Monte di Pietà or “Pawnbroker”

Something not to overlook when visiting any Italian city are the Monte di Pietà buildings. Often they are the most prominent buildings of the city. The “Monte di Pietà” was nothing more than the common “Pawnbroker.” What makes it very different in Italy is the beautiful, richly decorated building that once was the “Pawnbrokers” of […]

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The Whereabouts of St. Mark

I was always fascinated by the story of St. Mark, whose remains are richly guarded under the main altar inside the Basilica of San Marco in Venice. Especially when I look at the beautiful mosaic on the facade of the Basilica where the remains of San Marco are covered with a blue sheet… like he […]

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A Xmas Tree for The Performing Arts

There is an installation of a Christmas Trees made with the travelling trunks, on various Piazze of Italy. The trunks are the object that unites all workers behind the scenes of performances, shows, fairs, and events. Instead of the traditional decorations, there are phrases written by show business workers, with words of good omen and […]

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Of Books and Cathedrals

Recently I read Follett’s latest book “The Evening and the Morning” A prequel to the [more] successful “Pillars of the Earth.” It was the Cathedral building adventures that captivated me, although much more so in the “Pillars” than on this last book. But it was the book that pushed me to visit a Cathedral as […]

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Murano: More than Glass Blowing

When there were impossible crowds in Venice, Murano was a great escape. It is still a great place to go to. In Murano, like in Venice the consequences of COVID are severe; very much so. Although walking the streets and visiting the famous sites is more pleasant now, it is painful to see their empty […]

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Dream Castles

Time to Draw those Bridges! Done with the battles, territories defended, done with Guelphs and Ghibellines, done also with feudal lords and dark Middle Ages, courts and cannons all are finished; now Italy finds itself with a landscape full of very beautiful castles too often forgotten. An Italian Treasure to Discover Castles are a unique […]

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Uncomfortable Architecture

Why Are So Many Fascist Monuments Still Standing in Italy? That is the question that Ruth Ben-Ghiat wondered about on an article (in October 5, 2017), for The New Yorker. She asked why in Italy buildings and monuments of the Mussolini era still shown off.  I am not so sure that we can easily say […]

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Six Pairs of Hands to Build Bridges

During my latest boat trip on the Venetian Laguna, I admired the “Six Pairs of Hands” at the Arsenale. They are quite visible from afar, and they are supposed to be admired also by the Biennale visitors. In 2019, at the “Arsenale”,  a gigantic installation consisting of 6 pairs of hands that start from the […]

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A Mysterious Armenian Island in Venice

So, we’ll go no more a roving    So late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving,    And the moon be still as bright. LORD BYRON San Lazzaro degli Armeni There is a small island just 20 minutes by vaporetto from Piazza San Marco, just in front of that long strip of land […]

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Villages and History

Strassoldo Perhaps one of the best hamlets on the The most beautiful Village list. Strassoldo is one quiet place where I would want to just move there for the summer and nobody should bother me until September 30th.   It is a rare example of an ancient medieval village, extremely well preserved, and of unique charm. […]

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The Gardens of Este

Three thousand years of history Atheste was the original latin name of Este, almost 1000 years BC, Este was the center of paleovenetian culture; there flourished a real civilization endowed with strong characteristic elements, which knew how to weave commercial relationships with the most varied populations. A Roman Colony In the first century BC ‘Ateste‘ […]

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The Greatest “Dome” on Earth

There are two great domes in Italy, equally famous; the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence; and Saint Peter in Rome. The latter on a project by Michelangelo, but resumed after his death by two architects (Giacomo Della Porta (1533-1602) and Domenico Fontana (1543-1607). Yet the ONE dome is the one in Florence, […]

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