Dooid’s Suggestions for This Weekend in Italy

 

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Are you in Italy this weekend and wondering what events might be going on near you? We have you covered here with lots of ideas in every part of the Bel Paese!

Northern Italy

Central Italy

Southern Italy

Our itineraries

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Our hotels

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Pet-holidays-in-northern-Italy-dooidWould you like to stay up to date on all the events happening all over Italy? Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know!

Stay in Lucchesia: discover Lucca and its surrounding area

 

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Have you ever visited the beautiful city of Lucca? Have you ever been there when the camellias are in full bloom? Have you ever dressed up as a ninja with your friends for the famous Lucca Comics event? If not, the time has come for you and a group of friends or family to make unforgettable memories in Lucca. Enjoy this Stay in Lucchesia package!

 

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Cost and Terms & Conditions

Up to 4 guests ( 2 rooms ) € 160,00/per night.

Each additional person is € 25.00 / night. The offer varies according to the number of people.

Minimum stay 4 nights

10% off only with dooid (taxes included) on a minimum of a 7-night stay

 

Payment Method: by bank transfer

How to Book: read the final paragraph and fill out the form below.

Cancellation policy: free up to 30 days before arrival, after this deadline, 50% of the price of the stay will not be refunded.

An additional security deposit of € 400.00 is required for any damage caused to the property which will be refunded upon check out (after checking the house).

The structure

The house was built around 1784, when it originally housed nuns. In the early 1900’s, however, it was transformed into a small farm.   The building has been finely restored, preserving the stone exterior, and is ready to offer tourists an authentic experience. The structure is located in the neighborhood called vicinato, perhaps because it is isolated, but yet close to the real village. This area is the oldest part of the town and if its walls could only talk!

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What to Do and See

Lucchesia, as it’s known in Italianis an area of Tuscany rich in art and culture, but also in various events that attract tourists and enthusiasts from all over Italy and beyond!

The city of Lucca is one of the jewels of Tuscany. The town is protected by walls on which you can take pleasant walks accompanied by the sound of rustling trees. You’ll see the famous towers (Torre delle Ore and Torre del Guinigi) above the rooftops. In the historic center you’ll find the Cathedral: Lucca is nicknamed the “city of a hundred churches” due to the large number of sanctuaries scattered within the city walls.

As you wander along the cobblestone streets of the city and window shop, you’ll make your way to Piazza Napoleone, or Piazza Grande as it’s known by the locals. This is where most of the events, such as Lucca Comics and Games and the otaku event, take place. The piazza is also home to concerts like the Lucca Summer Festival which brings international stars such as Elton John.

Going back towards the village of the camellias, or Pieve and Sant’Andrea di Compito, art and nature come together. Strolling along the streets of these villages, you’ll be able to witness the most spectacular camellias, parks and historic villas. Sant’Andrea di Compito is a charming Tuscan village with narrow streets, stone walls, ancient buildings and even some villas from the 1700s.

Contact Us

If you need additional information or if you’d like to personalize your package, please fill out the contact form below or send us an email at  booking@rimmontech.it. You can also contact us on our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in this offer, contact us for additional information!
Let us organize your stay in Lucchesia:
from your hotel to everything you might need for a pleasant trip!

Package code: 201903141658

Catania package, Sicily: includes hotel, shuttle, meals!

 

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How does a relaxing weekend in CataniaSicily sound? Overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna, you’ll discover Catania’s art and natural beauty. With this special Catania package you can enjoy a well-deserved break and indulge in Catania’s amazing cuisine!

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Cost and Terms & Conditions

199€ per couple (meat dinner menu)

225€ per couple (fish dinner menu)

Offer Includes:

  • 2 nights in a double deluxe room with breakfast
  • 4-course dinner with wine tasting (3 glasses DOC wine)
  • shuttle service from airport/port/station
 

Payment Method: Deposit of 99 € required, balance due at check in. You can book at any time, even last minute (subject to availability).

How to Purchase: Read the final paragraph and fill out the form below

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policy: the deposit amount paid will not be refunded, but you will be given the option of applying it towards a credit for a future reservation (within 6 mos).

Valid During: all year except 3-day weekends and holidays at which point there would be an increase of the offer price.

The Hotel

Casa Provenza

An oasis in the baroque heart of Catania where you’ll enjoy the comforts of personalized rooms, completely renovated spaces, furnishings and colors.

On the fourth floor of the building (equipped with elevator) you will enjoy a 180 ° view from the covered terrace of the most beautiful façade of the city center, in an area with limited evening traffic on weekends.
Ideal for leisure stays, individual or group, or business trips, you will be “pampered” by the managers and the attentive and dedicated staff. Free Wifi, available in all indoor and outdoor areas.

Also available for your leisure: a reading area with seasonal guides and information, tour desk, book-exchange and relaxation room, with refrigerator and drinks, kettle and herbal tea, toaster and microwave.

