Aurora is the new Malloni advertising campaign movie written and directed by Elisa Fuksas starring Francesca Inaudi with Francesca Cuttica e Lucia Mascino.
Music By Sylvia
Discover more about "Aurora" at http://www.malloni.com/
Digital Curation Blog about Italy. Great Resources online discovered for you. Feed your corporate blog or your social media presence with our contents. Be sure to find daily updates and the best of the net related to everything is ITALY. Travel, food, fashion, news, culture and much more.
Curated by Mariano Pallottini
[...] On our way back from the beach we’d often stop for a late afternoon drink at Caffe la Rotonda, a dusty little café located between a fork in the road and a railroad crossing. Operated by a woman and her young daughter, it was the kind of place where old men sat and drank aperitivi while kids in flip-flops played video games in the back. It was here one sultry afternoon that I first came across a newspaper called La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Printed on pale pink paper, la Gazzetta immediately stood out from the stack, and once unfolded it covered the entire table, forcing others to lift up their drinks. But most interesting to me however, was that it appeared to be devoted solely to football. As its name confirms la Gazzetta is technically a sports daily, but anyone who’s been to Italy knows that sport means 90% football and 10% everything else. I became immediately fascinated by this alluring and exotic publication: here was a window into the world that I craved, a pink-and-black portal into the culture of calcio. Suddenly my visits to the bar became less about liquid refreshment and more about whether or not Sampdoria were really going to sell Gianluca Vialli.
My first task upon entering was to scan for la Gazzetta, which usually lurked folded on the counter or at an empty table. My Italian at the time being limited to the usual first words (ciao, grazie, margherita, centrocampista), I was initially drawn not to the speculative articles but to the daily double-page spread detailing the complex activities of each Serie A team’s summer transfer campaign. Without the money or language skills to justify purchasing the paper for myself, when the bar’s copy remained occupied I’d sit and fidget impatiently without touching my glass of acqua minerale. But quickly, out of a sheer desire to understand, I picked up the meanings of several words and began to grasp phrases in Italian, albeit most of them football terms and sporting jargon: acquisti, cessioni, trattative, probabile formazione…
Naturally, la Gazzetta takes on much greater relevance once the season has begun and there’s some actual football to talk about. Monday’s issue traditionally sells the most copies, since it contains the in-depth post-mortem of the weekend’s action. My Dad used to travel to Italy for work once or twice a year, and he began bringing Monday’s Gazzetta home for me. This is when I first became aware of le pagelle, the paper’s individual reviews and votes for each player’s performance after each match. According to common pagelle thought, a six is considered sufficient. Several players have received a nine, but not even Platini, Maradona or Van Basten ever scored a perfect ten. [...]
So, before you book it to Italy with dreams of feasting on your favorite "Italian" dishes, you may have another thing coming. If they're on this list, you'll have to wait until you're back stateside to enjoy them.
"“Villa Amazing View” is an exclusive 7 en-suite bedrooms villa on the beautiful east coast of Sardinia with great sea views It is set within a luxury development which enjoys total privacy and security service.
The villa is located close to Puntaldia which is a well renowned part of the beautiful east coast of Sardinia. Villa Amazing View is the first villa facing the sea at a distance of about 250 meters. from the beach with breathtaking views of the island of Tavolara.The villa is about fifteen kms from the airport of Olbia, only 20 minutes by car and approx. 30 minutes from the beautiful resorts of the Costa Smeralda.
RelaxSing Holidays welcomes people from Australia, Europe and around the world to come together as a choir to relax and sing in spectacular locations.
We invite you to join us, meet new friends and feel the magic and exhilaration of creating beautiful harmonies as one.
RelaxSing Tuscany, Italy 2013 for one week from 14 September 2013. Relax with in a superb venue near the beautiful medieval town of San Gimignano and discover all the beauty that rural Tuscany has to offer. Sing an exciting repertoire of songs under the guidance of our gifted Musical Director and Accompanist and experience the joy of "harmonising relaxation with song".
