Tag Archives: Civil

Updates – Historic facts

Trieste is a few km from the slovenian border. We crossed it one day, just to see once more, if necessary, that war is really a madness from any point of view and at any time……

We started this particular journey on italian ground, at Redipuglia War Memorial, a World War I memorial located on the Karst Plateau near the village of Fogliano Redipuglia. It is the largest war memorial in Italy and one of the largest in the world, housing the remains of 100,187 Italian soldiers killed between 1915 and 1917 in the eleven battles fought on the Karst and Isonzo front. The name Redipuglia seems to have origin from the slovenian word “sredij polije” meaning “middle earth”….

The Memorial of Redipuglia was built on the slopes of Mt. Sei Busi and designed by architect Giovanni Greppi and sculptor Giannino Castiglioni, it was opened on 18th September 1938 after ten years of construction. This massive monument, also known as Memorial “of the Hundred Thousands”, accommodates the remains of 100.187 soldiers who fell in battle in the surrounding areas; some of them had been initially buried on Colle Sant’Elia nearby.
Strongly advocated by the fascist regime, this monument intended to celebrate the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers as well as provide a dignified resting place to those fighters who could not be buried in the cemetery of the Undefeated. It is structured on three levels, symbolising the army descending from the sky, led by its Commander towards the Path of Heroes. On the top, three crosses evoke Mt. Golgotha and the crucifixion of Christ.

Leaving your car in the esplanade before the Memorial, the visit can kick off past the chain of the destroyer “Grado”, an Austro-Hungarian vessel seized by the Italians after the war. Heading towards the tomb, you walk along the “Path of Heroes”, a paved road lined by 38 bronze plaques indicating the villages on the Karst that were contended during the Great War.
At the end of this fascinating walk, you can see the majestic tombs of the generals, including the one of the Commander of the Third ArmyEmanuele Filiberto Duke of Aosta, who had expressed his wish to be buried here. The tomb consists of a 75-tonne block of red marble from the Camonica Valley. On the side, there are the granite tombs of five generals: Antonio Chinotto, Tommaso Monti, Giovanni Prelli, Giuseppe Paolini and Fulvio Riccieri.

Behind the tombs, 22 large steps (2.5m high, 12m wide) rise, containing the remains of 39857 identified soldiers in alphabetical order. Each burial niche is surmounted by the wording “Present” and can be reached via the lateral stairs leading to the top. In the centre of the first large step, you can find the niche of the only woman buried here, a nurse named Margherita Kaiser Parodi Orlando, while the 22nd step accommodates the remains of 72 soldiers from the Navy and 56 from the Customs Corps.

At the end of the lateral stairs and the large steps, two large tombs covered with bronze plates contain the remains of over 60 thousand unknown soldiers. Past them, you can reach the top of the memorial and visit a small chapel which houses a “Deposition” and the panels of the Stations of the Cross by sculptor Castiglioni. Three bronze crosses stand above the chapel.

In the rear of the last large step there are two museum rooms: inside, you can admire pictures of the first Memorial of Redipuglia, documents, war relics and paintings by Ciotti that used to decorate the tomb of the Duke of Aosta, originally located in the chapel on the top of St. Elias Hill. On the top, at Height 89, you can see an Observatory and a model of the area showing the borderline as of 24th October 1917, the day of the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo.

After the visit, in what seemed a surreal mood, we crossed the border to Slovenia heading towards Caporetto (once on italian soil), Kobarid in slovenian, and after lunch we visited the local museum.

The Kobarid Museum, awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize for the year 1993, tactfully presents the most extensive story about the First World War on the Slovenian territory by means of photos, maps, models, weapons and personal items of soldiers as well as a documentary film. This story speaks about the ferocity of mountain warfare in the Julian Alps, about the Isonzo Front, and the 12th Isonzo Battle in particular. It was one of the greatest mountain encounters in the history of warfare in which the joint German and Austro-Hungarian forces defeated the Italians by employing new military tactics, pushing the enemy westwards all to the river Piave. The damnation of wars and suffering they bring to the mankind is at the heart of the Museum’s message.