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What to Do and See

Catania is not just a city of art! It overlooks a crystal clear sea just waiting to be discovered! 
The Riviera dei Ciclopi or the Cyclops Riviera is stunning: characterized by black lava that has reached the sea. Equally beautiful and noteworthy are the Grotte di Ulisse or the Ulysses Grotto where you can take a swim in the clear waters. In the fishing village of Acitrezza you can visit the protected area around the Faraglioni and the Lachea Island by pedal boat. And you cannot leave without tasting the best granita and pastries in the area at the Eden Bar!

Admiring Mount Etna, whose prominent outline is the backdrop to the whole city, is obviously a must.

Besides the amazing gifts of Mother Nature, you’ll also want to visit the Cathedral of St. Agnes which dominates the Piazza del Duomo; the town hall and the elephant fountain; the Roman Theater; Via Etnea and so much more!

Contact Us

If you need additional information or if you’d like to personalize your package, please fill out the contact form below or send us an email at  booking@rimmontech.it. You can also contact us on our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in this offer, contact us for additional information!
Let us organize your Catania package:
from your hotel to everything you might need for a pleasant trip!

Package code: 201903081544

Folk Traditions Festival in Petralia

That’s right, folk is not just tradition, but a life style! It’s like a drug; once you go into the tunnel, you can’t come out. You don’t even try to stop, but if for some reason, you distance yourself from it for awhile, you miss it. After awhile you get used to being without it, but as soon as you hear that distinct sound of a cheerful accordion or an upbeat mazurka, you realize that your feet are independent of the rest of your body being commanded by the beat.

The Festival of Popular TraditionsPantomime dance of Cordella in Petralia Sottana (Palermo) is an example. This will be the XXXV Mediterranean Meeting of International Folklore held every year during August in this beautiful location within the Madonie Park. During the typical celebration of the Cordella dance, the ancient peasant traditions are recalled as a sign of hope for a fruitful harvest and married life. The festival lasts for four intense days that are packed with events, workshops and concerts from morning until late evening. There are even signing and dance workshops for children.

petralia-folk-festival-2018The last day is where the real party takes place which consists of the re-enactment of the traditional Sicilian wedding complete with a church ceremony and a wedding procession that from the village parades up to the pine forest above Petralia Sottana. The traditional Cordella dance concludes the festivities in a blaze of colored ribbons woven by twelve pairs of dancers to the rhythm of the cheerful sound of the tambourines.
Over the course of these four days the city changes its appearance, coming alive with people of all ages who fill the streets. Guests will notice the proud faces of children in their traditional garb and locals who participate enthusiastically keeping their island’s folk culture alive. Parades of local folk groups and international guests, cuisine from around the world, book lectures and finally concerts will delight.

But that’s not all. Grab a speaker, connect to a telephone, find a free square, some dancers and start again. Maybe you’ll only start with a few, 6 or 8 people, but as the music goes on, some passerbys stop to look. The energy and enthusiasm soon overwhelms them, and their swept into the growing climax of the dance. 

Folklore-petralia-sottana-eventiIt captures you and overwhelms you in its vortex.
It is an indispensable exchange of energy! You suddenly realize you are very tired, but the energy that your body expended is all returned to you in spirit by your dance partner, the people who dance around you, the music, the joviality of the moment, the desire to dance until exhaustion, to make friends and to fly … you realize that your body  no longer feels tired.

The newcomers can initially be skeptical, embarrassed because they do not know the steps or people with whom you dance; it’s normal. The Circassian circle loosens tension, loosens the body, confuses you, amuses you. You are inexorably involved. When the music starts, the dancers frantically run in search of a partner. There are never enough men. You search through the crowd looking for a volunteer. You can not find one. You draw one against his will. Resistance. You hastily reassure him that the steps are easy and that he will learn them in a few rounds, at each change of partner. It begins. He’s tense and embarrassed. He hesitates and his steps are uncertain. He continuously makes mistakes, again and again until finally, he’s having fun. He’s passionate and alive.

There is no age. Everyone is dancing with everyone. It is pure magic.

For more exciting ideas in the Palermo area, read our other articles: HimeraPorticello

 

photo copyrights: 
www.radunodelfolklorepetralia.it

Artigianato Vivo Festival in Cison di Valmarino

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Cison di Valmarino

ArtigianatoVivo is an artisan festival held from 5 to 15 August in Cison di Valmarino in the province of Treviso, between Follina and Vittorio Veneto. It has steadily and increasingly attracted thousands of tourists from far and wide since 1980. There is talk of a turnout of 400,000 people this year.

The town of Cison – which has recently been inducted into the exclusive “club” of Borghi Più Belli d’Italia (Most Beautiful Villages of Italy)– comes to the forefront of excellent artisan craftsmanship that Italy truly does best.

