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Taxi prices in Rome to rise PDF Print E-mail
Mar 14, 2010 at 12:31 PM

ImageRome’s municipal government has approved a plan for increases in some taxi fares in the Eternal City, including the price-fixed tariff to the city from Fiumicino and Ciampino airports. The new regulations will also simplify taxi fares and facilitate the suspension of taxi licences in the event of improper behaviour by drivers. The new rate schedule,  which will take effect only after various city commissions and district bodies have their say in the matter would raise to €45 the current fare to the city from Fiumicino airport and to €35 the fare from Ciampino. The cost for a taxi ride to the Mediterranean port of Civitavecchia would be €120.

In general, the cost of short distance trips and those inside five kilometres from Rome’s historic center woud be increased whiled lower those applied for longer journeys. It would abolish a  the two euro surcharge currently in force for fares starting from Rome’s Termini station and a second fare system that kicked into operation after a certain distance, making it relatively easy  for unscrupulous drivers to cheat. The new plan also provides for a 10% night discount for women travelling alone and requires the basic fare schedule to be printed on the side of city taxis.

Birthplace of Roman Emperor Found in Italy (Associated Press) PDF Print E-mail
Aug 08, 2009 at 10:32 AM
ImageROME (AP) -- Archaeologists have unearthed a sprawling country villa believed to be the birthplace of Vespasian, the Roman emperor who built the Colosseum, they said Friday. The 2,000-year-old ruins were found about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Rome, near Cittareale, lead archaeologist Filippo Coarelli said.

The 150,000-square-feet (14,000-square-meter) complex was at the center of an ancient village called Falacrine, Vespasian's hometown.

Even though there are no inscriptions to attribute it for sure, the villa's location and luxury make it likely it was Vespasian's birthplace, Coarelli said. "This is the only villa of this kind in the area where he most certainly was born,'' the archaeologist said in a telephone interview from Cittareale.

The 1st-century residence featured ''a well-preserved huge floor, decorated with luxurious marble coming from the whole Mediterranean area,'' he said.''It's clear that such things could only belong to someone with a high social position and wealth. And in this place, it was the Flavians,'' the dynasty to which Vespasian belonged.

The four-year excavation, which also turned up other ruins, including a necropolis burial ground, was carried out by a group of Italian and British archaeologists.Vespasian, whose full name was Titus Flavius Vespasianus, brought stability to the empire following turmoil under the extravagant Emperor Nero and a civil war among his successors.

Born in A.D. 9 into a family of low-tier country nobility, Vespasian rose through the army ranks, becoming the general in charge of putting down a Jewish revolt in Judea.After being acclaimed emperor by his troops in A.D. 69 and eliminating his rivals, Vespasian found Rome facing a deep economic crisis and still recovering from the fire that consumed it under Nero.Using riches plundered from Jerusalem and proceeds from increased taxes, he launched a major public works program and started building the Colosseum -- the most ambitious and best-preserved of his projects.

Rome: A tourist trap? PDF Print E-mail
Jul 25, 2009 at 09:59 PM

ImageA stand-up cappuccino for €1.50????? This is what a reporter for the Rome daily, La Repubblica, paid at the La Fontana café on Via del Corso when, soeaking in English, she ordered a cappuccino, paying 60 cents more than what Italian customers were being charged for the same foamy brew. Down the block at the Caffè Ram, she reported, the same thing happened only the cappuccino was a "bargain", €1.20 against the real price of .90.

At the Squisito bar in Via del Tritone, she wrote, the cash register had a special key for coffee and cappuccino when ordered by foreigners and, again, an espresso cost 20 cents more if the client appeared to be a non-Italian. The same sad story was encountered at a series of other bars and cafes in central Rome, in one of which the owners had even come up with supposed small, medium and large sizes for cappuccino and caffés, Starbucks style, but totally unheard of here andsomething that should lead you to take to your heels.

The day after the article appeared, the barmen at Ombre Rosse, where I often have my morning coffee, were talking about this system of double-pricing, furious and ashamed that colleagues of theirs were adopting such stratagems to fleece foreign visitors. So there is no need to conclude that this happens everywhere in Rome.

But lately the city has been getting a bad press. A Japanese couple recently went to the police when a once well-respected restaurant, Il Passetto, a stone's throw from Piazza Navona, charged them an incredible 597 euros for a normal dinner and, adding insult to injury, arbitrarily stuck a 115 euro tip onto the bill. This episode led the Tokyo daily, Asahi Shimbun, to publish a piece from its Rome correspondent entitled: «Tourism in Italy; a rapid decline». Perhaps because of their language problems - very few Japanese speak Italian and not that many speak good English either - they seem to be a frequent target for unscrupulous restaurant managers and taxi drivers. But they are not the only ones. Of course, some of this can - and does - happen anywhere. But it's pretty risky behaviour in a country in which tourism in more or less the single largest industry.