The lovely accommodation is located within a 300 hectare authentically restored Tuscan Estate which has produced wine and olive oil for centuries. The Fattorie di Santo Pietro offers typical Tuscan style en-suite rooms in carefully restored apartments, surrounded by extensive manicured grounds. A wonderful pool with sun deck, a dedicated meeting room for singing, delicious food and wine served in the adjoining restaurant and wonderful scenic views all combine to provide the perfect setting for a most relaxing and memorable stay.
During the week enjoy singing a wide range of songs which have been carefully selected to include both classical and modern styles, some with an Italian theme. RelaxSing will provide the music to you in advance so that during the holiday we can work at perfecting our singing technique while continuing to focus on fun. The week will end with a public performance of our repertoire in the town of San Gimignano.
To complete the RelaxSing experience there are a variety of afternoon excursions to visit some of the most picturesque towns and enjoy the delightful scenery of Tuscany. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a free afternoon of wine tasting on the Estate and for a small additional charge, a Tuscan cooking lesson.
Interested? Visit our Events page and find out more about RelaxSing Tuscany 2013.
The hill town of Cortona rises above the Val di Chiana, its white marble and stonework reflecting the sun like some great beacon. This Etruscan town’s origins actually predate recorded history, but its storied existence has long been a focus of commerce, pilgrimage, and war here in central Italy. One of its most popular foundation myths was that the son of Noah, Crano, navigated to that area following the great flood and, finding it fertile and calm, founded his city on the hillside.
Cortona was more likely founded by the Umbrians, a tribal group in ancient Italy, but soon taken over and enlarged by the Etruscans. The original town was settled around 3,000 years ago, some three to four hundred years before the founding of Rome.
The Etruscans, who predated the Romans, were a devoutly religious people whose wealth stemmed from intercity trade. The Republic of Rome eventually absorbed Cortona itself, and thanks to the Romans roads and highways that were built all over the peninsula, urban centers became linked to one another for the first time. Cortona benefitted immensely from regional trade, and quickly became extremely wealthy. Unfortunately the Roman civilization came crashing down before the city had a chance to develop fully.
For the next few centuries, Cortona was subjected to countless raids by barbarian tribes from the north, but with the birth of Christendom it reestablished its prominence in the Italian peninsula. During the Renaissance Cortona quickly became an artistic and cultural center, boasting works of Lucca Signorelli and Fra Angelico. It was also the home of Saint Margaret of Cortona, who followed in the example of St. Francis and his Franciscan Order, yet established her own sainthood through good works and piety. She is credited with the foundation of the hospital of Cortona, and upon her death she was immediately dubbed a saint, although she was not officially canonized until 1728.
Today you can see the original walls of the Etruscan city beneath the more modern medieval ones, and you may recognize parts of the town from the recent film Under the Tuscan Sun. It won’t take long for you to understand why Cortona was chosen as the setting for the movie; its inhabitants exhibit the same warmth that Tuscans are known for, and are extremely charming to boot.
Evenings in the city can be spent exploring the quiet streets or taking in a concerto in the main piazza. During the summertime Cortona offers an extensive schedule of musical productions for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. There is also the home of our friend Alessandra to visit, where she hosts a fantastic cooking class. You can learn traditional Tuscan cuisine as well as all about the culture and history behind many of Tuscany’s most famous dishes. Add some fine wine to this experience and you are sure to be captivated by this magical and historic place.
The Italian government and the town of Pompeii have launched an international competition in an effort to develop the town’s tourism attractions.
Called ‘99 Ideas Call for Pompeii’, the competition is being promoted by the Minister for Territorial Cohesion Fabrizio Barca, the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Affairs Lorenzo Ornaghi and the Municipality of Pompeii. Its goal is to develop Pompeii by building on its two major attractions: the archaeological site and Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary that has become a point of pilgrimage. Competition entrants are requested to submit proposals on realising the potential of the two attractions and their possible synergies with other local assets with the aim of rendering the town more attractive, welcoming and visible, and increasing the competitiveness of the local tourism and heritage industry.