200 exhibitors will present their unique products made strictly by hand at stands throughout the village. These types of festivals keep the Italian tradition and the art of “know-how” alive in this technological era in which craftsmanship is slowly dying.

In conjunction with the event, the Proloco organizes a series of side events such as concerts, animation shows, exhibitions and literary meetings.

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Castle Brandolini

ABOUT CISON DI VALMARINO

As I said, the tourist turnout is very high, and the whole territory merits a holiday of at least a few days. The artisan festival is a great opportunity to explore this beautiful area.

Cison di Valmarino is located in Valmareno, a valley dominated by the fortifications of the XII century Brandolini Castle which has been converted into a luxury hotel.

The Brandolini Counts were men of arms in feudal times and later became gentlemen dedicated to the economy, leaving an indelible imprint throughout the village.

The heart of the historic center is Piazza Roma which is dominated by Palazzo Marcello. It was the ancient Venetian villa of the Venetian doges Marcello, famous winners of the battle of Lepanto and the Loggia.

You will notice while walking through Cison that almost all the old houses have red or maroon shutters; a red that in these parts is called Rosso Brandolini.

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Antiche Cantine Brandolini

Another example of the restoration of feudal buildings is the Antiche Cantine Brandolini. The building already appeared, as a basic structure, in fifteenth century maps. It has always been a particularly important place for the life of the village: built by the Brandolini family, it was initially used as a stable and then adapted to the wine production and conservation of agricultural products. It’s proof that the viticulture industry was already present in this area in distant times due to the high demand from Venice and the entire Veneto region.

As early as 1440, Valmareno already specialized in the cultivation of vines … and even today the entrire economy of the area is based on the production of wine, especially Prosecco.

Needless to say, this is an area where food and wine tastings are among the top tourist attractions. 

Cison-artigianato-vivo-2018-rolleRolle of Cison di Valmarino

You can not go to visit Cison di Valmarino without going through Rolle, a very small town surrounded by Prosecco vineyards. The poet Andrea Zanzotto defined it as “a postcard sent by the gods”. Beautiful all year through, the most fascinating season to visit Rolle is undoubtedly in autumn when the hills glow red.

 

Copyright photo The most beautiful village in Italy + Antiche Case Brandolini + Rolle: Carla La Rocca

Copyright photo Palazzo Marcello: villevenetecastelli.com

Copyright photo Castelbrando from above: hotelcastelbrando.com

Ambrosiano Carnival in Milan

If you missed the Carnival celebrations in Italy this year, you’re in luck because Carnival in Milan has yet to begin! When all the others are coming to a close, Ambrosiano is just getting started. Let’s find out the details.

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Why It Begins Later

Why is it that Ambrosiano begins after Ash Wednesday when all other Carnivals end? Legend has it that the motive for this delay dates back to the fourth century when Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was out of the city on a religious pilgrimage and wanted to postpone the festivities until his return. Being Bishop, he, of course, got his way, and so now rather than Fat Tuesday, Milan celebrates Fat Saturday. Other theories propose that there could have been catastrophic events leading to the date change. Whatever the reason, the tradition stuck!

Ambrosiano Carnival Events

The event takes place in the historic center of Milan from February 26-29, 2020. The streets will be filled with vibrant colors, costumes, music, dancing, and the aroma of the famous Carnival sweets, chiacchiere and tortelli. This year will be even more exciting because the program of events includes a Clown Festival. Clowns and performers from all over the world will amaze visitors with their skills. But that’s not all because the 2020 edition will also include theater with 18 free performances throughout the city center. 

Ambrosiano is completely suitable for kids and from the 26th to the 29th from 2 pm to 7 pm in Piazza San Fedele, Palazzo Marino, City Hall, and Piazza della Scala there will be music, magic shows, face painting, and even workshops.

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All the events are free of charge! Check the official website for exact times and locations.

Saint Maurice al Monastero Maggiore Church in Milan

Milan, the city of hidden beauty. Everyone knows the Duomo and the Sforza Castle, but if you walk through the center, you can also find many other unknown artistic masterpieces. One of these is found at number 13 on Corso Magenta and it is the church of Saint Maurice al Monastero Maggiore.

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We are in the heart of Milan, a stone’s throw from the main tourist attractions. Corso Magenta is one of the most elegant and characteristic streets- perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in the true soul of the city and admire the beauty of its historic buildings.

“Sistine Chapel of Milan”

From the outside, the church of Saint Maurice goes almost unnoticed- its gray facade appearing anonymous- similar to many others. However, when you enter, you immediately understand why the art critic Vittorio Sgarbi called it the “Sistine Chapel of Milan”. An explosion of paintings and frescoes covering every corner, wall, and ceiling of the church will leave you breathless. The fact that such a small church can contain all these masterpieces will amaze you.

