designer of the award-winning Serralunga Vas-One plant-pot shaped lamp.

The monumental installation, with light shining through the centre of the stone construction, is intended by Volterra to symbolize rebirth. The local alabaster quarries, which have been used since the times of the Etruscans, are considered to produce the world's best quality of the mineral.

The theme also launches Volterra's candidacy as Italian Capital of Culture 2022, presently held by Parma, whose “year” of 2020 has been extended over 2021 to compensate for the pandemic lockdown.



Posted on 03 Dec 2020 by Editor


The Civic Museum of Natural History G. Doria (Genoa) has announced that the exhibition “Mythos: Creature Fantastiche tra Scienza e Leggenda” will be prolonged until the 30th August 2021. The exhibition first opened on the 21st December 2019 but was forced to close early in the year due to the first period of lockdown.

It re-opened on the 6th June 2020 and had a highly successful run until the second lockdown forced it again to close in November.

Organizers hope that the programmed re-opening on the 3rd December will prove to be the “third time lucky”!

The exhibition recreates a fantasy world of legendary zoomorphic creatures that have haunted the collective dreams of childhood (and upwards) throughout the world, such as dragons, centaurs, vampires, unicorns, sirens, werewolves and so on.

Info: +39.010.564567

Posted on 29 Nov 2020 by Editor


Lockdown has seen a boom in the market of pasta and canned tomatoes, according to a recent analysis of food and drink export figures examined during the recent Turin Agri-Food Sector Forum, published by the agro-food branch of Nomismo, one of Italy's leading economic research and consultancy companies.

Pasta, in fact, has registered an export growth of 23% and canned tomatoes +10%. The overall Italian food exportation market has increased between January–June 2020 by 2.5% compared with the same period the previous year.

Other positive results have been registered in: the fruit and vegetable sector, wine and cheese, organic products and olive oil, with cheese exports up by 42% over the last five years.

However, the Slow Food movement warns that the Italian agro-food compartment needs to spread and expand its markets, according to Francesco Sottile of Slow Food since “fifty-two % of our food exports are concentrated in only 5 countries, among which the UK and the imminent arrival of BREXIT is a cause for worry.”


Posted on 26 Nov 2020 by Editor

At the moment, all Italy's museums and tourist sites are closed to the public due to the present pandemic. That doesn't mean, however, that they are shut up and silent. Instead, many are taking advantage of the enforced pause to do restoration work and to improve future visitor experience.

The Royal Palace of Caserta, near Naples, former seat of the Neapolitan royal family, is being subjected to extensive roof repairs and restoration of the courtyards, the magnificent Stairway of Honour, the royal apartments and the gardens, which include a special romantic “English Garden”, commissioned by Queen Maria Teresa of Austria, Queen of Naples until the reigning Bourbon family were evicted by Napoleon and substituted by his sister Carolina and her husband Joachim Murat.

Restorers have also been concentrating on the lavishly decorated royal bedroom suite and the two monumental beds that belonged, respectively, to Murat and the Bourbon monarch Francesco II. Murat's mahogany bed, modelled on the French Imperial style, was brought to Naples by Carolina and her husband and is decorated with gilded wooden helms, swords and lances and surmounted by a canopy of ivory satin drapes. Francesco II's “Bateau” bed is even more elaborate, with busts of the Greek gods Mars and Pallas Athena, and a gilded wooden frame ornamented with figures, scrolls and winged lions.

The bedrooms will be open in future to the public as part of the normal palace itinerary

Info: Tel.+39.0823.448084

Posted on 23 Nov 2020 by Editor

Top Italian performer, the rapper Fedez, has started up a fund to help the many colleagues in the entertainment business, who have remained unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A great many singers, actors and musicians are self-employed and fall outside the financial safety net set up by the Italian government to help small businesses, workers and employees to offset their current drop in income.

Fedez and his wife, the influencer and fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni, who instituted fund collection earlier this year to build a new intensive care unit in the San Raffaele hospital of Milan, have so far involved 85 singers and celebrities as well as record label companies and events organizers in the initiative. Conspicuous donations have also arrived from Amazon Prime Video and the Intesa San Paolo bank.

The fund gathering campaign, called “Scena Unita” is sponsored by MIBACT (the Italian Ministry of Art and Culture) and managed by leading Italian humanitarian organization Cesvi.