Proposals can cover various themes including how to extend visitors’ stay by identifying additional attractions, promoting initiatives concerning attractions; developing local traditions such as handicrafts, improving the level of quality of service and infrastructure for visitors, developing the adjacent areas and providing services to the two major attractions, and promoting initiatives to secure the participation of citizens in the governance process and planning of projects.
The competition is open to interested parties such as professionals, academics and stakeholders acting individually or in association from Italy or abroad. It remains open until 15 April. Entrants can submit ideas at the www.99ideas.it website.
In 2012, according to estimates, a total of 4600 foreign families bought a home in Italy. This is 13.5% more than the previous year and represents a total investment of 2.1 billion Euros.
Just like the old joke that involves a Frenchman, a German and an Englishman so the image could fit the buyers that have, up to now, invested in Italian property.
Historically, France, Germany and the United Kingdom were the first countries to take an active interest in the Italian property market, albeit favouring different parts of Italy. Historically, as a second home investment, Germans tended to buy in and around the lakes of northern Italy and later the Adriatic coast. Their geographical preferences, however, now seem to be changing. Although the Adriatic Riviera still accounts for more than 25% of Italian property searches made by German citizens this was closely followed by the Veneto coast at 23% and Liguria at 17%. Recent ‘hot spots’ among German clients include the Conero Riviera in the Marche at 5%, just one percentage point below Lake Garda, and Salento at 4%. In 47% of cases, Germans invest between 200,000 and 300,000 euros in a property. It would also appear that a new type of German buyer is emerging as in 13% of cases they are looking for a farmhouse and not simply a house.
With exactly the same investment budget as Germans our French cousins, however, still have a preference for Liguria. From West to East, Liguria still accounts for 21% property searches among the French. Their second preference is Tuscany at 11% while the third most popular search is very specific, Rome! The Italian capital is the place to buy for 5% of potential French investors.
The English, indeed British, in Italy have now become a sizeable minority, especially in Tuscany and central Italy. The hilly area between the provinces of Siena and Florence has even acquired the name ‘Chiantishire’ in recognition of the amount of ‘Brits’ that are here. It is no surprise then that Tuscany accounts for 29% of property searches by the ‘Brits’ followed by the beautiful cities of Venice (19%) and Rome (18%). Curiously, just behind these popular choices, is not another historic town but Milan which accounts for 16% of property searches made by UK citizens. The budget for British buyers appears to be slightly larger than the French and Germans at between 300,000 and 500,000 euros.
While these nationalities represent the historical footprint of foreign buyers in Italy the analysis from the research department at the property website, Immobiliare.it, highlight two important emerging ‘buyer profiles’, the Russians and Austrians.
Those with the deepest pockets would appear to be the Russian buyers. While 77% of Russian buyers estimate that they will not spend less that 500,000 euros on a property they end up, on average, spending 900,000 euros and above on a properties. Their searches tend to be polarised between two specific areas. Rome, which accounts for 41% of searches where they plan to buy apartments with at least 5 rooms, and Sardinia which accounts for 31% of searches for luxury Villas. Increasingly, however, the Russians have discovered the charms of the coast with 15% of their searches focused on Campania.
While the arrival of the Russians may not be a great surprise the same cannot be said for the Austrians who have recently become increasingly interested in Italian property. Their most common searches are for three-room apartments in Lignano Sabbiadoro in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region while there is also increasing interest in Veneto and Umbria at 21% and 11% respectively. Similar to the British, the Austrians would also appear to be mid to high end spenders with 43% budgeting to spend between 300,000 and 500,000 euros on their Italian property.
Easter in Italy is a major holiday—in some ways, it’s even more important than Christmas! Celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox (yes, we’re confused too), Easter in 2013 falls on Sunday, March 31. (And if you want to sound like a local, don’t call it Easter… call it Pasqua!).