Saint Maurice al Monastero Maggiore was the largest female Benedictine monastery in Milan for about a thousand years, from the 17th century until 1798, when the convent was suppressed. It belongs to the Early Christian period. In the 16th century, the convent was rebuilt, and in 1503, the architects Gian Giacomo Dolcebuono and Giovanni Antonio Amadeo started the construction of the church.

The Two Sections

The church is divided into two sections: a public part dedicated to the faithful that faces the street and coincides with the main entrance, and an interior part, called the Chorus of the Nuns. The latter was once reserved only for cloistered nuns, who were forbidden to have contact with the public. Thanks to an iron grille that was placed above the altar to separate them, the nuns were able to listen to mass.

The protagonists of the amazing frescoes that adorn the entire church are saints, episodes from the Bible and of the life of Jesus Christ. They were painted between 1522 and 1529 by artists from the Lombard Renaissance. The principal artist was Bernardino Luini, who was part of the group of the so-called Leonardeschi painters that followed the style of Leonardo da Vinci. Bernardino Luini was the artist most appreciated by the aristocracy of Milan of the 16th century and in fact, in some frescoes, he depicted some members of the Bentivoglio family. The Bentivoglios commissioned the painting of the whole church. Another important painter of two of the frescoes was Simone Peterzano. The name probably won’t sound familiar, but suffice it to say, he was Caravaggio’s teacher.

The first part of the church that was frescoed was the area dedicated to the nuns. In particular, the oldest fresco covers the vault where the nuns who were part of the choir gathered. It makes an impression with its brilliant colors. The four evangelists are depicted surrounding the Eternal Father Blessing on a dark blue background.

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In the nuns’ section, you can also find a very particular painting, one of the last to have been painted, and the oldest organ in Milan dating back to the 16th century. 

The painting that I am referring to is Noah’s Ark by Aurelio Luini, one of Bernardino’s sons. It depicts the animals of the Ark in a very colorful and detailed way, and it presents two anomalies. The first is that Luini included unicorns, among other animals, and the second, is that all the animals are represented in pairs except the dogs, which are painted in a trio.

Like all churches, Saint Maurice had to be restored. The Banca Popolare di Milano financed the works between 1997 and 2015.

Archaeological Museum

Since the Second World War, when all the cloisters of the monastery were demolished, Saint Maurice’s has also housed the Civic Archaeological Museum of Milan. You can admire works dating back to the Etruscan, Roman, Greek and barbaric age. There is also a model of the current city, overlapping the one of the 11th century, when the city was called Mediolanum

This beautiful gem of Milan is open today thanks to the daily dedication of the volunteers of the Touring Club Italiano, who are happy to welcome you from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 to 19:30. Entrance is completely free. On Thursday evenings, classical music concerts are held in the nuns’ choir.

If you are interested in more news and information about Saint Maurice’s, visit the website Turismo Milano.

 

 

Photo copyrights:wwww.ufficiodelturismo.it, Paola Cambielli

Carnival Traditions in Aosta: Coumba Freida

In Italy’s Aosta Valley, bordering Switzerland and France, very special Carnival festivities take place every year. The area of the Great Saint Bernard Valley (Valle di Gran San Bernardo) and the Valpelline are known as the Coumba Freida which literally means ‘cold valley’. Let’s find out more about their Carnival traditions so deeply rooted in local history. 

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©lovevda.it/it

Unique Carnival Traditions

This isolated area, like much of Italy and Europe, had already been celebrating Carnival since the 15th century; however, the events that took place in May of 1800, would permanently change the course of its history. Napoleon and his troops marched through and brutally sacked this area during the Napoleonic Wars and his campaign in Italy. These events give Aosta’s Carnival a much different aspect as compared to those of southern Italy.

Costumes

Each of the villages in this area has its own celebration but there are common threads among them reflecting both their distant past and more recent past. Costumes reflect the French soldiers and the masks (known as landzette) are allegorical representations of them as well. Everything is painstakingly handmade and includes other folkloristic features as well such as mirrors to ward off evil spirits. Red is a popular color representing strength and many of the costumes have mule tails or horse tails to ward off cold winds. 

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©lovevda.it/it

What to Expect

The procession includes locals dressed in these amazing costumes parading through the streets with lots of singing, dancing, and food and wine. They even enter into people’s homes where they are offered food and wine. 

Cities and 2020 Dates 

  • Gignod: 15, 22, 25 February
  • Etroubles: 20, 21 February
  • Roisan: 22, 23 February
  • Saint-Oyen: 22 February
  • Allein: 23, 25 February
  • Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses: 23, 25 February

This is not a comprehensive list of all the cities. More information is available on Aosta Valley’s official tourism website.

What to See in Oristano on Sardinia’s Western Coast

Oristano is a fairly large city located on the western coast of the island of Sardinia. Like most of the island, Oristano’s claim to fame is definitely its beaches. Is Arutas with its white, pebbly sand is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. It is also known for its annual horserace, La Sartiglia, that takes place during the Carnival season.

