ITALY GAINS BLUE FLAG PROMOTION

This year, the annual Bandiera Blu (Blue Flag) can be hoisted at 226 Italian seaside resorts (with a total of 458 beaches) and 84 tourist ports - an increase of 17 new entries over the previous year.

The prestigious Blue Flag is awarded by the international FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) organization, founded in 1981 and recognized at international level by the UN environmental programme and the World Tourism Organization.

The coveted Blue Flag is only awarded to localities after four consecutive years in which they have been able to demonstrate that not only their sea water is uncontaminated, but that local water depuration plants and waste recycling programmes are efficient.

At the moment, the Liguria region leads with 34 certified Blue Flags (including two new entries), followed by Apulia with 22 Flags and a very short lead over both Tuscany and Campania. All the other Italian regions, however, are fast catching up, with new entries every year.

Info: Tel. +39.06.8417752 info@feeitalia.org https://www.annuario.isprambiente.it

Posted on 28 May 2023 by Editor

COLBERT'S METAPHYSICAL LOBSTERS IN VENICE

After Scots-born artist Philip Colbert's inflatable Lobsters made their rather startling appearance in Rome's Via Veneto (of “Dolce Vita” fame) last year, the Lobster theme has reappeared in Venice in the newly opened Patricia Low Contemporary art gallery in the historic Contarini Michiel Palace on the Grand Canal beside the 18th century Ca' Rezzonica museum.

The solo exhibition, entitled “House of the Lobster” is inspired by the mosaics featuring lobsters found at the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the ancient myths in which the lobster, representing the figure of immortality, is in conflict with the sacred octopus.

The theme also took inspiration from the ancient Attic amphorae known as “the Class of the Seven Lobster Claws” dating to the 4th century BC. A classical terracotta lobster vase is part of the exhibition to provide a link with Colbert's surrealistic sea creatures.

The House of the Lobster exhibition runs until the 26th August 2023.

Info: http://www.patricialow.com

Posted on 24 May 2023 by Editor

FLOOD TRAGEDY IN ITALY

As a sign of respect towards the victims of the tragic flooding in several Italian regions, Italyupdate will be suspending cultural news items for the following week.

Posted on 20 May 2023 by Editor

 

MURANO GLASSMAKERS: A CENTURY SUCCESS STORY

NasonMoretti's iconic thin-necked Bolla glasses, the Basculante glass with its curved base, displayed in the MoMa Museum of Modern Art, New York, the award-winning Lidia bowls, the multi-coloured Burlesque series, the goblets that grace the official banquet tables at the Italian Presidential Quirinale palace, the swirling jewel-like colours in infinite shades and varieties – are all products of this dynamic glassblowers workshop on the island of Murano, in the Venetian lagoon.

The NasonMoretti company was founded a hundred years ago by four brothers and continues to flourish as a family business, run today by cousins Marco, Piero and Giorgio Nason. Meanwhile it has expanded to include a Glass Museum on the same premises as its workshop, where master glassblowers continue to create exclusive craft objects, using time-honoured traditional techniques.

NasonMoretti claims to be the only glass craft workshop in the world that is able to produce 22 different tones of green, including the exclusive Soraya green, that was inspired by the colour of the eyes of the former Queen of Iran who spent many of her years in exile in Italy. The formula for mixing many of their colours is, in fact, secret. The company also introduced the revolutionary technique of “vetro incamiciato invertito” in which the interior of glasses and bowls is coloured but the exterior is a cloudy white.

The company is celebrating its centenary year with a special exhibition of its most famous creations, running from May 19th 2023 to January 8th 2024.

Info: Tel. +39.041.739020 www.nasonmoretti.com

Posted on 17 May 2023 by Editor

BRESSANONE-BRIXEN FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT

The mountainous region of Alto Adige/South Tyrol is the most northern of the Italian regions, bordering on Austria. The area is bi-lingual so localities and towns are known by both their Italian and German names. The celebrated tourist resort of Bressanone-Brixen (Brixen is its German name) has just opened its spectacular annual Water Light Festival, creating a magical atmosphere in its historic centre. Forty-eight installations, specially created by the French light artists Spectaculaires-Allumeurs d'Images, are centred round the town's 20 fountains, three of which are decorated with works of art by local artists and are linked together by beams of blue light stretching over three kms.

The Festival lights up every evening between 9 pm and midnight until the 21st May 2023.

Info: Tel.+39.0472.275252 www.brixen.org

Posted on 13 May 2023 by Editor

MONZA ROYAL PALACE …..in LEGO

Centre piece of the current “I Love Lego” exhibition in the Belvedere of the Royal Palace of Monza (Lombardia) is a 2m-long scale reproduction of the neoclassical palace itself built with 60,000 Lego blocks by local collector Marco Montrasio. Construction took over 45 months and is perfect in every detail, including the miniature figures of the one-time proprietors, King Umberto 1 of Italy and his wife, Queen Margherita.

The exhibition, which is not directly sponsored by the Lego company but is the work of collectors from all over the world, contains a number of dioramas in Lego, featuring a wide variety of historical themes, as well as Lego reproductions of famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa and the portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth, and it has attracted a record number of visitors for this type of exhibition. Running until the 16th September 2023.

Info: Tel. 039.394641 www.reggiadimonza.it

Posted on 10 May 2023 by Editor

NEW FINDS AT SUBMERGED ROMAN CITY OF BAIA

The submerged Roman palace in the Bay of Baia (Naples, Campania) continues to produce surprises. Archaeology divers recently uncovered beautiful multi-coloured pavements hidden under the sand, which have been described as “a psychedelic-like tangle of geometric designs, made with coloured mosaic stones.”