If you’re going to be in Italy during the Easter holidays, here are 5 things to expect!
Italian fascist architecture are constructions built to impress. And the intimidating buildings and monuments can still be seen all over the country.
A walk around most Italian towns and cities will take you past buildings made lifeless and intimidating by their sheer size and symmetry. These monstrosities are the still visible remnants of Mussolini’s fascist regime.
I often walk by the Palazzo Governo in Taranto and every time I avert my eyes. The building is so frightfully brutal it overshadows the natural attractions of the Lungomare promenade in spite of starlings, palm trees and a panoramic view of the sea. A similar violent clash between massive man-made structures and the natural and historical surroundings can be experienced in most other Italian cities and often we are not just talking about single buildings but entire villages.
The Mussolini countered the Great Depression with ambitious public works, such as draining the Pontine Marshes, reclaiming land and creating about 45 new homesteads of varying sizes.
The most striking example of fascist architecture in Italy is perhaps the EUR in Rome. The buildings in this district were erected in connection with the 1942 World Fair as a celebration to twenty years of fascism, with the Square Colosseum or the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana as its monumental centerpiece. The concrete building which looks exactly the same from all angles with 9 colonnades in 6 tiers now belongs to the Ministry of Culture and it is used for exhibitions.
Developing a thoughtful itinerary not only helps make the most of a trip, it also helps nurture travel dreams. Brainstorming a must-see wish list, reading books, and watching movies about destinations allow travelers to embark on the experience before reaching Europe by enjoying the planning phase. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit http://www.ricksteves.com.
Alfa Romeo released most of the details on its new 4C sports coupe a couple of weeks ago, but they only included a few images to paw over. Now we're finally getting to see some more shots of the car, including our first official look at the interior. The glimpse inside the 4C shows us details we did not see in recent spy shots, details like the flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters, awesome leather-strap door pulls, heavily bolstered sport seats and copious amounts of exposed carbon fiber.
The new images don't provide a better look at the pushbutton gear selector or the digital instrument gauge cluster, but they do confirm that at least some models will use a traditional ignition key and a manual parking brake. The shots also give us some new exterior angles from which to admire this clean shape. Of course, we only have to wait until next week's Geneva Motor Show to see the 4C in person, so sit tight, we'll shortly bring you plenty of detailed shots of this exciting new coupe.
Castel Gandolfo, Italy — This cramped hilltop town outside Rome is in its final preparations for the arrival on Thursday afternoon of an honored guest: Pope Benedict XVI, who will commence his new life as pope emeritus, one of the titles by which he will be known.
Town officials have been gearing up for a rousing — as far as ecclesiastical events go — welcome, with ringing bells, processional torches and the distribution of religious images with the pope’s countenance on one side and a prayer on the back.[...]
The pope will spend some two months here as he waits for the restoration of more permanent lodgings in a convent inside the Vatican where he will live out his life, “hidden to the world,” as he said this month. And as the College of Cardinals begins to congregate next week ahead of a March conclave to choose Benedict’s successor, the pope’s off-season stint in Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles southeast of Vatican City, is an added assurance that he won’t exert any undue influence in the selection.
For nearly 400 years, the town of Castel Gandolfo has played host to a succession of pontiffs seeking solace from the stifling Roman summer.
The papacy first laid claim to Castel Gandolfo — originally a small fortress belonging to the Savelli family — in 1596, but it was 30 years later that it officially became the papal summer residence, when Pope Urban VIII built a new wing on the side of the fortress that overlooks Lake Albano. Some years later, the renowned Baroque architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini developed a second wing, under Pope Alexander VII, and over the years new lots of land with their villas were acquired and elaborate gardens were developed.
The pontifical villas of Castel Gandolfo cover a triangle-shaped swath of the town, totaling about 135 acres. A working farm provides produce — fruits and vegetables, oil, eggs and dairy products — to the pope’s kitchens, both here and in Vatican City. Though the villas are under pontifical jurisdiction and high walls and secure gates bar entry to outsiders, there is considerable interaction with the town.
