Florence and the Mud Angels. As a sinkhole 200m long and 7m wide opened up along the Arno River embankment around 6.15 am this morning after a major water main broke during the night, the spectre of the Arno flood of November 4th, 1966* looms in the not so distant past. [more inside]
What's so bad about Friday the 13th? Well, what's so unlucky about the number 13? It's largely a modern, Western superstition, merging suspicion about Fridays and the number 13, which once concocted, felt ancient. Some give credit to the Thirteen Club, formed in 1881 or 1882, who flaunted so-called cursed actions, breaking glasses with abandon. Meanwhile, Martes Trece, or Tuesday the 13th is bad luck in Spanish speaking countries, and it's an ominous date for Greek history as Constantinople fell on the specific date in 1204, while Friday the 17th is a national day of sfortuna, or bad luck, in Italy. [more inside]
Civitacampomarano is a small village in the province of Campobasso, Italy, with just 400 souls, mainly elderly. In this village, rich in folk traditions, Internet is a partially unknown world: mobile phones have difficulty working and the data connection is practically nonexistent. [more inside]
How Marsala Wine Became an Italian Typical Product: "It is not by chance that, when in the 1960s a “Protected Denomination of Origin” system was established, Marsala was the first Italian product to obtain such recognition. The history of this wine and the role that it plays in the international commerce since the end of the 19th c., is however strongly reliant on merchants and entrepreneurs that were not Italian, but English."
On appeal, Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation has overturned the conviction for theft of Roman Ostriakov, a homeless man who stole a few Euros worth of sausages and cheese in 2011. The court ruled that "in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment" the theft was not a crime.
Italy. One 50 metre double line. 16 hammocks. 22 people. And, relax. Some background to the photo shoot.
#StarbucksItalia WIRED Here’s how Americans do coffee: We stroll into shops and order our lattes, often sprinkled with a dose of cinnamon or mint syrup, and hang around, sipping luxuriously on our drinks. We enjoy the Wi-Fi and the cushy couches. Sometimes, we’ll bring our laptops and try to get a couple hours of work done. This isn’t how it works in Italy.... [more inside]
There is surely no doubt that many, many coffee lovers here at Metafilter have used the classic Bialetti stove top espresso pot throughout the years. Heck, 200 million of them have been sold worldwide, including sales to, oh, I'd guess about 1 million Mefiers? So I think it's fitting that we honor the passing of Renato Bialetti, the businessman who brought the iconic appliance to the masses, and whose ashes have been placed, appropriately enough, in a replica of one of his famous pots. But let's also remember and pay our respects to Renato's papa Alfonso Bialetti who set the whole thing up in the first place, and who commissioned illustrator Paolo "Paul" Campani to create the little image of the mustachioed man (Renato himself!) who graces every Bialetti Moka pot. Mille grazie signori Bialetti!
Art lovers take note: a sprawling villa once owned by the artist and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti is on the market. And if you have a few million to spare, the masterpiece could be yours. The eight-bedroom villa, located near Siena, was bought by the Renaissance master in 1549 and remained in the Buonarroti family until 1867 - more than 300 years after his death. The home, surrounded by the vineyards of Chianti and views of Tuscany’s rolling hills, could be yours for €7.5 million. [more inside]
How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained.
What's really important in our lives is not how we appear. Beauty will vanish, but what we have inside, it will never change.Welcome to the capital of ugly
Count Pier Francesco Orsini (Google auto-translate) was a man much given to melancholy. The premature death of his wife, Giulia Farnese, and other troubles contributing to the decay of the once proud Orsini dynasty, darkened his outlook on life. Like the world-hating Jacques in Shakespeare's As You Like It, he seems to have come to regard the world around him with a somewhat self-advertising disgust. Orsini retreated noisily from the world of human affairs into nature, albeit a nature much improved by art (Google books preview). Those improvements came in the form of larger-than-life sculptures, some sculpted in the bedrock, which populated Sacro Bosco ("Sacred Grove"), colloquially called Parco dei Mostri ("Park of the Monsters"). [more inside]
- 100 Years of Fashion in 2 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Fashion in 3 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Swimwear in 3 Minutes (women's)
- 100 Years of Fitness in 100 Seconds
- 100 Years of Female Dance
- 100 Years of Music
- AFI's 100 Years ... (youtube playlist from American Film Institute)
- 100 Years of Black Beauty
- 100 Years of History in 2 Minutes
Forty years ago an Italian restauranteur, called Bruno, decided he liked welding and started making playground equipment for his customers' kids to play on. Today the entirely human powered - and rather scary - theme park of Ai Pioppi is the result. Reviewer Tom Scott escaped with a little more than grazed knees. [more inside]
Galaxy of Terror, Mutant (NSFW), Contamination and the joy of cheap alien knockoffs. Prefer the sequel? Here's Aliens remade under the name "Terminator 2". Sadly one take on the franchise that will not be seeing the light of day is Alien Identity, a fan film recently shut down by a cease and desist from Fox. Meanwhile the Neil Blomkamp Alien film continues to incubate.