This museum is devoted almost entirely to the Soča Front and the ‘war to end all wars’. Themed rooms describe powerfully the 29 months of fighting, and there’s a 20-minute video (available in 10 languages) that gives context. There are many photos documenting the horrors of the front, military charts, diaries and maps, and two large relief displays showing the front lines and offensives through the Krn Mountains and the positions in the Upper Soča Valley. The Krn Range Room looks at the initial assaults along the Soča River after Italy’s entry into the war in May 1915. The White Room describes the harsh conditions of war in the snowbound mountains. The Room of the Rear describes life behind the battle lines (hospitals, soldiers on leave from the trenches) – a sharp contrast to the Black Room’s photographs of the dead and dying. Finally, the Battle of Kobarid Room details the final offensive launched by the Austrian and German forces that defeated the Italian army.

Why Hemingway? The 1917 Battle of Caporetto, where the Italian retreat, was documented by Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms.

There are also some very old finds on display in some rooms, found while excavating the ground after the battles, that tell the story of the region………..

….ages before others men fought and died on the same ground….

It was a stressful day, full of horrible images, but sadly I’m sure we’ll have to suffer many more wars before maybe, one day, human race will eventually learn the lesson….

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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


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January…..a good start

First day of the year….we got an invitation for dinner from a couple of friends living in our neighborhood, along with her sister….Nothing fancy, I made some pesto and cheese crostini as appetizers, she made some very good rice with veggies, and the always present tiramisù…a nice night to kick off the new year!

Like every year, january is also the month to celebrate Epiphany on a bike, driving around delivering gifts to children….

After the event, with some friends we had lunch at a very fancy restaurant set in a rural tourism estate….a little bit expensive but worthy every cent…

We have this longtime friend, actually the first friend of my husband I met….February 2015, while at work he had an intracranial hemorrhage, he stayed in coma for a few days, he had ups and downs for a long time, but finally just before Christmas he got home form hospital. So one evening we all got together (finally out of a hospital room) to celebrate….

Too you G…..welcome back!!

A sunny winter sunday afternoon at our friends home in the hills…..finished with a “stay over for dinner” of course…

Towards the end of the month we were out again…..this time to welcome back a friend who stayed abroad four months for work….

Our friend S brought just for him the famous spongata she baked for Christmas and that he missed…..

End of january, time for some charity for our friends’ son mission in Brazil….what’s best than to have a great time doing good?

And now…..looking forwards to february……


Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one



“One day there will be no borders, no boundaries, no flags and no countries and the only passport will be the heart.”

(Carlos Santana)

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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A cemetery….I know, weird post…

“La Villetta” cemetery was built from 1819 onwards at the request of the Duchess Marie Louise of Austria – Napoleon’s wife – in San Pellegrino and according to a project carried out by the municipal engineer G. Cocconcelli. The cemetery takes its name from the place chosen for its construction: as a matter of fact, the area which became a graveyard in 1817 was initially occupied by a suburban villa owned by the Jesuits.
The perimetric octagon was realised directly on the enclosed ground, bought by the Council with the direct participation of private citizens. At the same time, church burials were banned. The general idea and choice of location brought to an end a debate dating back to 1750, of which there are still drawings and a report.

The graveyard presents neatly organised areas and objects, and in addition to a social hierarchy, it shows its urban communities and their values. It is, in short, a city within the city, where physical divisions and typological characteristics mirror those of the society of the living. Burials are separated according to class, creed and reasons of death.
The neoclassical influence is clearly identifiable in the architectural style, which is also commonly found in many representative buildings erected by Marie Louise as well as in other cemeteries of Italy – i.e. in Turin and Genoa. In such places, the composite rules are based on symmetries and give birth to geometrically designed structures .
In Parma too, the elements characterising the new cemetery are the following: a surrounding wall, a small building at the entrance and a funerary chapel initially intended for the centre of the graveyard. In such a project – dated 1817 – the typical forms of the Enlightenment tradition leave space for the new neoclassical architectures. The final project signed by Cocconcelli suggests a shape inspired by courtly typology – an octagon with a portico which alternates four long sides and four shorter ones, with “the Chapel in front of the entrance, so that the global view of the cemetery is clearer (…)”. The perimetric portico is made of 156 bays with pillars and round arches, and destined for religious and lay brotherhoods, the city’s aristocracy. Only in part, were these owned by the council which could lease wall niches in perpetuity or for a limited period of time.
Brought to an end in 1823, the surrounding wall was the first part to be built. After that, little by little, arcades and crypts were added – the first being those along the entrance and the chapel. The work continued gradually and the whole structure was completed in 1876, thanks to the help of the owners and according to a common architectural scheme. Although subjected to the authority of a special committee, the internal decoration was free, provided a free passage along the porch was maintained.