To make sure you don't get fleeced, remember to check the prices on the restaurant's menu, or in cafes, the prices posted on the wall. As for taxis, don't let your driver take off without putting on the meter and don't believe him if he quotes a flat price. The only flat price in Rome is for the airport, which at present costs 40 euros. (Editor's note: it's now 48 euros)

Pristine Roman Shipwrecks Are Discovered (Reuters) PDF Print E-mail
Jul 24, 2009 at 01:07 PM
A team of archaeologists using sonar technology to scan the seabed have discovered a “graveyard” of five pristine ancient Roman shipwrecks off the small Italian island of Ventotene, the group said Thursday. The trading vessels, dating from the first century B.C. to the fifth century A.D., are among the deepest wrecks discovered in the Mediterranean in recent years, the researchers said. Ventotene, halfway between Rome and Naples, historically served as a place of shelter during rough weather in the Tyrrhenian Sea. “The ships appear to have been heading for safe anchorage, but they never made it,” said Timmy Gambin, head of archaeology for the group, the Aurora Trust. The vessels were transporting wine from Italy, prized fish sauce from Spain and North Africa, and a cargo of metal ingots from Italy, possibly to be used in the construction of statues or weaponry.
Fra Angelico: Don't miss it! PDF Print E-mail
May 17, 2009 at 11:18 PM

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Five hundred and fifty years ago (in 1455) the Renaissance painter known today alternatively as Fra Angelico or Beato Angelico (the Blessed Angelico), died in Rome at the age of 60 and this city's Capitoline Museums is celebrating the anniversary with a major exhibition - the largest in Italy since 1955. Guido di Pietro was born in 1395 in the Tuscan town of Vicchio and at the age of 22 took his vows in the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole and as a Dominican monk was given the name Friar Giovanni of Fiesole.

At the time of his vows, Friar John was already painting and the exhibition, subtitled, "The Dawn of the Renaissance", traces the various phases of Fra Angelico's career from his late Gothic works, through his work as an illuminator of monastic manuscripts and on to the blossoming of his full Renaissance humanism. It puts on view such major works as the Paradiso, the Cortona Triptych, two of the panels from the Armadio degli Argenti from the San Marco Museum in Florence (and which bowled me over at age 18!) and the famous Annunciation from San Giovanni Valdarno.

There are decorated Codex, altarpieces and parchments. And, additionally, the exhibit includes some Fra Angelico works never before shown to the public such as the Zagreb altar step, which shows the Stigmate of St. Francis and the Martyrdom of St Peter, the Dresden Annunciation which was reassembled in the 16th century, and part of the Annalena altarpiece, which is now in Zurich. Two side panels of a 1430 triptych, The Blessed and The Damned, go on view for the first time, having been purchased years ago by an American collector.

The exhibition, which opened on April 8th (I was out of the country and was unaware of it) lasts through July 5. The museum is open daily, except Mondays, from 9:00a.m. to 8:00p.m. and tickets cost €6 for Fra Angelico alone and €9 if you want to visit the rest of the museum complex as well.



Piazza di Spagna and the Tridente PDF Print E-mail
May 06, 2009 at 10:57 PM

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To be published May 13 in Wanted in Rome
Today's tourists spread out evenly through Rome's historic center, crowding areas such as Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, until recently Via Veneto and, of course, Piazza di Spagna. But in the old days, for visitors - especially those foreign - it was the latter alone, and the streets fanning out from it, horizontally towards Piazza del Popolo and vertically towards Via del Corso, that was considered to be the heart of the city. "There is nothing like it anywhere else,", was the comment of French writer, Henri Stendahl, who visited Rome in the early 19th century.

Read more...
 
 
Major Giotto show opens in Rome PDF Print E-mail
Mar 08, 2009 at 02:42 PM
ImageANSA) - Rome, March 6 - An eagerly awaited exhibition celebrating the father of the Renaissance, Giotto, and his groundbreaking impact on 14th-century art has opened in Rome. The 3.3-million-euro show at the Vittoriano boasts over 160 works of art, including 20 panels, exploring the life and times of Giotto di Bondone (c.1267-1337).