“Formally we are two states, but in fact it’s all one community,” said the mayor, Milvia Monachesi, noting that a number of its 9,000 residents work for the papal villas.
Protecting, restoring, opening to the public and bringing back to life a plethora of Italy's wonderful jewels of art and nature is a complex and never-ending task. From castles, monasteries and gardens to sites of natural beauty, villas, heritage houses and other little gems that make Italy all the more precious, all of our sites require care and attention day in, day out, in order to guarantee their effective long-term conservation.
On the one hand, we deal with major projects of conservative restoration, upgrading of services and maintenance of hi-tech security systems; on the other,we are also involved in numerous small- and large-scale maintenance operationson works of art and spaces – ongoing actions that allow us to monitor continuously their state of conservation and to schedule the restoration operations to be carried out on them.
This immense workload would be impossible to cope with, were it not for the concrete support provided by the great many people who believe in us and who share our values.
If you, too, decide to give us your support, another piece of Italy's exceptionally valuable artistic legacy and natural heritage could be saved.
And if you subscribe to FAI you can enter for free!
The World Heritage List includes 962 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
These include 745 cultural , 188 natural and 29 mixed properties in 157 States Parties. As of September 2012, 190 States Parties have ratified the World Heritage Convention.
Italian Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (47)Cultural
The oldest and biggest olive tree in Europe grows in a pretty little village of Canneto Sabino, in the Lazio region. It is believed to be more than 1000 years old. According to some sources it has been here since the time of Numa Pompilio, who was King of Rome from 715 B.C. to 673 B.C. Today the diametre of the tree trunk reaches 7 metres!
The local people say that the oil made from the olives of the L’ulivone (so they affectionately call it) is the highest quality and very tasty. It is in a private garden but everyone is welcome to admire the ancient giant. When you enter the village of Canneto follow the brown signs that say “L’ulivone”.
In the sleepy village you can also admire the small church of Madonna della Neve (XI century), sample delicious local bread with excellent olive oil and visit the tranquil natural reserve of Tevere-Farfa nearby.
New Jersey-born Sam Hilt is a seasoned tour guide for Tuscany Tours, who recently wrote Turning Tuscan: A Step-by-Step Guide to Going Native, a book that changes the rule of what a "guide" should be.
The book itself has a certain casual and friendly prose, almost as if Hilt himself were reading to you and walking you through various places in Italy. His first-person style gives it a genial tone that never sounds like braggadocio.
As an expert in Renaissance art, Hilt will take you on narrative walks with him, not just through museums and countrysides but to local families sharing meals. In fact, his chapter on Eating Rituals has some amusing and insightful moments that The Daily Meal has excerpted below.
"The chapter doesn't deal with specific recipes or rave about how wonderful Alfredo's lasagna was," said Hilt. "My focus is on the rituals surrounding food in Tuscany: the unwritten rules around when, what and how people relate to their meals."
"Much has been written about the glories of Italian cuisine,” he goes on to add. “And the passion that all Italians share for eating very well whenever possible is hardly a secret. What is less well known are some of the rituals that Italians observe around what, how and when they eat. Since virtually everyone follows these unwritten rules, it's something that native Italians never notice and certainly couldn't tell you about. As a foreigner exploring this terrain, it's when you unwittingly commit a faux pas that you begin to discover that there actually are rules. Welcome to the ritual mysteries of eating in Italy."
Turning Tuscan is literate, gracious, and touching at times and feels like a very well-written, nuanced journal. There are even poems by his wife, Pamela.[...]
Here are 10 essential Italian recipes you can master [...]
This is a very controversial subject in Italy. For sure nobody will agree with the decision of the dishes inserted in the list and, most important, even through pictures, people will individuate "horrible mistakes" in the preparations. The reason is the Regional provenience able to animate the spirit of belonging in every Italian, easy to be excited by a foreign article like this one.