Along the octagon we can find functional architectures, the death chamber and the Oratory.
The Oratory is dedicated to St. Gregory Magnus and is a square-plan building with a central octagonal space – which recalls the surrounding cemetery wall – and a tetra-style Doric pronaos with a neoclassical gable. It was realised along the perimeter of the octagon in the middle of the west side, in line with the main entrance, with a view to creating a scenic perspective which could regulate the angular balance of the enclosure. Dating back to 1818, the project was carried out between 1819 and 1823 and can now be found at the State Archives. The inclined shorter sides and the square-shaped surrounding wall, limited to the octagon, form four triangular spaces that were to serve four different functions: the south-east section accommodated the ossuary; the south-west part Jewish and evangelical burials; the north-west section all those who were condemned to death and who had committed suicide – an area of this section was also reserved for the executioner and his family; and, finally, the north-east section sheltered, as in limbo, stillborn children or unchristened ones.

The fundamental lay institution of the cemetery was adapted to the people’s creed – mostly Catholic, which later determined a specific feature of the city of Parma. As a matter of fact, the area dedicated to “those who do not follow our religion…” had an independent entrance, with respect to the other three spaces and to what was actually decided in the initial project. Although the French government had granted Jews the liberty to reside in the city, non-catholic communities had not yet been fully integrated.
The area was soon insufficient for the needs of non-catholic communities. Therefore, in 1865, a project was presented for a new Jewish cemetery. It was intended to be built outside the squared enclosure of the Villetta, near the modern non-catholic section. It is in this area that, still today, we can find the most ancient graves – dating back to 1870 – 1910. In 1875/76 the Jewish sector was separated from that of the Protestants by a wall.

The growth of the cemetery, from the primitive octagonal porch, had started long before the arcades had been completed.
The interior is divided into four yards by two perpendicular boulevards and was intended to accommodate common people’s tombs. Monuments, as well, were to stand on the two sides of the main boulevard – linking the entrance and the Oratory.
The cemetery regulation issued by Marie Louise also defined the tree species allowed to overshadow the graves: in particular those which grew perpendicularly, such as cypresses and Lombardy poplars.
In 1862 the cemetery was linked to the closer city door by a boulevard, “a superb alley flanked by cypresses” designed as an element of continuity between the city and the cemetery. Also, its magnificence could provide the path with an adequate decorum with respect to the importance of its architectural destination. At the same time, it contributed to the solemnity of the funeral rites.

In the Deliberation of Marie Louise dated 31st August 1819 – article 8, we can read that the construction of the arches inside the octagon was to begin at the same time in the two parts near the entrance, but that it should be financed entirely by the citizens. “Those who require an arch must personally declare they arewilling to build it at their own expense, and only after the first notice received by the Potestà. If they fail to do that within three days of receipt of the notice, they will lose their right and have to reproduce another declaration anew”.
The construction continued according to the initial project: “The arcades will be uniform and built according to the intended project – registered at the Potestà’s offices and communicated to the participants along with the estimation of expenses”.
In articles 6 and 7 we can read that the arcades have to be built completely at the applicants’ expense. The applicants can decide to commission the work as they like, as long as an architect of the municipality is responsible for the work: each applicant is required to pay to the municipality a sum of 14.9 lira – a third of the area devoted to the construction of the portico, according to the survey carried out”. Therefore, inside the portico, everyone was free to decide the type of ornaments they preferred, as long as they left a free passage from one arch to the other and provided that they submitted their project for its approval to the President of the home office, who will only return it after getting the approval from the School of Fine Arts.
Whoever wanted a porch in the cemetery for a “particular grave” had to declare his wishes to the office of the Potestà for them to be registered there. Today, in one of the remaining registers, there is still some trace of the names of these owners – both private citizens but also Orders, Brotherhoods, Guilds and the Municipality. In July 1820, 21 arches had already been built at the request of the Constantine Order of St George, the Benedictine Monks, the Canonical Section of the Cathedral, the Consortium of the Cathedral, the Priests’ Board and the University…