Posted on 19 Nov 2020 by Editor

The present pandemic has delayed the regular opening of one of the most important art exhibitions in the 2020 Rome calendar. The “Torlonia Marbles; Collecting Masterpieces”, opened only for a few days in October before it closed down for safety reasons. Curators, sponsors and MIBACT, the Italian Ministry of Art and Culture, hope that restrictions will be lifted before Christmas so that this unique exhibition of magnificent Roman sculptures, hidden away in storage since the 1960s, will once more by available to the public.

The exhibition, consisting of 92 ancient Roman masterpieces from the Torlonia Museum, founded by Prince Alessandro Torlonia in 1875, is displayed in fourteen rooms in the newly restored Palazzo Caffarelli on the Campidoglio hill. The garden is connected through the museum gardens with the Hall of the Exedra in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, which contains the famous Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, as well as other important bronze pieces.

A “must” for the coming season, prior bookings are already flooding in.

Info: Tel. +39.06.0608

Posted on 16 Nov 2020 by Editor

Santa Fiora, a splendidly preserved medieval town that nestles on the slopes of Monte Amiata, Tuscany, is launching itself as “Italy's first smart working village”. The idea behind the project, according to Mayor Federico Balocchi, is to encourage harassed city dwellers to set up residence in a stress-free village by the River Fiora, immersed in chestnut woods and tranquil mountain scenery. Santa Fiora is already listed as one of the “Borghi Piu Belli d'Italia” (Italy's Most Beautiful Historic Villages).

During the recent lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 80,000 city workers were involved in home working, according to Assotelecomunicazioni, the Association of telecommunication systems under the Confindustria business association umbrella. The Association believes that this fact may convince many employees that it is no longer essential to live near the office or their work headquarters.

Santa Fiora has been quick to understand that digital access is a vital requirement for distant working and has taken steps to guarantee quick and efficient cutting-edge online services In addition, the village offers other incentives, such as benefit packages to encourage new residents that include up to 50% reduction in rents to those who transfer there for at least six months.

Over the past half century, Santa Fiora, like most of Italy's small historic towns (borghi) has seen its population shrink as so many of its young people move to the cities for work. If this scheme is successful, it could mean a reversal of the trend.

There is plenty of scope: it is calculated that Italy has 7000 small municipalities and at least 13,000 historic villages. 72% of these municipalities have less than 5000 inhabitants, while some of the smaller communities are run down and virtually deserted.


Posted on 13 Nov 2020 by Editor


Italy's galleries and museums are so crammed with antiquities and works of art that many languish in storage for years and never see the light of day.

The Uffizi Museums of Florence have announced that they have come upon some long lost treasures stacked away in the proverbial attic of Palazzo Pitti. The three newly identified portraits are part of a series of over 300 paintings of historic personages depicted by 16th century artist Cristofano dell'Altissimo, a follower of Bronzino and Pontormo, and commissioned by Cosimo 1 de'Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Two of the portraits, depicting “Sulla” and “a youthful Henry VIII”, originally attributed to “unknown artists” have been identified as the work of dell'Altissimo (known as the “little painter” because of his extreme youth).

The third is believed to be the missing number 1 of the series. It depicts the fabled first king of Rome, Romulus, in profile, complete with “roman” nose and thick black beard. The complete series is considered unique. Known as the “Gioviane Portraits”, they feature over 300 real and fictitious personages from different countries and backgrounds including kings, Popes, sultans, saints, scientists, writers, artists and others who have made their mark on history.

Uffizi curator Eike Schmidt, says he plans to exhibit the series in the new Rooms of the Cinquecento section of the Gallery.

See the Uffizi website for full information about safety procedures for visitors in act regarding the present pandemic.


Posted on 10 Nov 2020 by Editor

This year's edition of the highly successful Naples PizzaVillage competition takes on the new format of home delivery, in order to conform with the regulations introduced to combat the spread of Coronavirus. Pizza Village @ Home takes place in Milan between the 5th - 8th November and involves over thirty master pizza makers from all over Italy.

Seven special pizzas are competing for the top position, including the universal favourite, Pizza Margherita. The pizzas will all be delivered to home destinations and include a surprise box of goodies offered by sponsors.


Posted on 06 Nov 2020 by Editor

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