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Brief History

Like most of Italy and Europe, Oristano was populated by the Greeks, Phoenicians, raided by the Arabs and later, the Spaniards and Piedmontese. Influences of these populations can be seen everywhere from Oristano’s architecture to its traditional dress and even cuisine.

What to See

No historic center would be complete without the piazza and Oristano is no exception. Piazza Eleonora is named after Eleonora of Arborea one of the most powerful judges and heroine of Sardinia. This beautiful square has the heroine’s statue as its focal point.

Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral most likely dates back to the 12th century but after numerous attacks over the centuries, its most recent reconstruction took place in the mid-1700s as is evident by its classic Baroque style. The relics of Saint Archelaus, Patron Saint of Oristano, can be found here.

Saint Christophoros Tower (also known as the Tower of Mariano II) is in the heart of the city in Piazza Roma. Built in 1290 for the purpose of defending the city from the frequent pirate attacks, it is nineteen meters high. 

Another important building is the Archiepiscopal Palace or the Palazzo Arcivescovile which houses numerous works of precious art. Many of the pieces were transported to the island from Tuscany during the Piedmontese rule under the House of Savoy.

Museums include the Antiquarium Arborense located in Piazza Corrias which is an impressive collection acquired by the city from a private party. It’s also equipped with touch screens and appropriate for the entire family. 

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Beaches

It would be completely remiss not to mention a few of the exquisite beaches near Oristano. As previously mentioned, Is Arutas (also known as Cabras) is at the top of the list. Its beach is actually made of quartz pebbles that vary in color from creamy white to pastel pink to green. It’s renowned for snorkeling and surfing. 

San Giovanni di Sinis doubles as the archaeological site of Tharros, the Phoenician and later, Roman city. The ruins weren’t uncovered until the mid-1800s and are now, along with those of Nora, the only Roman ruins that remain on the island. Torregrande Beach is Oristano’s closest beach and is characterized by soft, golden sand and loads of services from water sports to bars and bathing establishments.

Summer is, of course, the most popular time to visit but thanks to its subtropical Mediterranean climate, Oristano is pleasant year-round. Even in the months of December and January, the average daily temperatures are around 14C.

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Cuisine

The area is famous for its strong white wine known as Vernaccia. A traditional liqueur called Mirto is made from native berries similar to a blueberry. Mirto leaves are even used in preparing the roasted pork dish porceddu. Sheep milk cheese, Pecorino Sardois widely eaten all over the island and exported to the peninsula as well. Being coastal, seafood plays an important role in Oristano’s cuisine and includes bottarga also known as ‘Sardinian gold’ or ‘Mediterranean caviar’. It is basically salted and cured grey mullet roe that is used sparingly to flavor dishes much like truffles. 

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Visiting Saint-Barthélemy in Aosta Valley

Saint-Barthélemy in Italy’s Aosta Valley region is a magical place where you can enjoy picturesque landscapes, the outdoors, and even an observatory.

Why Saint-Barthélemy

Nature and Sports

If you love the mountains and, at the same time, you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual, Saint-Barthélemy is perfect. In the warmer months visitors can enjoy trekking and walking trails and in the winter, world-class skiing and even snowshoeing

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Oratory of Cuney

In the surrounding area, at 2,652 m altitude, is the Oratory of Cuney. This is perhaps the highest sanctuary in Europe. On August 5th every year, in celebration of Our Lady of the Snows, a beautiful procession to the sanctuary takes place in which the cross is immersed in the creek waters. Next to the sanctuary is the comfortable Cuney refuge, located along the Alta Via trail.

Observatory

The observatory is equipped with a planetarium, which has a dome of about 10 mt in diameter. Since 2009 visitors have had the chance to see projected images received from powerful telescopes! Finally, let’s not forget the clean air that, in addition to allowing for great visibility of the starry sky, is definitely good for our health. The guides are well-prepared and knowledgeable which makes it perfect for every kind of audience, from children to scholars. 

Saint-Barthélemy is a lovely, unique destination that has something for everyone!

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©articolidiastronomia.com

The Most Cat-Loving Cities in Italy

Adored in antiquity and a source of superstition, the cat is one of the most beloved and hated pets of all. Throughout history, we have seen this animal both associated with divinity and associated with witchcraft or as a synonym for bad luck. But this domestic feline still has a fanbase, to the point of dedicating an entire day to it. In Italy, February 17th is National Day of the Cat, but which Italian cities have the most affinity with them? Let’s find out together!