In order to meet with the growing demand for new graves, as soon as the porched octagon was finished in 1876, the first surrounding wall of the Jesuit house was demolished. A first series of enlargements began.
The project designed by Sante Bergamaschi (Head Engineer of the Office of Municipal Arts) in 1872 projects the construction of two twin galleries with a Latin cross plan, placed northward and southward along the transverse axis of the octagon. These could be reached from the enclosure by means of two openings in the central arches of each portico. The above-mentioned galleries were constructed in different decades and, consequently, their height varied. In fact, today we have two different images and spaces: the southern gallery, built between 1876 and 1884, is mostly neoclassical and has a lower barrel vault. The norther gallery, based on a project dated 1893 and finished in 1899 but built only in 1905, shows the peculiarity of eclectic stylistic elements, such as rounded arches.
The two galleries, along with the octagon and the entrance, constitute the four pivots of the new cemetery, inside of which the enclosure still has the role of a regulating structure. In 1905 a project for the two risalits of the entrance was carried out. These were later built in 1913 – to be refurbished in 1980. Today, they accommodate the porter’s lodge. In 1909 the building surveyor Ennio Monieri designed the mortuary chamber, next to which a modern post-mortem death chamber was added in 1935.
At the beginning of the XX Century we have the first burials in the yard around the two main galleries. In 1921 a decision was taken to enlarge the cemetery towards the little river Cinghio’s bed. The last enlargement, strictly linked to the octagon, was carried out in 1931 with the construction of the south-east gallery. This was placed in a triangle formed between the inside of the octagon and the squared enclosure of the arcade. The project was realised by the Eng. Angelo Bay and shows a cross-plan building, with two identical wings and an octagonal tambour on the cross.
The interior shows an eclectic taste, whereas the external, all in plastered masonry, shows some more modern decorations, especially belonging to the late Art Nouveau style.

Nonetheless, the need for new graves was not even met with the construction of the south-east gallery,. In actual fact, new enlargements were carried out in the following years,. the majority of which were was designed to be independent from the monumental octagon: the perametric northern gallery (1934-39), the southern yard, the A section (1962-66), the B section (1967-77), St Joseph (1978), St Peregrine (1979), up to the most recent enlargement project (the construction of the new St. Peregrine (2008).
Therefore, some building was carried out in order to meet the need for new graves. Among these interventions, we find the reconstruction of the north-west triangular area (originally designed to accommodate those who were condemned to death, who committed suicide, executioners with their families) into what is today known as the Cloister of Padre Lino (1947) (photo below). Subsequently, the cemetery started to expand southward, with the construction of columbaria and southern yards (1950-60).

Among others graves, ones of the most visited are one of the famous Borbone family’s member…

…the one commemorating the partisans…

the grave of the actress Paola Borboni

the one of Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa

and the grave of Niccolò Paganini

At the beginning of the 20th Century we saw the first constructions of monuments for the burial of entire families. This phenomenon soon turned the grassy lawns into diversely and densely built-up areas. The period between 1925 and 1940 saw the greatest fervour in building new graves: this is clearly evident by observing the chapel’s style. It is also possible that the granting of new land to private citizens had supported the northern enlargement, which occurred more or less in the same years……

I know someone could call me weird, but I’ve always find it extremely peaceful and relaxing walking through a cemetery, especially the monumental ones. I visited cemeteries all around Europe, so different and so alike at the same time….after all as someone once said it’s the livings we should be afraid of, not the dead ones…..

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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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My day at Expo 2015

Expo, or World Expositions….finally we got the chance, last tuesday, to visit this year edition in Milan. We woke up early but not early enough, because when we arrived at the gates of the Trade Fair place, we had to stay in queue for almost two hours before having our tickets validated….luckily for us it was a warm and sunny day…

Expo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition that Milan, is hosting from May 1 to October 31, 2015. Over this six-month period, Milan becomes a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium. In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations, and expects to welcome over 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the core theme of Expo Milano 2015. This common thread runs through all the events organized both within and outside the official Exhibition Site. A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 gives everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.

We knew that try to visit the biggest pavillions was useless, the waiting lines for such as Japan, China, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, South Korea, Brasil, Russia, Italy and others, were estimated between 2 and 6 hours….no way! So we decided to just have a stroll around, looking at all the amazing architecture of the pavillions, and try to enter into the smaller ones.

