The city of Turin has launched its traditional Christmas light Show “Luci d'Artista” (Artists' Lights) despite the problems of the current pandemic.

The event, which involves creative illuminated installations all over the city centre and the suburban areas, has been running uninterruptedly since 1998 and in normal years draws tourists from all over Italy and Europe.

In addition, Turin is keeping its most important museums open, although the usual evening visits to the Musei Reali (the Royal Collection) are temporarily suspended. From Thursday to Sunday between 9-19 hours, it is possible to visit the Royal Palace with its celebrated arms collection, the Sabauda Gallery and the Museum of Antiquities, as well as the Chapel of the Sindrone (the Holy Shroud), where it is possible to watch restorers at work.

The exhibition “Sulle Tracce di Raffaello” (On the Traces of Raphael) in the Sabauda collection, set up in the internal courtyard of the Sabauda Gallery, will run until the 14th March 2021. The ticket is included in the entrance to the Musei Reali.

Info: museirealitorino@spin-to-it


Posted on 03 Nov 2020 by Editor

Katzenzungen (Cat's Tongue) Castle at Tisens, Bolzano, in Alto Adige (South Tyrol) claims to have the oldest vine in Italy and one of the oldest vines in the world. The Versoaln grapevine is believed to be at least 350 years old (and much older than that according to legend). The spread of Its branches, supported by a pergola of chestnut wood, covers over 300 sq m.

The grapevine risked extinction until recently when the Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry and Free University of Bolzano took it in hand and began to propagate cuttings. The venerable Versoaln now has over 100 “children” spread over the territory.

The parent vine still produces grapes that are harvested each year and mixed with the fruit of the new plantings, yielding a total of approximately 500 bottles of Versoaln white wine each year, which are marketed in specially numbered bottles.

Info: Tel +39.0473.927018

Posted on 30 Oct 2020 by Editor

An exhibition in the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini in Rome, shines the spotlight on 16th century artist Orazio Borgianni, hitherto overshadowed by his drinking partner and quarrel-picking contemporary Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio.Orazio Borgianni. Un Genio Inquieto della Roma di Caravaggio” (“A Turbulent Genius in the Rome of Caravaggio”), curated by Gianni Papi, one of the maximum experts of the art of the period, is the first monographic exhibition dedicated to this artist, who was a leading and innovative figure, and who influenced many contemporary artists in the Rome of his time.

The exhibition contains 18 signed works as well as a couple of revealing self portraits that illustrate his physical decline. He died young, in fact, at the age of 42, after a series of scandals and squabbles with rival artist Giovanni Baglione.

His “Holy Family with St. Elisabeth, Young St. John and an Angel” contains what leading art critic Roberto Longhi called “the finest still life of the Italian '600” - the famous basket piled with linens that the artist placed prominently in the bottom corner of the picture.

Borgianni's works have been spread far and wide, so this exhibition is a unique opportunity to view his output, with works on loan from national galleries in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Dresden, Florence, Toledo, Vienna, Paris, Naples and several Italian cities and private collections.

M. Stenhouse

Info: Tel. +39.06.481.4591



Posted on 27 Oct 2020 by Editor

The Umbria region stages it popular “Frantoi Aperti (“Open Olive Oil Mills”) event between the 24th October-29th November 2020, when visitors can celebrate the new olive oil coming flowing off the presses in the many local farms scattered round the area.

The event has been running for the past 23 years and is a great tourist attraction that also encourages tourists to visit many of the attractive small borghi (historic villages) along the Strada dell'Olio (Olive Oil Route). Many old castles, abbeys in olive groves and small abandoned churches, which are generally closed, will be open during the period.


Posted on 25 Oct 2020 by Editor

Christmas is just round the corner and no Italian Christmas is complete without the traditional panettone cake.

The Italian International Federation of Confectioners has launched a competition to elect “the Best Panettone in the World”. The World Championship Panettone is scheduled for the 24th-25th October 2020 at the CineCittà World entertainment park in Rome.

The three categories involved are: Classic, Innovative and Decorated and will involve participants from all over the world. The organizers assure that the current pandemic safety measure will be strictly observed.

The FIPGC (Federazione internazionale pasticceria gelateria cioccolateria – International Federation of cake and pastry-makers, ice-cream makers and chocolatiers) also organizes other important international events, aimed at promoting excellence in the field of confectionary, ice cream and sweets, such as:

The World Trophy of Pastry Ice-cream & Chocolate,

Cake Designers World Championship

The World Trophy of Professional Tiramisu

Info: Tel. +39.080.9306460

Posted on 21 Oct 2020 by Editor

Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, Palazzo Chigi of Ariccia is staging two landmark exhibitions: “The Light of the Baroque” and “Angels and Demons” by Armenian artist Arshak Sarkissian.

Although so different in style and theme, the two exhibitions are actually closely connected. The Sarkissian event is part of a bilateral cultural exchange between Italy and the east European Armenian republic, initiated last year when Palazzo Chigi curator Francesco Petrucci exhibited part of the Ariccia collection in the National Gallery of Armenia at the capital city of Yerevan, where it was enthusiastically received. This is the first exhibition of Sarkassian's work to be staged in Italy.

