The Vatican City is now on the UK's quarantine list announced by Grant Shapps yesterday afternoon. I was there at the time, savouring the once inconceivable pleasure of having the Vatican Museums almost to myself. In the Pinacoteca picture gallery I sat alone admiring the larger than life tapestries made from Raphael’s cartoons, Leonardo da Vinci’s...

The monumentality of The Eternal City manifests in substantial music with fully-developed harmonic structure. We feature GB Costanzi, a maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia at St. Peter's. What Makes It Italian? Discovering Regional Characteristics in Music is a music listening and discussion group that meets online on the Zoom platform and i...

FARO DELLA VITTORIA (VICTORY LIGHTHOUSE) is a lighthouse on Gretta hill near Trieste, in Italy. With a height of 223 feet (68 meters), it’s one of the tallest lighthouses in the world. It was constructed between 1923 and 1927 to commemorate those who died at sea during World War I. The location was chosen because of the importance of Trieste, acqui...

Lombardy is a region rich in history, monuments and castles. The paths in search of castles are potentially endless. There were many wealthy personalities who, in order to control the territory or to express their power, raised mighty fortresses and manors. Especially between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, military buildings flourish in pract...

Let me confess: although I have called Rome "home" for almost twenty years now, I have never visited the Vatican Museums. Too many crowds too many lines, too much hassle, so I consoled myself by admiring the impressive dome of St. Peter and imagining the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel.  This changed in the middle of July, thanks to a friend who...

Bologna: la dotta, la grassa, la rossa: “dotta,” the learned, because home to the oldest university in Europe. “La grassa,” the fat, because of her rich, decadent food. “La rossa,” the red, because of the terracotta hue of her buildings and, Italians know it, because of the historically leftist views of her people.  This charming, friendly and hear...

Fall season travel in post-lockdown Europe has both benefits and disadvantages. One benefit is fewer crowds. A downside is the ubiquitous need to wear masks indoors and on public transport, especially during still warm weather. On September 7th, Italy’s Ministry of Health issued a month-long prolongation of earlier travel restrictions related to Co...

Gradara is a beautiful medieval village in the province of Pesaro-Urbino, in the Marches. It is absolutely worth a visit and nowaday quite famous. It is considered by many the capital of the Middle Ages, awarded the Bandiera arancione (orange flag) since 2004 and winner of the Borgo dei borghi 2018 award. It offers unique itineraries among fortific...

Tuscany in Fall is hard to forget. After months spent welcoming tourists and taking well-deserved breaks on sunny seasides, attention is turned inwards. You can almost feel the pace slowing as the crowds disappear. With no one watching, the locals spend the last of the good weather traipsing through the fields and foraging deep in the forests.  In...

No institutional course can ever summon enough time and resources to master the art of false display. There’s a natural instinct that kicks in when a situation begs for us to wear our mask. It’s not the physical ornament that masquerades seem to worship, or that COVID-19 pandemic brought forward, but an inner intuition that resonates to a coping me...