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History of the Carnival in Venice: the Bauta and Moretta, the traditional Carnival masks

"Buongiorno Siora maschera!" ( Good morning, Lady mask ): This was the greeting along the streets and canals of the city during Carnival: nothing in those days was more important, neither gender, neither social class, let alone the person's identity.
The Craftsmen who produced masks were called "maschereri", they belonged to the class of painters and they had their own statutes dating back to 1436. The manufacture of masks was not limited to the carnival period, because they were worn throughout the year even in official banquets or parties of the Republic.

Subterranean Naples

La Galleria Borbonica, the Bourbon Tunnel, a dusty passage full of lost items, the carcasses of cars and motorbikes, the remains of old electrical equipment and of statues, is the tunnel located under a hill called, ironically, God’s Mountain, Monte di Dio.

It is a segment barely longer than 500 meters/1,600 feet and was dedicated in 1855 to the Bourbon King Ferdinand II.

"Pirola Parola"

In the Venetian tradition, the Epiphany which occurs on January 6th, is celebrated with ornate fireworks and a huge bonfire created to “burn the witch” (brusare a vecia).  Our ancestors used this bonfire as a way of presaging the weather for the coming year, not unlike Groundhog Day in the United States.

This tradition has different names depending which part of the Veneto you are in.  In the countryside it may be called "Pirola Parola”; around Treviso it is called "Pan e Vin”; in the eastern Veneto, “Casera”; or any number of other strange names.

New Museo degli Innocenti in Florence

The Istituto degli Innocenti [Institute of the Innocents] in Florence has been in continuous operation, helping children and families, for over six centuries.  Founded at the beginning of the 15th century, it was the first secular institution dedicated to taking in orphaned children.  The institute is located in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, in the old hospital designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and enriched over time with works of art by many other famous artists.


During our last trip to Ravenna, where we had participated in a symposium on the history of Jews in Italy, among other very interesting topics, we took the opportunity to take a pleasurable walk through the historic center of Ravenna.

What is really great about the pedestrian-friendly historic center is that you can walk around without any problem, and these days, with its holiday decorations, it is even more beautiful.

"Frantoi Aperti" from October 29 to November 27, 2016

Frantoi Aperti [olive presses opened] is an event, now in its 19th year, spread throughout the Umbria region, to be held this year from October 29 to November 27.

It's a wonderful opportunity to discover this lovely region in the heart of Italy; during the course of five weekends you can visit the lesser-known Umbria, one of countless medieval villages, olive presses, farm estates and small museums.

73rd Venice International Film Festival

The 73rd Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will run at the Venice Lido from August 31st to September 10th, 2016. 

The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. The Festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.