Baia was a much favoured holiday retreat for the ancient Roman elite, due to its mild climate and healing sulphur springs. Consequently, the sea bed is scattered with the fascinating remnants of luxury residences, although the most important statues and sculptures have been removed to the nearby Castle Museum and substituted by copies.

The palace, along with other important public buildings, disappeared under the bay water towards the end of the 4th century AD when the coast slowly began to sink, due to the natural phenomenon known as bradyseism, caused by volcanic activity from Vesuvius and the nearby Campi Flegrei (the so-called Burning Fields). The luxurious villas of the wealthy Romans were abandoned and were gradually swallowed up by the sea, along with their sculptures, columns, paved roads and other treasures.

The area was declared a protected Archaeological Marine Park in 2002, with access restricted to tours with expert guides. Professional diving instructors are on hand to guide those who want to experience the unique thrill of swimming around submerged columns and statues. For landlubbers, there is also a service of glass-bottomed boats for viewing from the surface.

Info: Tel. +39. 081.868.7592 www.parcosommersobaia.beniculturali.it

Posted on 06 May 2023 by Editor

LUCREZIA BORGIA REVEALED

280 letters written by Lucrezia Borgia, the Dark Lady of the Renaissance, are now available for consultation on digital file from the State Archive of Modena (Reggio Emilia). The State Archive, which is in possession of Lucrezia's correspondence during the period when she was Duchess of Ferrara, commissioned the F. C. Panini Publishers Haltadefinizione company to examine, research, upload and publish the letters which shed new light on the figure of one of history's most enigmatic figures.

For almost five centuries she has been depicted as either a depraved femme fatale, or else the helpless victim of the political machinations of her father, Pope Alessandro VI Borgia. Her correspondence instead depicts another reality. Lucrezia was in fact an able administrator of the estates left by her third husband, a lover of the arts and a far-sighted and compassionate ruler.

The download was commissioned by the State Archive and financed by the Modena Foundation and the Italian Ministry of Culture's Art Bonus, a tax bonus scheme introduced in 2015. Research work included the examination and analysis of the type of paper used by Lucrezia.

The State Archive of Modena is the oldest archive in Italy, dating to 1862. Situated inside Modena Town Hall, it contains a huge collection of rare manuscripts and documents, including a vast musicians archive, the Secret Archive of the Este Family dynasty and a parchment signed by Charlemagne in 781.AD

The Haltadefinizione company specializes in the scrupulous digitalization of works of art in very high definition. Their achievements include Leonardo da Vinci's “Last Supper” and the 700 sqm cycle of frescoes by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.

MSTENHOUSE

Info: State Archive Modena: Tel. +39.059.230549 www.laguidadimodena.it www.haltadefinizione.com

Posted on 02 May 2023 by Editor

MOLISE CELEBRATES ITS BEES

The small mountain town of Castel del Giudice, near Isernia (Molise) was one of the protagonists of World Bee Day on the 20th May 2023, in which visitors were invited to don beekeepers' protective gear and explore the world of hives. Experts were at hand to explain the community life of the bees and their invaluable contribution to the environment.

The Castel del Giudice bees pollinate the organic apple orchards of the area, which have been planted in abandoned agricultural land, and are celebrated for the special wildflower honey they produce.

Other Italian areas that took part in the World Bee Day initiatives included the Rubicone Valley in Romagna, the Dolomite Val d'Ega (Bolzano) with its “Bees' Wood,” Valgenauna in Alto Adige with its “Bees Trail” and the Modolena Protected Area in Reggio Emilia.

Info: www.borgotufi.it www.valdega.com www.visitemilia.com

Posted on 28 Apr 2023 by Editor

SPRING AT LIGNANO SABBIADORO (IN MEMORY OF HEMINGWAY)

The historic resort of Lignano Sabbiadoro (Lignano Golden Sands) on the coast of Udine (Fruili Venezia Giulia) celebrates the arrival of spring with its annual “Lignano in Fiore” (Lignano in Flower) Festival, a riot of colours and perfumes set up in the Hemingway Park, dedicated to the writer Ernest Hemingway who stayed in Lignano in 1954.

The floral feast, however, is not for the eyes and senses alone: traditionally it supports philanthropic projects in Italy and the world, aimed specially at children and families in difficulty.

The celebrated resort of Lignano Sabbiadoro developed 120 years ago from a chance discovery by a party of excursionists on a boat trip from Marano who set out to explore the long strip of sand dunes that stretched across the lagoon. According to the Municipality of Lignano, they were so captivated with the spot that they marked it by planting some juniper twigs in the sand. However, their “secret” place did not remain secret for long. The very next year the first bathing establishment went up on that same spot. The resort was subsequently launched, complete with the signature “Terrazza del Mare” promenade and the Grand Hotel Lignano, ready to welcome the visitors who have flocked there ever since.

The official centenary+20 opening ceremony is programmed for the 7th May 2023 and will be followed by a busy programme of attractions, entertainments and events throughout the entire season, including the 39th edition of the prestigious Ernest Hemingway Literary Prize, which will be awarded on the 23-24th June to 2023 winner Oscar Hokeah, author of “Calling for a Blanket Dance”.

Info: Tel. +39.0431.71821 www.lignanosabbiadoro,com

Posted on 24 Apr 2023 by Editor

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