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The Day of the Cat

Before talking about the most “feline” Italian cities, let’s find out more about how the Italian Day of the Cat began. Journalist Claudia Angeletti proposed a referendum to dedicate a day to this incredible feline back in 1990. There are several reasons why the choice fell on February 17, fully explained by Oriella Del Col, who first proposed this date:

  1. Cats are considered free spirits, independent and not very attentive to the rules. Characteristics attributable, according to the horoscope, to the sign of Aquarius. This is one of the reasons for choosing the month.
  2. In addition to the reference to the horoscope, the month of February was associated with witchcraft in antiquity.
  3. In many countries, including Italy, the number 17 is said to be unlucky much like black cats.
  4. By transcribing the number 17 in Roman numerals, or XVII, to then anagram it in Latin VIXI or “I lived, I died”.
  5. In Italy, rather than a cat having “9 lives”, the phrase says 7! So again, the number 17 could be interpreted as 1 x 7 or 1 life 7 times. 

It’s all very mysterious and fascinating! Let’s find out which Italian cities have the most cats.

Italian “Cat” Cities

Rome

Rome turns out to be the Italian city most populated by cats: 55,725 of them! There is even a cat sanctuary located in the Sacred Area of ​​Torre Argentina. Here the cunning felines find refuge and protection in the midst of the ruins of this important archaeological site.

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Naples

Second to the “Eternal City”, Naples boasts 25 thousand cats! There are tons of initiatives here to support felines.

Turin

That brings us to Turin which houses about 20 thousand cats. The municipality tries to help the colonies of animals by offering food and shelter to the city’s cats. It was so successful that a well-known cat food company offered its support.

Milano

In Milan, in the middle of the Polyclinic pavilions, there is a colony of cats that has lived here for a very long time. In the Milan area alone there are 15 thousand cats.

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These are just a few of the cities in Italy that love cats, but the numbers across the peninsula don’t lie- Italians love their cats! We can venture to say that Italians love their cats or just maybe, cats love Italians!

 

You cant own a cat. The best you can do is be partners.

Sir Harry Swanson

 

 

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio is by far the most mysterious, magical place I have ever visited. It is on the World Monuments Fund watch list as an “endangered” city. It is known as “the dying city” in Italian because in the winter months, the population dwindles to an average of 10 people and in the summer, rises to only about 100. Daily tourists during the summer months can increase the visitors to around 2,000.bagnoregio-civita-di

It was built by the Etruscans in the 6th century B.C. upon the soft, volcanic rock known as tufa or tuff. It is precisely for this reason that it is in danger of collapsing under its own weight due to erosion.

Since 2017, it has also made the UNESCO World Heritage Site list (although currently under the title of “tentative lists”). In the meantime, the city has begun charging a small entrance fee of only 5 euro per person which has helped to cover some of the restoration and maintenance costs.

Bagnoregio is the main town prior to crossing the bridge into Civita di Bagnoregio; both places offer accommodations, although Civita is of course, more limited. We visited in mid-April in what would still be considered “low season”and our “home base” for the trip was Lake Bolsena, which is only about a 30 minute drive. Another option would be Orvieto, also majestically perched upon a tufo mountain, which would also make a great home base. 

We parked at the closest parking lot available to the bridge itself and posed for numerous photos while walking across the bridge towards Civita. There weren’t many tourists on the day we visited which made for wonderful photo ops at every turn. You can easily pick up a few souvenirs, have lunch, and meander through the entire town in a couple of hours

It was a relaxing afternoon away from the noise of the big cities and completely worth the visit. It had been on my bucket list for some time, and I hope for posterity’s sake that it never disappears back into the earth and that it will still be perched there, upon the mountain, for centuries to come.

 

copyright photos: zingarate.com; dltviaggi.it; 10cose.it

Recanati: Visiting the Places that Inspired Giacomo Leopardi’s Poetry

It was always dear to me, this solitary hill,

and this hedgerow here, that closes off my view,

from so much of the ultimate horizon.

But sitting here, and watching here,

in thought, I create interminable spaces,

greater than human silences, and deepest

quiet, where the heart barely fails to terrify.

When I hear the wind, blowing among these leaves,

I go on to compare that infinite silence

with this voice, and I remember the eternal

and the dead seasons, and the living present,

and its sound, so that in this immensity

my thoughts are drowned, and shipwreck

seems sweet to me in this sea.

The Infinite, Giacomo Leopardi

These are the words of the famous poet Giacomo Leopardi. If the reason for your visit to Recanati is the well-known writer, this article is perfect for you! With this itinerary, you can experience Leopardi’s birthplace and immerse yourself in the exact environment of his poems.

Brief Biography of Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi was born on June 29, 1798, in Recanati, then part of the Papal States, to one of the noblest families in the country. The first of ten children, he began a self-taught education and then moved on to his father’s library. His dedication to studying lead him to have physical, back, and vision problems. In addition to this, his excessive religious upbringing and strict social conventions deprived him of much-needed affection.