The Light of the Baroque” is a major exhibition featuring works from the palace's own collection (considered to be Italy's most important collection of Roman Baroque art) as well as masterpieces from private collections, some of which have never been available to the public before. “Stars” of the show are two works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini: the “San Sebastiano” painted in 1648-49 for the Barberini family and the “Angel” from the collection owned by the artist's descendants. Other leading artists of the Roman Baroque whose works can be admired in the exhibition, include Dughet, Carlo Maratta, Voet, Luti, Borgianni and others.

Both exhibition run until 10 January 2021.

Palazzo Chigi of Ariccia, the former summer residence of Pope Alexander VII and his family, is one of the major tourist attractions in the Castelli Romani hills near Rome, renowned also as the setting for some scenes in Visconti's epic film “Il Gattopardo”.

Info: Tel. +39.9330053


Posted on 18 Oct 2020 by Editor

With foreign travel limited this summer, Italians have been holidaying in the home country, generally not far afield.

The Lazio region around Rome offers endless possibilities to discover little known beauty spots, like the little Lake of St. Benedict, in the narrow valley underneath the famous monasteries of St. Benedict and his sister, Santa Scolastica at Subiaco (Lazio). Virtually unknown except to the locals until recently, the pool and waterfall have now become so popular that there is now a (modest) fee to access the steep and pebbly path that leads down to the banks of the Aniene River, which rushes crystal clear through the gorge to join the Tiber near Rome some kilometres distant.

Subiaco is one of the stops on the 300 km St. Benedict Trail that starts from Norcia in Umbria (the saint's birthplace) and ends at Montecassino.

Autumn is the perfect season to join this hike, with all the trees dressed in glowing autumn colours.


Posted on 14 Oct 2020 by Editor

The annual major Slow Food event Terra Madre Salone del Gusto (Mother Earth Taste Fair) opened on the 8th October 2020, with all due precautions taken to protect participants from contact with the Covid 19 virus.

The major conferences involving top international experts are available via Zoom with both English and Italian subtitles. Topics discussed include climate change, geopolitics, immigration, the degradation of natural resources and a more sustainable food system.

Debates continue throughout October 17-19 (20 Years in the Name of Biodiversity), 23-24 (Terra Madre Bergamo – one of the worst hit Italian cities of the pandemic), 12-18 November (Terramare Napoli) highlighting regional food.

Other countries around the world participating in the event are the UK, Germany, Philippines, Switzerland, Brazil and Azerbaijan.

Terra Madre is the most important event dedicated to good, clean and fair food and small-scale agriculature in the world. It is organized by the Slow Food movement, the city of Turin and the Piedmont Region, in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection.

Info: Tel. Slow Food headquarters: +39.0172419611

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 by Editor


A photographic exhibition documenting the Italian lockdown is on show until the 1st November 2020 at the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Capitoline Museums, Rome. “Lockdown Italia – as seen by the Foreign Press” features a collection of photographs portraying crucial and significant aspects of the pandemic that hit Italy early this year – the first western country to bear the brunt of the Covid 19.


The images cover a wide range of themes, from the desperate fight to save lives in hospital intensive care departments, the eery atmosphere of deserted streets and piazzas, the sobering lines of coffins inside churches, the disinfecting of public transport and open spaces, theatre and cinema audiences conforming to the rules of social distancing and the many extraordinary gestures of generosity and support among the Italian populace.

The images captured are the work of 30 full or affiliated members of the Foreign Press Association in Italy (Associazione della Stampa Estera in Italia), many of whom took considerable personal risks by entering contaminated areas and hospital wards where the virus raged.

The exhibition preview was visited by the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, who remarked on the ability shown by the Italian people to unite in times of trouble, the unstinting generosity of both medical staff and volunteers and the many “silent heroes” who gave time and resources to help those in difficulty.

In the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, Trisha Thomas, President of the Foreign Press Association, praised the Italian government's handling of the pandemic: “Many of us come from countries that handled the virus differently, when bickering, lack of unity or arrogance got in the way of national good. Italy, instead, has emerged as a shining example and we, as the Stampa Estera, were here to show it to the was our job to go to the intensive care units, interview doctors and nurses, visit nursing homes and follow funerals.....we showed the world how Italy, its government and its people, were coping...”

Exhibition info: Tel.060608

Posted on 08 Oct 2020 by Editor

The floodgates of “Moses” have finally gone into action, saving the city of Venice from the habitual situation of flooding during storms and high seas. The recent test successfully held off the dreaded “acqua alta” (high water), when Venetians and tourists alike have to don rubber boots to cross Piazza San Marco.

The mammoth project, involving 4 moveable barriers with a total 78 metal panels, stretching for 1.5 km across the mouth of the lagoon, was approved in 2003, after a long gestation period stretching back to 1966, when one of the most disastrous floods in living memory devastated the city. Even worse floods hit Venice last winter, giving fresh urgency to the project.

The construction was initially opposed by environmentalists who feared that the ecosystem of the lagoon would be compromised if the natural ebb and flow of tides were interrupted. The present project allows the barriers to be raised and lowered according to necessity. The gates are filled with water and lie on the seabed until high tides exceed 110 meters, threatening Venice and its treasures. At that point the water is forced out by compressed air, allowing the barriers to rise and block the tidal invasion.

The Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico (Experimental Electromechanical Module) as the “Moses” is officially called, has still to undergo extensive maintenance and will not be finally completed until 2021.


Posted on 04 Oct 2020 by Editor

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