Add your comments.
A once popular phrase and lifestyle common around Italy of the late 1950s and 1960s, la dolce vita means “the sweet life.”
This expression leaped to the forefront of the Italian lexicon following the success of the 1960 comedy-drama movie La Dolce Vita. Written and directed by Cinecittà (Cinema City, Italy’s large studio lot in Rome) icon, the late Federico Fellini, this internationally acclaimed film stars Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée and Anita Ekberg — she of the famous late-night romp in Rome’s Trevi Fountain. Who can ever forget.
Of course, la dolce vita would have been a commonplace expression – with or without Fellini’s capo lavoro (masterpiece) – around Italy prior to 1960, as the post World War II economic miracle, known as Il Boom, was well underway and giving Italians a real shot at the sweet life; but, the expression ebbed into the English lexicon on the heels of the ground-breaking, classic film.
La dolce vita is an almost legendary era of modern Italian history to foreigners. We “outsiders-looking-in” believe, still today, that the made-in-Italy sweet life is the ultimate symbol of a laid-back, relaxed lifestyle.
To us, the sweet life means taking a break from the hurries and worries of everyday life, and stopping long enough — and often enough — to smell those proverbial sunflowers.
Whether it’s in some quiet village under the Tuscan sun or out in the rolling Umbrian countryside, or meandering around quaint little streets of the Trastevere district of Rome enjoying great Italian food, drinking her fine wines, having a caffè (coffee) and basking in the Bel Paese’s realively mild climate, we’d all like to have a taste of la dolce vita.
It’s another day of bright blue sky and crisp cool breeze. The sunlight bounces of stately marble columns and neatly kept, yellow painted buildings alike. Sometimes it looks like an Italian city, with its regular fronted modern concrete. Other times Trieste looks as it was, one of the main cities and principal seaport of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A mix of peoples has always lived here, since its location at the head of the Adriatic made it, and makes it still, an ideal jumping point into ‘MittelEuropa’. So what makes it special now is not so much the fact that it is ‘politically’ Italian, but that the entire culture and style of the city is international – more so than its opposite number Genova, a little like Istanbul is today.
On the hills behind Trieste, those heading westwards into Italy, you will stumble across a small village called Prosecco. Yes, that Prosecco! This is where it is first came from, though the sparkling Prosecco most of us joyfully drink comes from the hills around Treviso. Just a short distance away from Prosecco is a complex of underground grottoes you can visit, one cave being the biggest in all Europe that is open to visitors.
Not far from Trieste is Miramare, one of the summer palaces of the Habsburg monarchs, a delightful confection that juts out into the sea like a bright white fairy story. Only the story of Miramare is a sad one, one of many that befell old ranz Josef in the dying years of the Austrian Empire.
The city is bright and happy now though, with its bustling business, its sense of no borders and the dynamic social life that follows in its wake.
Lots to see and do, so go visit one of the very corners of Italy!
A study conducted on the graffiti found on Pompeii’s walls reveals it was an early form of political campaigning and social networking.
The Ancient Roman city was covered in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Much of the graffiti on the ancient city’s walls is preserved in remarkable detail.
Research conducted by archaeologist Eeva-Maria Viitanen, a post-doctoral researcher at Finland’s University of Helsinki, shows that Pompeii homeowners had some control over who scrawled on the walls of their houses. Speaking at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle, she explained that graffiti was scratched into the stucco walls, written with charcoal, or in many cases even created by professional painters hired for political campaigns.
Viitanen is a project manager and co-ordinator for the Pompeii Project of the University of Helsinki. She examined more than 1,000 political messages found on walls in three areas of Pompeii.
She discovered that in 40% of cases, political adverts were placed on the walls of the homes belonging to the wealthy, which is notable given their homes were outnumbered by shops, bars and the dwellings inhabited by the city’s poor. Viitanen hazarded a guess why, saying: “Bars were probably more populated, but could their customers read and would they vote?”