During his adolescence, he transitioned from astronomical and classical studies to poetry. In 1817, he began writing Lo Zibaldone where he collected his ideas and thoughts. Over the following years, the deterioration of his sight leads him to philosophy, thus entering an atheistic and materialistic period from which The Infinite was born. In 1822, after a disappointing trip to Rome, he returned to Recanati where he wrote the Operette Morali in which his philosophical ideals regarding human unhappiness and the passage from historical pessimism to cosmic pessimism become evident. After short stops in Milan and Bologna, Leopardi finds hospitality in Tuscany. Pisa and Florence are the epicenters of his intense social relationships. On returning home from the Pisa, he writes To Silvia. Finally, he spends the rest of his life in Naples in a villa on Vesuvius where he publishes almost all his works. He died here at the age of 39 on June 14, 1837.

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Leopardi and Recanati

Palazzo Leopardi

Casa Leopardi is the place where the poet was born and raised. From the outside, it’s not a very impressive building on an artistic level, as it is characterized by simple lines classic of eighteenth-century architecture. Inside, there are authentic books and decorative paintings belonging to Leopardi. By visiting his home you’ll be able to retrace what the poet himself saw, felt and then wrote in his lines and in his verses.

The year 2020 has much in store for Palazzo Leopardi. Beginning March 21, the private apartments of the Leopard family, which have been inaccessible for almost 200 years, will be open to the public. The visit will be extended up to the bedroom and the window from which the poet admired the moon and drew inspiration. Also, the sitting room where he spent time with his siblings Carlo and Paolina, the garden from where he could see the Sibillini Mountains. They are the places of the author’s daily life that will allow the visitor to identify with him.

For more information about tickets visit the official website (Italian only).

Piazzuola Sabato del Villaggio

In front of Leopardi’s birthplace, we obviously find the square that inspired the famous poem Saturday Night in the Village. In this square, we also find other inspirations of the poet: Silvia’s house. Silvia’s house, actually Teresa Fattorini, is located on the first floor of the stables belonging to the Leopardi family. Originally it housed horses and carriages, while upstairs were the employees’ quarters. Built in 1796, it was later restored and opened to the public in 2017. Silvia’s house is composed of small rooms furnished with characteristic furniture of the time.

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The Infinite

The hill mentioned in The Infinite is located very close to Leopardi’s house. It is nothing other than a hill of Mount Tabor, the poet’s favorite destination for his walks. With direct access from home through a vegetable garden, Leopardi went here to admire the view and then draw inspiration from it.

The Tower of the Solitary Bird

The tower is part of the San Agostino Church complex and cloister in Recanati. It was a source of inspiration and remembered in the poem The Solitary Bird, but was, unfortunately, damaged by lightning in the late nineteenth century.

Other Locations 

As we all know, Leopardi did not live his entire life in Recanati. The poet visited several regions and cities during his short life by meeting friends and colleagues who are remembered in his works. The best known is certainly Ranieri, whom he met in Florence and with whom he then moved to Naples in 1833. His travels also took him to Milan, Bologna, Pisa, and Rome, which according to the poet was not as beautiful as he imagined. He died in Naples in 1837 and it is here that his tomb is found, precisely in the Vergiliano Park.

 

Carnival Traditions in Oristano, Sardinia: la Sartiglia

What if one morning we were to wake up and find ourselves in a world of jousting and horsemen some 500 years ago?

It’s the morning of the last Sunday of Carnival: the historic city center of Oristano in Sardinia is suddenly filled with the sounds of drum rolls and trumpeting; a majestic procession escorts a herald on horseback; the announcement of an imminent equestrian joust is made and citizens and horsemen are convened into the square facing the cathedral to witness the race… It’s the Sartiglia.

Twice a year, on the last Sunday and Tuesday of the Carnival festivities, the citizens of Oristano (located on the central western coast of Sardinia) and tourists from all around the world convene to relive the spectacular race. Since the 15th century, the ancient Sartiglia race has been at the heart of the Sardinian tradition.

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©facebook.com/SaSartiglia/

Curated by the ancient Farmers’ and Carpenters’ Guilds, the jousting ritual begins and adheres to a specific and solemn ceremony. During the morning of the race, su Componidori (the lead jouster) partakes in the dressing ritual and puts on the ancient ceremonial clothes and mask. Once dressed, his feet will not be allowed to touch the ground until the end of the Sartiglia. Only the spectators who received a special invitation will be permitted to watch the ceremony. Everyone else will be watching on the maxi screen in the Eleonora d’Arborea square.

The lead jouster then climbs onto his horse from the platform and rides to the cathedral square holding his scepter made of violets that symbolize the forthcoming spring. Among the jubilation, applause and drum roll, among the bright colors of the traditional Sardinian costumes and of the horses’ harnesses, the challenge begins. Su Componidori and the horsemen’s aim is to skewer the silver star hung above the street with the point of their sword, while on horseback of course. The race is a showcase of exciting skills and an amazing exhibition. The first phase of the festival officially closes with sa Remada, the incredible performance by the lead jouster, who blesses the community with his scepter while riding in a completely reclined position.