Curated by Davide Rampello and designed by Michele de Lucchi, Pavilion Zero provides an introduction to the Expo Milano 2015 Site. Pavilion Zero takes the visitor on a captivating journey to explore how much humankind has produced, the transformation of natural landscape, and the culture and rituals of food consumption. The explicit commitment undertaken by Expo Milano 2015 since the early phases of its candidacy, has been to produce a great event, focusing on respect for the environment, local communities and where they live. Sustainability is a central pillar of this commitment, an overarching, universal value that permeates all aspects of the Expo starting with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, projected into a sustainable future for the planet and society as a whole.
In particular, the environmental commitment of Expo 2015 SpA takes form in the implementation of criteria of sustainability applied to all aspects and the entire lifecycle of the event, in order to prevent, mitigate or compensate any possible negative impact on the environment or on local communities.

The major artery of the exposition, the Decumano (above). In many modern cities, the cross, typical of the roman camp – or castrum – is still evident as the form of the town. It was a distinctive perpendicular shape and the two street crossings were known as the Cardo and the Decumano. This shape has been the inspiration for the building of the Expo Milano 2015 Exposition Site. This very simple shape was chosen with the aim of helping visitors find their directions through events and shows, and participant countries as they display their products.

 The main street, the Decumano, crosses the whole site from east to west for one and a half kilometers. On either side of the Decumano, are the national pavilions of the participant countries, and of 130, around 60 will develop a self-built pavilion. All others will be inside a Cluster. Symbolically the Decumano connects to the place where food is consumed (the city) and the place where food is produced (the countryside).
As the other main street that crosses the Decumano, the Cardo is 350 meters long. It connects the exposition site from the north to the south where the Italian Pavilion is located. In this area, called Palazzo Italia, all the cultures and traditions, typical of the Italian food industry, are showcased.
 The Angola Pavillion
Lao, one of the countries of the rice cluster
A rural landscape that conveys the feel of the vastness, the colors, and scents of rice fields, greets visitors as they begin their journey into the world of rice. The Rice Cluster will also illustrate how rice grows, including how the water covers and protects the seedlings.
Rice is both adaptable and nutritious. This is why, more than 10,000 years ago, people started cooking and eating rice. The first kind was, it is believed, what we would call a Chinese-type rice. This variety has since spread worldwide from the valleys of China, and is still being enjoyed today as a key element of many cuisines.
Given our knowledge of the history of rice and the countless varieties that are available, it is imperative that we appreciate the central role that this cereal plays in enriching biodiversity. Within the Rice Cluster, the visitor will have the chance to time-travel and see how people in different countries have, over the years, come up with innovative ways to cultivate rice.
as it is Bangladesh (there I bought basmati rice and so many different kind of spices – I guess that on my way home I made all the train stink!) Other countries are Cambodia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone.
Cluster of coffee (I bought some vanilla and cinnamon coffee here).Taking its inspiration from the vast coffee plantations located at the edges of the tropical forests of Africa and Central America, this cluster’s architecture evokes the highest branches of the trees in the shade which the coffee plants grow, with the pavilions serving as a metaphor for these tree trunks. The Coffee Cluster is characterized by warm and natural colors that change according to the changing light that filters through the roof, giving visitors the illusion of being in a real forest. Created in collaboration with the International Coffee Organization (ICO), this Cluster narrates the past, present, and future of coffee, focusing on three areas: “the product and its journey from bean to cup” – “the creativity, art and culture that have developed around the coffee-drinking ritual” – “the stories and traditions of the countries of coffee farmers and consumers”. The countries in this cluster are Burundi, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Yemen and Timor-Lest

Below, the italian companies of the cocoa and chocolate cluster.

The pavilions, all of a similar size and color, are identified by the exhibitor country’s flag and name. Display panels featuring drawings, icons, and images tell the many stories of cacao: from cultivation, via processing and transport, to distribution worldwide. In the Cluster, the tasting and relaxation area is linked to the section set aside for events, and also to the space where demonstrations related to cocoa and chocolate will take place.
Cacao was cultivated for many thousands of years by a number of pre-Columbian peoples, and featured as a key component of Maya and Aztec diet and culture. One of the many uses to which the Aztecs put cacao was as an ingredient in the drink known as “xocolātl”. Another traditional recipe combined cocoa and chili. Whether used for food or drink, or in exchange for other goods, cocoa soon became a symbol of energy, fertility, and life. Cocoa’s popularity has not dwindled and, indeed, is the main ingredient of chocolate, one of the world’s best-loved foods. The cocoa employed to make the chocolate that we eat, or drink, derives from the cacao fruit. Cacao is grown in more than 30 emerging countries, the crop serving, in many cases, to sustain their economies.

