Category: Arts and Culture

From Foreign Language to Lingua Franca: Italian Immersion Programs in Italy

Torre di Babele (Italian Immersion Language School for Foreigners) in Rome

I have a confession. Despite having lived in Italy for nearly three years and having studied Italian off and on for a number of years, I have a long way to go before I can consider myself fully fluent in the language. There has been one time, however, when I felt really confident about my Italian …

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Ancient Ruins, Virtual Reality: Archaeological Sites Embrace VR For Enhanced Experiences

Domus Aurea, Sala Ottagona

Last weekend the Domus Aurea, also known as Nero’s Golden Palace, became the latest attraction to offer visitors the chance to wear virtual reality headsets while touring the site.

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Rome’s Museums On A Metro Map

Rome is often called an outdoor museum. But the capital also has dozens of museums to explore, not only in the Centro Storico but beyond the walls. Helping us locate all of these museums and galleries is a new map showing Rome’s museums as they relate to metro stops.

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The Atlas of Ancient Rome: Your New Favorite Coffee Table Book

Atlas of Ancient Rome

The Atlas of Ancient Rome, a gorgeous, new two-volume set edited by Andrea Carandini, promises to be an “authoritative archeological survey of Rome from prehistory to the early medieval period.” The slip-cased set is available now.

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Rome’s Ancient Pantheon to Begin Charging Admission

Pantheon

The Pantheon, one of the last major landmarks in Rome with free entry, will soon begin to charge admission.

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A Little Greek / Yogurt in Paestum

Paestum Temple

If you tell a Roman that you are going Paestum for the weekend, invariably he or she will tell you: “Make sure you pick up some mozzarella di bufala.” Paestum is a sight to see without the culinary pit stop. A city known as “Poseidonia” when it was part of Magna Grecia, Paestum is home to …

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A Special Harvest: Anatomical Theaters in Italy

Illustration from De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius

Since ancient times, man has been interested in anatomy — how muscles and bones function and fit together and how the body works. But it wasn’t until the Renaissance that the study of anatomy really took off, thanks in large part to the printing press, which helped anatomists, illustrators, scientists, and physicians get on the …

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CAMERA: Torino’s New Photography Museum

CAMERA Torino

On October 1, the city of Torino (Turin) inaugurated Italy’s newest museum. CAMERA, the Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, will showcase Italian and international photography in a 2,000 square meter space just down the road from the Museo Nazionale del Cinema and other sights in Torino’s historic center.

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The Milano Duomo, Inside and Out

Taking a break near the Milano Duomo

Over the weekend, I finally got the chance to check out Milan’s famed Duomo, that jagged, Gothic behemoth that defines the city’s traditional skyline. Also known as Santa Maria Nascente (Saint Mary of the Nativity), the Duomo is the second largest church in Italy (second only to Saint Peter’s in size) and it took more than …

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Will Work For Wine: Luca Signorelli’s Orvieto Duomo Contract and His Intoxicating, Apocalyptic Fresco Cycle

Orvieto Cathedral

In 1499, Tuscan artist Luca Signorelli signed a contract to paint two remaining sections of the Cappella Nuova (new chapel) of the Duomo in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. By 1502 (or 1504, depending on which documentation you read), he had completed his “End of the World” fresco cycle in what is now known as the …

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Cool Italian Street Art from The Drawing Bike

Rachele del Nevo, aka The Drawing Bike

Rachele del Nevo parks her bike every day on the corner of Piazza Della Rotonda within view of the Pantheon. It is here, right outside of Tazza D’Oro (one of the city’s best known coffee shops) that she sells her one-of-a-kind souvenir drawings of some of the city’s gorgeous landmarks.

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Photo of the Day: Mithras in the Vatican

Before Christianity became the dominant religion of Rome, many people worshipped Mithras, the pagan God depicted here.

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No Bull: Italy Has A New Museum Devoted to Sh*t

A newly opened museum in Italy wants to explore man’s relationship to manure. The Museo Della Merda (i.e., The Museum of Sh*t) is located at a dairy farm, on the ground floor of a medieval castle, in the village of Castelbosco (Piacenza) in Emilia Romagna.

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Classical Sculptures in Miniature Form at New Venice Exhibit

Classical Sculptures in Miniature Form

If you’re in Venice for the Biennale, consider stopping by Fondazione Prada’s “Portable Classic” exhibit, which features mini models of famous Italian sculptures, including the Farnese Hercules and the Laocoön. Source: Prada Exhibit Showcases Miniature Reproductions of Classical Sculptures : Architectural Digest

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Natale di Roma: Rome Celebrates Its Birthday

She Wolf in the Capitoline Museums

This post is about the birth of Rome, not about the birth of Christ. Both occasions use the word “Natale” in Italian. For posts about Christmas in Rome and Italy, click here. Most city foundation stories are pretty straightforward. But the origin story of the city of Rome is more akin to something you would read …

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A Show of Hands

It all started with David. Michelangelo’s statue of David was one of the first pieces of sculpture that I knew I had to see in person. Recognized worldwide as a symbol of Florence, David is marble come to life especially when you look at his hands. My European Art History professor many years ago urged us …

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The Colosseum, On High and Down Low

One of the things you need to know about touring Rome (and many other places in Italy) is that if you want to see something really special, then you’ll have to pay extra for it by going on a guided tour. While tours can certainly eat into your travel budget, they can also transform a …

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Will the Vatican Museums finally limit the number of visitors?

The Vatican Museums welcome up to 25,000 visitors per day. Is it time for them to limit the crowds?

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Smoking in Italy

A lot of Italians still smoke. This is hardly a newsflash for many. I have always known that Italians are more relaxed (than Americans, for example) about smoking. But it is still a surprise coming from a culture where smoking is stigmatized to where it is not necessarily expected but accepted across many generations. Italy imposed …

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A Tour of Rome’s Jewish Quarter

  “It’s impossible to do this tour or any other tour chronologically.” This was one of the first things Lauren, a guide for the walking tour company Context Travel, told us as we stood in Largo Arenula, our starting point for a historic walk of Rome’s Jewish Quarter and Trastevere. In addition to Lauren, a …

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