The Thursday inauguration of the exhibition, presided over by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, was attended by leading figures from the world of Italian art, who praised the breadth and value of the works on display. ''This exhibition is a once-in-a-century event offering a multi-faceted overview of a crucial period in the history of European art,'' commented Florence's Art Superintendent Cristina Acidini. ''Giotto set out from Florence and, as Dante did with the Italian language, unified Italy's art world''. Art historian Francesco Gandolfo described the exhibition as ''a real head-turner'' and said it offered some ''complex food for thought''.

The exhibition features wooden sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, goldwork and paintings by a variety of key figures from the 1300s, including Simone Martini, Giovanni Pisano and Arnolfo di Cambio.But the highlight of the show is the selection of Giotto's own fragile, 14th-century panels on loan from major museums around the world, several of which have been restored for the show.

''This event does not simply commemorate Giotto's work, it aims to approach the master from a fresh point of view,'' said Architectural Heritage Superintendent Roberto Cecchi.

''There are so many aspects to Giotto that we still know little about, such as his interest in architecture, and the exhibition will contain some appealing ideas for future studies''.

Although renowned for his skill at life drawings at a time when stylised Byzantine art dominated, much of Giotto's life, travels and training remains shrouded in mystery.He was born in Tuscany of a father named Bondone, studied with Cimabue, one of the greatest painters of his day, and completed his greatest masterpiece, the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, in around 1305.

However, the year and precise place of his birth and his family's background remain subjects of dispute, as does the order in which he completed his works and even their attribution.The exhibition sets out to address these uncertainties among others, looking at conflicting views and tracing his voyages around Italy through the impact of his art.

''The exhibition analyzes the master's presence in Italy's greatest cities, from Rome to Florence, and from Naples to Milan,'' said the event's curator Alessandro Tomei. "'First-hand evidence has disappeared but historians have reconstructed his trail through documentation and the influence his work had on his contemporaries. ''Where Giotto went, artistic expression changed for good,'' he concluded.

Giotto e Il Trecento (Giotto And The 14th Century), the exhibition runs in Rome's Vittoriano until June 29.

photo:Christ between St John the Evangelist, the Madonna, John the Baptist and St Francis, (1310-1315) from the North Carolina Museum of Art.





Arezzo puts its Della Robbias on View PDF Print E-mail
Feb 22, 2009 at 11:47 PM
The Della Robbia family: three generations of artists

ImageThe intense artistic activity of the Della Robbia family lasted for a remarkably long time, from the early decades of the 15th century to well after the second half of the 16th century: more than one hundred years which undoubtedly and undeniably influenced much of the Western European culture.

Luca Della Robbia was the founder of the Della Robbia family and was praised by the renaissance art historian Leon Battista Alberti as being one of the fathers of the Renaissance, a cultured artist, interested in new artistic forms and a man who succeeded in ‘inventing' a brand new technique; that of the "glazed terracotta sculptures and paintings" he became known for. 

He has gone down in history, in fact, as the only artist who managed to raise the art of ceramics from being considered one of the ‘minor' arts to being an artistic expression on the same level as that of the very best paintings and sculptures. Thanks to his industrious nephew, Andrea, who was more inspired by paintings than the sculpture which fascinated his uncle, this glazed terracotta art spread all over the area, becoming increasingly popular with both private buyers and Church architects; their workshop, situated in Via Guelfa in Florence, became the center of the family's growing power and influence in Tuscany.

Andrea's son, Giovanni, continued to work successfully from his workshop while his brothers continued creating high quality artistic objects using their great-uncle's technique. Luca, Andrea, Giovanni and then Francesco, Marco, Girolamo and Luca the Younger: three generations of a family of artists who were an intrinsic part of the history of a century of Tuscan and Italian art.

The exhibit includes 130 works by Renaissance terracotta Della Robbia masters and contemporaries like Donatello and Ghiberti; plus five itineraries around Arezzo province that take in 25 towns and an additional 168 works.

Museo Statale di Arte Medievale e Moderna
Arezzo
February 21 to June 7, 2009

  

 

What's On? Current exhibits PDF Print E-mail
Feb 22, 2009 at 11:26 PM

The Italian News Agency, ANSA, has compiled the following list of museum exhibits throughout Italy.(February 20, 2009)

ASCOLI - Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea: 'Sedendo e Mirando', 130 landscapes by famed cartoonist Tullio Pericoli; March 21-September 13.

BOLOGNA - Museo d'Arte Moderna (MAMBO): More than 100 works by Giorgio Morandi in one of world's biggest ever retrospectives on Bolognese artist, sent from Metropolitan Museum in New York to Morandi's home town; until April 13.

BRESCIA - Santa Giulia museum: Giovanni Guareschi, tribute to Don Camillo writer on 100th anniversary of birth shows 70 cartoons he penned for satirical magazine Bertoldo under Fascist regime; until February 28.