Sam Borden on calcio storico, Florentine historic football
With two teams of 27 players placed in a sand pit and told, essentially, to do whatever is necessary to get a ball into the other team’s end zone, the sport is a strange mix of American football, rugby and street fighting. Watching it live, a more direct comparison might be to the children’s game Red Rover, but with punching and tattoos.
In 1914 Le Corbusier designed, but never built, an open-plan slab concrete house he caled Dom-Ino, combining domus and innovation. One was built to match the plans at the Vienna Biennial in 2014, but you can see the dom-ino philosophy in the skeletons of buildings all over: The Radical Le Corbusier Design That Shaped Italy [more inside]
Hundreds Feared Dead After Boat Filled With Migrants Capsizes in Mediterranean [New York Times]
"For the past several years, Europe has been confronted with hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving illegally from Africa and the Middle East, many of them fleeing war and poverty. Italy has been in the vanguard of rescue efforts, with its Navy and Coast Guard ships rescuing more than 130,000 people last year in a widely praised program known as Mare Nostrum."[more inside]
In 2000, Luciano Faggiano wanted to open a trattoria in Lecce, in the "boot-heel" of Italy. He bought what looked to be a modern building, but he had to open the floors in 2001 to find a leaking sewer pipes that were causing continuous humidity problems. He didn't find pipes, but a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar. Instead of opening a restaurant, his family has a museum, which is also available to virtually tour on Google Maps.
The unveiling of a new sporting venue is, in and of itself, not terribly out of the ordinary. In fact, there have been numerous new stadium projects proposed for Rome over the years, though none have made it past the mock-up stage. There is a sense on this day, however, that something is different. It is because of the two suited figures sitting at the center of the room, businessmen known throughout Rome simply as gli Americani — the Americans.
12 short poems is all that remains of the work of Nossis, one of the most beloved of the Ancient Greek poets. Exactly when she lived is uncertain, but it's certain that she was from Locri, which was on the "toe" of Italy. You can read about what archaeologists have found out about the ancient city on the website Locri Epizephyrii, Welcome To Magna Graecia. Scholars have tried to use Nossis' poetry to explain the particulars of life in Locri, looking for support for claims that noble status descended matrilineally. Marilyn B. Skinner looks at the status of women and explores the "unusual aspects of religious practice at Locri" in her essay Nossis and Women's Cult at Locri. You can read different translations of some of Nossis' poems, three by Skinner and two by Diane Rayor.
But we’re gonna try something new today: the energy and vitality of Nutella! And as always, we’re gonna use a condom, but this time it’s gonna be mango-flavored.
119 years ago, today, the unthinkable happened, as far as the Europeans were concerned. The Ethiopian army trounced the Italians in the Battle of Adwa. Headlines such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ peppered the European press. Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).
'I am a woman. I do not like war. But I would rather die than accepting your deal."attributed to Empress Taitu Bitul*, Wife of Menelik II [more inside]
"In creating a work that portrays real internal struggle and transformation, Caravaggio converted painting. [more inside]
Mamuthones move slowly, with heavy steps, as if they were chained. Their backs are curved under the weight of the bells, under the coarse vests, under the grimacing masks. Rhythmically, they shake their right shoulder, the left foot advances, bells clang in unison. Issohadores move with agile, deft steps, surrounding the darker figures as if they were hoarding them, guiding them, then confronting them.
Isabella Rossellini's daughter Elettra has a witty, attractive food/recipe blog where she shares a customizable pasta dish her grandfather, the iconic director Roberto Rossellini, used to make.
Giuseppe Gioachino Belli was a 19th Century poet who lived in Rome and wrote sonnets in the Romanesco dialect spoken by the poor of his native city. An accountant by trade, he wrote from the perspective of working class Romans living in the theocratic Papal States, and has been referred to as the voice of Rome. Translating his work has caused translators some difficulty, with many opting for equivalent dialects, such as Peter Dale who used working class speech of his native Melbourne as a model. Anthony Burgess made his Belli Mancunian, while Mike Stocks rendered Belli into something closer to standard English. Collections of translated sonnets by Belli can be read on Andrea Pollett's Virtual Roma website and on Maurizio Mosetti's site about Belli.
"If we start from the guts, we go back to our origin. It is the butchers, in the end, that bring our food back to the rusticness of the tribe." Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, guts a pig, and discusses the tradition and art of butchering and the importance of being "responsible carnivores...thankful for the gift." Cecchini is the "Dante-quoting butcher" featured in Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. And here's another video with a similar message, but a different piece of meat, more details about his village as a "tiny little gastronomic republic" and instructions on how to use every piece of the pig "in the best way."