Viitanen suggested the rich Ancient Romans were happy to allow their lavish homes to be used as prime advertising space for political slogans aimed at drumming up votes for political candidates during electoral campaigns. Such permission may have even signalled an endorsement. Viitanen told the journal ‘LiveScience’: “The facades of the private houses and even the street walks in front of them were controlled and maintained by the owner of the house, and in that respect, the idea that the wall space could be appropriated by anyone who wanted to do it seems unlikely.”
The archaeologist found that the majority of political ads are in areas that were likely to get most traffic, and consequently guaranteed exposure and targeted an audience. She told ‘Live Science’ that the slogans were simple, perhaps saying that a named candidate was “worthy of public office” or “a good man”. However, in a nod to early spin and the bella figura, she revealed that one candidate boasted of his ability to bake bread.
The political slogans are not the only type of graffiti found in Pompeii. The Ancient Roman citizens scribbled thousands of messages on the city’s walls, including literary quotes and greetings to friends, suggesting there was a thriving form of social networking centuries before Facebook was invented.
Attila so hated Aquileia he wanted everyone there dead and its buildings completely and utterly destroyed, its name lost and all memory of it obliterated. He almost succeeded.
The few people who survived his onslaught, if not used as slaves, fled in horror to mountain villages and encampments in the marshy lagoons not far away. From the survivors who ran into the marshes, we were gifted great Venice.
The buildings were completely wrecked, not that they were in the fair state they once held when the Romans first developed Aquileia into a rich and bustling seaport – the Venice-and-Trieste of its time. Others had attacked Aquileia before. The city was still important at the end of Empire; the Christians had their Patriarch there, almost as influential as Rome and Constantinople. The Emperor would visit also, to stay in the palace that in time would become part of the fabric of the church.
The legend is that Attila, as a young boy and held as hostage by the Romans for the good behavior of his father, was held in Aquileia. He hated his imprisonment, learned everything he could about Roman ways, then later set on its obliteration.
What you can see now are the grimly few pickings of a city that once housed possibly 100,000 people – a very big city in ancient times. Most wondrous is the port area, where they pooled the incoming rivers so that large sea going vessels could be steered in and berthed. You can see how Aquileia’s fate changed, as they built stone towers on the wharf to keep assailants at bay. The palace is now a green field with two scant columns as markers. The Forum is neatly dissected by today’s main road.
Most interesting is the old cathedral, one of the oldest basilicas in Europe. Its main floor is made of the mosaics taken from Roman era villas nearby. Just a little younger is the nearby convent of St Maria, the museum housed in one of the oldest Christian churches in Europe. One of the very few things to survive Attila – you can still see burn marks in a corner of the floor.
Aquileia is easy to get to if you are near Venice or Rome. It is worth the visit, simply to walk about and imagine what was, and how easily lost. Oh yes, and there’s a really great pasticceria called Mosaico that specializes in home made cakes, jams and chocolate confections just by the cathedral. You have to stop for that!
The Friuli is a wonderful, wild part of Italy, where the people speak their own language, a blur of Germanic and Italian with many more ancient words thrown in. You can see it in the roadsigns and here it in the shops.
Friuli is also mostly hilly or mountainous; Udine is clumped around a small hill set in a totally flat plain. The story is that Attila needed a mound from which to spy movement on the plain when he invaded Italy, so he had his soldiers carry earth in their helmets and heap it into a mound of the height he wanted.
Well you can certainly see the plains around from the great viewpoint where its old castle stood and where a forlorn building that once was a proud Renaissance palace, now looking more like an abandoned hospital, sits now. To think, it houses one of the oldest Halls of Parlement in Europe, but it was used as a prison.
The delights of Udine are down the hill, in the old streets around the covered market, the cathedral and the arcaded shopping streets. Here you see the industrious wealth of these somewhat reserved people, their excellent foodstuffs and delectable restaurants.
Udine is well worth a short visit, especially if you are in the region to see places like Gorizia, Aquileia and Treviso.