Gabon pavillion (we bought cocoa biscuits) and the others are Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.
 We had lunch on the Eataly pavillion terrace (the pavillion is divided into Italy regions’ sections – we choose Basilicata, in honour of my daughter bf)
Instead of dessert or ice-cream, we opted for a special italian treat, “farinata ligure” (the name can vary because it’s a dish from several italian regions)
With a very full stomach, we continued on our walk, discovering other countries along the way….
Afghanistan (you see the bags hanging in in the second pic? my daughter is the proud owner of one of them now)
Vanuatu (just in case you, like me, don’t know exactly where it is….) with Afghanistan in the cluster of spices. Spices are no longer the impetus of conquest and colonization they once were, but they continue to suffuse cuisines worldwide. Spices have long defined the rich, complex South India cuisine—known for its hot red chilies and saffron-hued turmeric that are produced in the region—spices that also seem to be echoed throughout this multilayered culture. With Afghanistan and Vanuatu there are also Brunei Darussalam and Tanzania in this cluster. Walking through these pavillions we were literally trasported in another world, so intense were the fragrances and the different aromas…..I have now a little sachet of hot red curry, I’ll let you know….
 my daughter in front of the UK Pavillion
Holy See Pavillion (and nope, the Pope hasn’t visited yet…)
France (at 4.00pm – 2 hours to enter)
Israel (same time of the day – same 2 hours in line)
Italy Pavillion, the most visited – 4 hours to enter, but now it’s official: Italy pavilion, Pavilion Zero and the Tree of Life will stay forever after the closing of the exposition, so maybe next year we will be back to visit them.

The Tree of Life, the most known installation. Located at the northernmost point of the Cardo, is the Lake Arena. This pond, which is approximately 90 meters wide, is encircled by a seating area, bordered by around 100 trees, placed in three concentric circles, and accommodates approximately 3,000 people. The bottom of the pond is filled with dark pebbles to create a mirror effect. At the center of the pond there are fountains and the Tree of Life. During the day the three and a half minute show takes place every hour, from 11:00 until 19:00. The evening shows are longer, lasting 12 and half minutes and take place from Monday to Friday at 20.30, 21.00, 21.30, 22.00. On Saturday and Sunday the light show takes place at:  20.30, 21.00, 21.30, 22.00, 22.30. The show features lighting, special effects, fireworks and music. During the day you can listen to five songs by contemporary Italian artists while in the evening the “Tree of Life Suite” accompanies the show, a piece composed by Maestro Roberto Cacciapaglia for the Expo. Constructed by Orgoglio Brescia, a consortium of local businesses, and some 37 metres tall, this wood and steel structure forms part of the metaphor of the Plant Nursery, which informs the concept of the Italian Pavilion. The structure of the Tree of Life takes its cue from the Renaissance. Indeed, Marco Balich based his design on designs by Michelangelo. We attended one of the short programs, (look at my IG) and it was stunning! See here for the long ones.

Not that I fully understand why the Coca-Cola Company was present (or McDonald) and with a very long line outside, but here it is….

The inside of the Algeria pavillion (below), that with Albania, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Malta, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia and Tunisia forms the cluster of Bio-Mediterraneum. 

