Present finder

Only four shopping weeks until Christmas and you still havent found gifts for everyone? Dont panic! A new UK-based company is offering an internet service that supplies ideas for presents and purchase...

Id like mine slow, please

In Italian, Slow Food is feminine and, with the accent, comes out as la zlo foud (heavy on the final d, of course). Founded in the Piedmont region in the early 1980s, the Slow Food movement has been i...

Opera notes

Verdis Macbeth goes on stage at Teatro Comunale in Florence (28 Nov-5 Dec). The work has become a feature of the repertoire of many Italian opera houses; the most recent production dates back to the S...

Opera notes

The new season in Milan gets underway at Teatro degli Arcimboldi on 7 Dec. It opens with Iphignie en Aulide by Gluck (until 21 Dec). This opera was written for Paris in 1774; Gluck wanted to win back...

Viaggiatori appassionati. Elihu Vedder e altri paesaggisti americani dellOttocento in Italia.

Vedder was a very successful painter, illustrator and decorator in his time. Born in lower Manhattan of Dutch parents in 1836, he lived his long life mostly in Italy. When he died in 1923 he was burie...

Viterbo's beautiful fountains

Viterbo, less than an hours drive north of Rome, is still a bit of a mystery to most Romans. The city is famous for its perfectly preserved mediaeval quarter and for the unique Santa Rosa festival tha...

The German expressionists look dated and dull

In its own time, a brief period which began before world war one, German Expressionism seemed daring and exciting. It grew out of late Impressionism and an impatience with academic tradition. It was p...

Olive oil: from branch to bottle

The olive is enjoying a surge in popularity. The Mediterranean diet, which uses oil from olives as its principal fat, is being touted by health professionals, dieticians and fitness instructors around...

Romans don't love their river

Its a waste of money. It would have been much better to clean up the filthy towpaths along the embankments instead, for walkers and cyclists to use. Luciano Morcon, sports director of one of the best...

The modern "City di Roma"

There are two types of people, says Raffaele Ranucci. Those who make problems and those who resolve them. We belong to the latter group. The president of EUR Spa is not shy about explaining the compan...

The Church, the city and the state

On 14 November Pope John Paul II will address the chamber of deputies, just a few weeks after he was made an honorary citizen of Rome; two apparently similar ceremonies which are actually very differe...

Our health in safer hands

It used to be said among foreigners in Rome that in the case of serious illness, the best waiting room in the city was Fiumicino airport. And only recently, an Italian dinner hostess announced that if...

The Borgias power and might

The papacy has always been big business. It was so particularly in the late Middle Ages, through to the high Baroque. In the old world it owned vast lands producing vital raw materials, it made wars t...

The birds the thing

Practically every continent has some version of a thanksgiving festival, from Africas Kwanzaa, to Indias Pongal and Chinas August moon festival. Each of these cultures celebrates the end of the harves...

The remembrance of past wars

The space seems immense, although it is probably about the same size as a football pitch. The traffic on the busy main road nearby seems miles away. The ugly urban sprawl beyond the trees is forgotten...

Golf returns to Rome

Ask anyone, even a golfer perhaps, when the Italian Open was last disputed in Rome, and he or she may not come up with the right answer. Eight years later (it was 1994) the event returns to the capita...

Tattoos are a choice for life

First it was miniskirts. Then came bikinis. And now the craze is all about tattoos and piercings. It is hard to find someone without one or the other or even both. Flaunting them is the key. Your daug...

The sting in the tail

From ghoulies and ghosties And long leggety beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord preserve us Traditonal West Country litany. The ancient litany quoted is perhaps a relic of...

Dining on wheels in Rome

Andrea Batuzzi was tricked by his wife. On some undisclosed pretext, she inveigled him to take her to one of the most theatrical of the old gateways into Rome, Porta S. Paolo. Just in front of it ther...

The changing of the guards

No doubt there are worse ways of making a living than by being a Swiss guard. You have the honour of protecting the pope; a tax-free salary with board and lodgings thrown in; most of the time the work...

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