Toiletpaper Magazine was founded by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. Their work - some contemporary nod to Surreal and Postmodern art - is oddly familiar, yet not quite like anything I’ve ever seen before. As visually stimulating as a publication can get these days, Toiletpaper hooks you, knocks your socks off, keeps you guessing. [more inside]
Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]
PIZZA: The Brooklyn Story - Scott Wiener (from Scott's Pizza Tours) gives a lecture weaving together the history of Italian immigrants, Pizza and Brooklyn.
SPACE.com has reported that a prototype of the ISSpresso, an espresso machine heading to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, was recently displayed at the 65th International Astronautical Congress 2014. [more inside]
'It’s hard to describe what Fernet Branca tastes like; it mostly tastes like Fernet Branca.' Fernet Branca is a kind of fernet, themselves a classifcation of amaro, bitter Italian digestifs. The Fernet Hot House: Don't Let Hipsters Ruin It For You [more inside]
The Aftershocks Seven of Italy’s top scientists were convicted of manslaughter after a catastrophic earthquake. What the hell happened in L’Aquila?
In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
"Ancora Tu" is an Italian phrase roughly translating to "You Again". It's also the name of a classic 1976 pop song by Lucio Battisti and Mogol. [more inside]
Stupendo! Meraviglioso! Spettacolare! Stunning synchronized motorcycling! Rome Police Hold Anniversary-1953
Mario: animated short An animation of a chilling Italian children's (?) song, created by painting frames on glass! [via mefi projects]
Daylight Firework Compilation from around the world, a very different display. If rain or hurricanes are putting a damper on your Independence Day pyrotechnics, check out Sergio Paolelli, Festival San Trifone - Adelfia 2013 for a spectacular 25 minute daylight show with a breathtaking finale. Also from Adelfia 2013, a grounds-eye view of the wild Batteria Sanseverese.
Giochi dell'Oca - A large (2,265) collection of The Game of the Goose circa 1550 to 2014. Some of them with detail e.g. Games of the Pilgrim's progress - Going to Sunday School - Tower of Babel and The New Game of Human Life.
Francesco Maglia: The Umbrella Maker Of Milan — The Maglia family have been partners with the rain since 1854, when they began producing umbrellas in Milan. Here's our portrait of Francesco Maglia.
So earlier today Luis Suarez, striker for the Uruguay side, bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during their respective teams' final group play match for the World Cup. This is not the first time he's done this--in fact, folks were taking bets that Suarez would bite someone during World Cup play. Biting is a major taboo in sports, and sure enough, Suarez is now facing a ban of up to 24 games by FIFA. Indeed, Suarez has a history of violent behavior and racist statements, even when you leave aside the biting incidents. And yet, despite all this, Suarez is generally regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world today. So it's fitting that, just before this year's World Cup began, ESPN published an essay by Wright Thompson (previously) on the many myths and contradictions that surround Luis Suarez.
How relevant is Machiavelli's manual The Prince in contemporary Politics ? This Documentary finds out.
Gorgeous castle, abandoned for 20 years. And, interestingly, it's a variation on a Calendar House, with 365 rooms--one for every day of the year. No idea what they did about leap years. Tent, maybe?
The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
In 1929, Italian artist (author of The Futurist manifesto) Filippo Tommaso Marinetti opened a restaurant, La Taverna del Santo Palato [Tavern of the Holy Palate] in Turin. In 1930/31, Marinetti went on a polemical crusade against pasta, decrying it as holding the Italian people back. In 1932, he wrote La Cuicina Futurista [The Futurist Cookbook]. Part manifesto, part cookbook, all promotional, it contained a host of sensational delights, like "Chicken Fiat": chicken roasted with steel ball bearings, on a bed of whipped cream, as well as desciptions of banquets, and a recounting of his success against pasta. [more inside]
How the north ended up on top of the map is an article by Nick Danforth, author/curator of (The/Mid) Afternoon Map blog, detailing how the north-up orientation came to be the default orientation, looking beyond Eurocentrism to Byzantine monks and Majorcan Jews who set the path for modern cartography. If you want more information, you might enjoy the Wikipedia article on the history of cartography, or you can really dig deep with the three-volume text, The History of Cartography, which is available in full from the University of Chicago Press online, split into individual PDFs for each chapter. [more inside]
Where the road ends Recently at The Atlantic offices, we decided to take a simulated road trip using Google Street View, stopping only where we could go no further. Our virtual travels took us from the fields of Italy to the fjords of Norway and the tip of South Africa. We had such a great time at the edges of the world, we made a video out of it. (From the folks at the Atlantic news site)