CASERTA - Reggia: Women, Landscapes and Impressionism; major works from Pavia galleries; until March 29.

FERRARA - Palazzo Diamanti: Turner and Italy; until February 22.

FLORENCE - Palazzo Medici-Ricciardi: Raphael's Madonna del Cardellino (Madonna of the Goldfinch) on show after eight-year restoration, until March 1.

FORLI' - Musei di San Domenico: Canova, The Classical Ideal, Sculpture and Painting; 200 sculptures and paintings from world's top galleries; until June 21.

GENOA - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Via Croce: Shozo Shimamoto; until March 8.

LUCCA - Palazzo Ducale: show marking 300 years from birth of Grand Tour portraitist Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787); until March 29.

MILAN - Palazzo Reale: Italy's biggest show marking 100th anniversary of Futurism; 500 works including Marinetti, Boccioni, Balla, Carra', Severini, Russolo; until June 7.

- same venue: Rene' Magritte and the Mystery of Nature; one of Italy's largest-ever Magritte events; around 100 paintings featuring Magritte's signature apples, blue skies and birds; until March 29.

- Pinacoteca di Brera: four famed Caravaggios united for gallery's 200th anniversary year: two versions of Supper At Emmaus (1601 and 1606); The Musicians (1595) and Boy With A Basket Of Fruit (1593); until March 29.

- Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation: 'Great Works 1972-2008'; until March 22.

- Fondazione Mazzotta: ethnic art from Peggy Guggenheim collection; until February 22.

- Museo Poldi Pezzoli: Japanese 'netsuke' mini-sculptures from four Italian collections and Stuttgart's Linden Museum; until March 15.

NAPLES - Archaeological Museum: Herculaneum: Three Centuries of Discoveries; until April 13.

- Castel Sant'Elmo: Renato Mambor, On Loan From Infinity: works commissioned from friends like Ceroli, Boetti, Pascali, Marotta; until March 31.

PALERMO - Palazzo dei Normanni: The Fantastic World of Picasso, 66 works until March 8.

PONTASSIEVE - Sala delle Colonne: 49 paintings and sculptures by Antonio Ligabue including celebrated Self Portrait With Dog; until June 7.

ROME - Vittoriano: Giotto and the Trecento; 150 works from world's top museums including 20 by pre-Renaissance master himself; March 6-June 29.

- Scuderie del Quirinale: 'Futurismo, Avanguardia-Avanguardie'; Futurist works from 30 museums and collections including reconstruction of the famous Futurist exhibition held at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris in 1912; also, four works returning from New York for first time including Boccioni's Stati d'animo triptych; until May 24.

- Palazzo delle Esposizioni: Darwin 1809-2009, Italy's biggest-ever show on evolution; until May 3.

- Chiostro del Bramante: The Myth of Julius Caesar, first ever show focusing on him alone; 200 items from ancient times until the 20th century; until April 5.

- Museo della Civilta' Romana: The Die Is Cast, sketches of Ancient Rome by Gilles Chaillet; until March 1.

- Museo di San Salvatore in Lauro: Visions of Grand Tour by Russian visitors to Italy (1640-1880), 60 works in collaboration with Hermitage showing how landmarks like Rome's Pantheon, Milan's Piazza Duomo and Florence's Piazza della Signoria have changed; until February 22.

- Museo dell'Ara Pacis: Bruno Munari, retrospective on artist and designer; until February 22.

- Musei Capitolini: More than 100 pieces of Sevres porcelain including Betrand Louvre's famed La Bouche (The Mouth); until March 8.

- Museo Carlo Bilotti: 100 Giorgio de Chirico metaphysical drawings; until April 19.

- Refettorio Vanvitelliano, opening to public for first time: 18th-century portrait painter Gregorio Guglielmi; until March 15.

ROVERETO - MART Gallery: Futurism 100: Illuminations, Avant-Gardes Compared, Italy, Germany And Russia: marking 100th anniversary of Futurism, works by Marinetti, Kandinsky, Der Sturm, Chagall, Klee, August Macke, Franz Marc; until June 7.

ROVIGO - Palazzo Roverella: Art Deco in Italy 1919-1939; until June 28.

SIENA - Santa Maria della Scala museum: Art, Genius, Madness: 300 works including Van Gogh, Ernst, Dix, Guttuso, Ligabue; until May 25.

TREVISO - Casa dei Carraresi: Canaletto, Venice and its Splendours; until April 5.

TURIN - Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli: 164 works from the famous Bischofberger collection until March 1.

photo: Luca Della Robbia, 'Virgin and Mary Adoring the Christ Child' (1460-70s)

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