Category Archive 'Italy'
15 Apr 2017

1907 Milan Car and Cycle Show

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Leopoldo Metlicovitz, Automobile and Bicycle Show, Milan 1907 Poster.

19 Jan 2017

Avalanche Buries Spa Hotel in Central Italy

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Some News Service:

PENNE, Italy (AP) — Rescue workers on skis reached a four-star spa hotel buried by an avalanche in earthquake-stricken central Italy Thursday, reporting no sign of life in the building even though two survivors found outside said more than 30 people had been in it when the snow struck.

As heavy vehicles tried to reach the Hotel Rigopiano to help with the rescue, criticism mounted over the response to the four quakes, one a magnitude 5.7, and days of unusually heavy snowfall that have blanketed the region. Accounts emerged of hotel guests messaging rescuers and friends for help Wednesday, with at least one attempt at raising the alarm rebuffed for several hours.

“Help, we’re dying of cold,” one couple wrote rescuers from the hotel, according to the ANSA news agency. …

When rescuers on skis arrived in the early morning hours of Thursday, they found just two people alive: Parete and another guest, Fabio Salzetta. There were no other signs of life, according to a video of the interior shot by rescue crews.

Salzetta had also sent a message out: “Some walls were knocked down,” Corriere della Sera reported. And: “I’m outside with a maintenance worker but you can’t see anything of the hotel, there’s only a wall of snow in front of me.”

Civil protection authorities said that 30 people were missing. ANSA quoted a rescuer as saying that there were fatalities, but details weren’t immediately available. Just one body was reported removed from the hotel by late morning Thursday.

18 Jul 2016

Tuscany

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Tuscany
Summer in Tuscany

31 Dec 2015

Amusing Non-Art

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Plushie1
Plushie2

In 2005, a group of artists in Italy built a giant 200-foot-long plushie rabbit in the countryside, and just left it there. It’s been there ever since.

28 Apr 2015

Italy Versus Europe

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Hat tip to Baroness Dominique De Benckendorff.

24 Mar 2015

Italians Wore the Best Helmets

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MilanBurgonet
A Milanese burgonet, bearing the visage of a dragon. Musée de l’Armée, Paris.

Hat tip to Belacqui.

01 Feb 2015

Message in a Cartridge

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Bullet1
Bullet2
Message1

Some Italian metal detectors found a coded message inside a WWII cartridge somewhere in Southern Tuscany. Gizmodo has the story.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Mar 2014

Italian Laws Getting Passed

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I don’t know if it’s true, but some people say that the Italian parliament currently passes legislation just so that its members can watch Maria Elena Boschi sign it. Maria Elena Boschi is an Italian lawyer, politician, and current Minister of Constitutional Reforms.

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Pshaw! Commenter Col. Goff provides a link demonstrating that the picture is a Photoshopped humor item, which has recently gone viral.

28 Feb 2014

The Sword in the Stone

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The always-rewarding Madame Scherzo yesterday published this Tumblr image which, in the manner of Tumblr images commonly was totally unidentified.

I am afflicted with an excess of curiosity, and began searching, finding out eventually that this is a photograph of unknown source of the ruined Abbey of San Galgano. More photos here.


St. Galgano

St. Galgano and his Abbey, it turns out, have one heck of a story.

Galgano Guidotti was born in 1148, the son of a minor noble, and one of those punk, no-good young knights constantly looking for trouble and worldly pleasures. One day when he least expected it, Archangel Michael appeared before him and showed him the way to salvation, and kindly provided him with directions as well. Next day, Sir Galgano announced that he was going to become a hermit and took up residence in a cave. His friends and relatives ridiculed him, and Dionisia, his mother, bade him to wear his expensive nobleman’s clothes and at least pay a last visit to his fiancée. On his way there, his horse reared, throwing Galgano. Spitting road dust, he suddenly felt as if he was being lifted to his feet by an invisible force, and a seraphic voice and a will he was unable to resist led him to Monte Siepi, a rugged hill close to his home town of Chiusdino.

The voice bade him to stand still and look at the top of the hill; Galgano saw a round temple with Jesus and Mary surrounded by the Apostles. The voice told him to climb the hill, and while doing so, the vision faded. When he reached the top the voice spoke again, inviting him to renounce his loose, easy living. Galgano replied that it was easier said than done, about as easy as splitting a rock with a sword. To prove his point, he drew his blade and thrust at the rocky ground. With an ease that would impress even cinderblock-splitting sword dealers at Renaissance fairs, the sword penetrated the living bedrock to the hilt. Galgano got the message, and took up permanent residence on that hill as a humble hermit. He led a life in poverty, visited by the occasional peasant looking for a blessing. He befriended wild animals, and once, when the Devil sent an assassin in the guise of a monk, the wild wolves living with Galgano attacked the killer and, according to legend, “gnawed his bones.”

Galgano Guidotti died in 1181, at the age of 33 years, and was canonized four years later. His funeral was a major event, attended by bishops and three Cistercian abbots, including one who had got lost while on his way to Rome. The next year, the Bishop of Volterra gave Monte Siepi to the Cistercian monks, aware that they would build a shrine to Galgano’s memory. They began building in 1185, erecting a round chapel that became known as the Cappella di Monte Siepi, on the hill above the main abbey, with the sword forming the centerpiece.

The Cappella offers a breathtaking view of the Abbey, the neighboring buildings and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Galgano’s body was for some reason lost after the funeral, although his head, which is said to have grown golden curls for many years following his death, was placed in one side chapel, and the chewed bones of the arms of the assassin in another. Saint Galgano’s head is preserved as a relic in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Siena, while the skeletal arms are still in place. The crowds of pilgrims were so numerous that the Cistercians were authorized to build another monastery named after the Saint a short distance away. It was to be one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in Italy, and one of the Cistercians’ two largest Italian foundations. The monastery soon became both powerful and respected. Monks from San Galgano were appointed to high offices throughout Tuscany. In the 14th century, a Gothic side chapel was added to the original Romanesque Cappella, and in the 18th century a rectory was added. The side chapel has the remains of some frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, including a faint picture of Galgano offering the sword in the stone to Saint Michael. The Abbey was sacked by the (in)famous English mercenary captain Sir John Hawkwood and his White Company, and by 1397 the abbot was its only inhabitant. The Abbey deteriorated over the centuries, becoming the impressive ruins seen today.


Galgano’s sword in the stone.

10 Feb 2014

“Nasschneelawine” in the South Tyrol

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Nas = “wet — Schnee = “snow” — Lawine = “avalanche”

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

30 Jan 2014

Gravity is Not Your Friend in the South Tyrol

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If you live in Tramin/Termino in the South Tyrol, you had better beware of falling rocks.

Gizmodo has more pictures.

06 Dec 2013

Italian Cavalry School 1906

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Italian Cavalry School at Tor di Quinto near Rome 1906

That rider is Federico Caprilli.

Hat tip to Ratak Mondosico.

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