But the emotions are just beginning- it’s time for the pariglie, in which groups of three horsemen ride side by side at full gallop and prove their limitless courage by carrying out breathtaking acrobatics on horseback. The pariglie come out one after the other and will leave the audience breathless until the sun sets when after one last incredible parade, the horsemen and su Componidori will retire for the “Undressing” rite. This time, the audience can watch and celebrate the lead jouster and the end of the Sartiglia. If you’re lucky, you might just run into a horseman on his way back from the race and he might give you one of the many colorful ribbons that decorate his horse: a good luck charm for the new year.

The celebration will carry on until night time, among laughter and the delicious aroma of the traditional Sardinian sweets zippulas.

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©facebook.com/SaSartiglia/

So, there you have it- an original and exciting way to spend Carnival.

I can still remember my first Sartiglia. I was just a little girl, dreaming of costumes and streamers. I can remember the merry atmosphere of the feast, the rhythmic and hypnotic sound of the horses’ hooves on the cobblestones, the colorful ribbons that feasted my eyes everywhere I looked, the rustling sound of the masaieddas‘ dresses (young girls dressed in traditional Sardinian costumes). I hear the joyful shouts every time a horseman skewered the silver star; I see the thrilled gazes around me every time a horseman, standing on his mates shoulders, riding at full gallop, performs his acrobatics. The air is consumed with dust as the horses hurtle down the street. I remember leaving the festival with butterflies in my stomach telling my mum that I wanted to become su Componidori. Back then, I didn’t know that a daydream could become reality- female Componidoris do actually exist. I wanted to ride, to take a chance as a lead jouster, to take part in that ancient, amazing and mysterious magic that pervaded the city on that festive day that seemed to be frozen in time.

In the end, I didn’t become a horsewoman and I have never skewered a lucky charm star. I simply saved a colorful ribbon, a precious gift that is part of my memories, and an extraordinary desire to go back to that moment.

This year the Sartiglia takes place on February 23rd and 25th and in my opinion is an event for the entire family that cannot be missed.

For more information, please visit the official website:

Fondazione Sa Sartiglia

 

 

 

 

 

Carnival in Putignano: Over 600 Years of Tradition in Italy’s Puglia Region

That is not a typo in the title. It’s a fact that the village of Putignano in the Puglia region can trace its Carnival celebrations back to the year 1394! That makes this year’s edition precisely 626 years old.

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©facebook.com/carnevalediputignano/

History of Carnival in Putignano

Located in the Bari province and close to the now well-known village Alberobello and the lovely village of Noci, Putignano is a fairly large city whose claim to fame is its Carnival. Its beginnings date back to a time when this area was under constant attack by the Arab populations. It was decided that Saint Stephen the Martyr’s relics should be transferred from Monopoli to Putignano for safekeeping from the Arab raids.

On December 26, 1394, a procession brought the relics to Santa Maria la Greca Church in Putignano. As legend has it, the villagers who were busy in the fields pruning the grapevines stopped what they were doing and joined in the procession. A lively celebration of singing, dancing, and vernacular verse broke out and Putignano’s Carnival was born. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Carnival, as we know it today, began taking shape. By the 1950s Putignano’s floats had become paper-mache masterpieces and every year, they continue to get better. 

How Carnival Is Celebrated Today

Still today, Putignano’s Carnival officially begins on December 26th (Saint Stephen’s Day) and continues through Shrove Tuesday. Ancient rites and traditions enliven the historic center. Satyr and prose are performed by the locals and excess in every aspect is the theme. January 17th, or Saint Anthony the Abbot’s Day, marks the beginning of the satyrical performances held on every Thursday which range from making fun of the clergy to cheating husbands and wives.

February 2ndCandelora or Candlemas, is known as the Festa dell’Orso in Putignano. This folkloristic event is a theatrical representation in which a bear is a dangerous opponent to hunt and kill and also a friendly presence symbolizing spring. The next major celebration is, of course, Shrove Tuesday which signals the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent. Putignano, as do many other cities, actually holds a funeral for Carnival complete with a funeral procession and the burning of a paper-mache pig (symbolizing the excess of Carnival). One of the most highly-anticipated events of the entire season is the final minutes of Carnival’s life when the entire town celebrates with a huge paper-mache bell that, faithful to tradition, signals the last hour before the beginning of Lent. Dancing, wine, and a plate of pasta for all!

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©facebook.com/carnevalediputignano/

2020 Edition

Because it is one of the oldest and most well-known Carnivals in Italy, it is also incredibly well-organized. The parade dates for the masterful paper-mache floats are February 9, 16, 23, 25, 29. Tickets can be purchased in advance online. Buses are available from every major city in Puglia and Naples which will take you directly to Putignano (tickets available online). If you are driving, you can actually reserve a parking spot online in advance. All of this and more is available on the official website.