The concept of this Cluster is based upon Mediterranean cuisine and the way of life in this area, with a special emphasis on participation and integration. The Cluster aims to recreate the colors, tastes, and aromas that are typical of Mediterranean countries and their cultures. Evoking the image of typical Mediterranean towns, this Cluster features a large main central square, onto which face four buildings where visitors can sample and purchase local foods and other products. The main square is paved in various shades of blue, reminiscent of the Mediterranean sea.
The Mediterranean sea connects three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia. This region is a melting pot of populations where history, civilizations, and the natural environment have blended over time. Food has played a vital role in helping to preserve the unique qualities of this area and, over many centuries, a wide array of food traditions have formed, based on local resources such as wheat, olives, and grapes.
In the Mediterranean area, a meal is seen as an essential aspect of social and cultural life. The main characteristic of the Mediterranean diet is that of taking the time to enjoy a meal, replete with the local rituals connected to the communal eating experience.
The people of the Mediterranean area probably spend more time preparing and eating their meals than do those anywhere else in the world. The Mediterranean diet is not only considered healthy but it also protects agricultural biodiversity, while local cultivation methods respect criteria for sustainability.
The Islands, Sea and Food Cluster includes Cape Verde, Caribbean Community (Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname), Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Maldives and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Islands, Sea and Food Cluster concept is based on this concept of, “feeding the spirit” via sounds, colors, and aromas. The sound of rushing water, the crunch of footsteps on gravel, and hammering on wood convey a sense of the harmony typically found within the countries belonging to this Cluster. We had the most amazing experience here, the people of these countries is so very smiling, and warm and welcoming. We talked with a boy from the Comoros with the most stunning blue eyes I’ve ever seen! Now we own some bijoux made of woods and horns, too bad the rhum wasn’t for sale!
U.S.A Pavillion
Turkey (with my daughter again)
The second place as the most visited pavilion is up to Japan, at 4.00pm the waiting line to enter was about 4 hours….
Expo Milano 2015 offers the opportunity to learn about the cultures of the world starting from the palate. At the Universal Exposition of Milan over 70 restaurants will take you to 70 different places in the world, offering you the possibility of enjoying over 70 different and unknown tastes and cultures, or taking you back to an experience of the past. All this through the culture of food. From zebra meat to Argentine beef, from crispy sweet and sour chicken to curry, from falafel to hummus, from noodles to rice, from cassava flour to corn flour, from sushi ice cream, to crocodile burgers and… much more. A clever mix of flavors, aromas, scents and ingredients that represent the cuisines from all around the world. Actually walking around the first stimulated sense is the sense of smell….so many fragrances in the air, all mixed up and so intense…
Estonia Pavilion
the stunning Qatar Pavilion…………
…and the Oman one make you feel like you’re lost in some desert oasis….
We entered the Turkmenistan Pavilion………..
up till the terrace where you can see a traditional hut set in a garden, a traditional carpet design made of leds and enjoy a beautiful view over the Decumano…
The Indonesia Pavilion is where we had our spicy dinner, so so good
It was a long and tiring day, but a very thrilling experience for both of us, it was like taking a trip around the globe in just one place!. I’m so glad that what we taught to our daughter has made roots in her soul, she is so hungry to discover the new……All the differences in the world just make us richer, we just have to keep our minds and hearts open……….
For more about all the countries present at the exposition and which theme they choose, read here.



Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A visit to the La Spezia Naval Museum

The first day of May, Italy (as many other countries) celebrates International Workers’ Day. It means lots of political speeches in the major squares, concerts, unions’ marches and so on. It means also a day off….We took the opportunity and by train, with a couple of friends, we reached the city of La Spezia to visit the Naval Technical Museum of the Italian Navy Army. It was a rainy day, so it was right for an inside activity…

The museum, opened on May 12 1958, is located next to the main gate of the Arsenal and here were collected models, memorabilia, weapons, documents put back in order and completed with the help of the laboratory staff. In this workshop have been set up many of the models currently on display. The new exhibition‘s aim is to illustrate to visitors the evolution of the vessel over the years, and therefore the collection span from the earliest times till our age.

You can see hubby was not so pleased to have his photo taken…..he knew my camera was going to have a hard day of work….

In the entry, on the marble plaque: ” To those who in all times and of all races lost their lives on the sea for the mankind sake”

The first imposing object capturing the visitors’ attention, is the figurehead depicting Christopher Columbus as a young man, holding the globe with his left hand. It comes from the homonymous brigantine (1843-1867)  launched by the Shipyards of Foce (Genoa).

Below, a wooden “pettiglia”  (carved wooden planks that were placed on the side and outside of the gates of a protected ladder) fron the Custoza, whose name recalls the victory achieved by Radetzky on July 25, 1848

Below: one of the two caryatids from the sardinian frigate Italy, (former Neapolitan Farnese), depicting two women with a Roman armor, with cloak and crown. Presumably they were placed on either side of the existing officers’ accommodation.

Below, a Galeazzi diving suit for working in deep water

Two suits of armor of infantry of the Republic of Genoa, consisting of helmets and armor-plate, at the entrance of the rooms They are exposed torpedoes, block bombs from jet torpedoes, navigatori-class destroyers, depth charges, employed by the Italian Navy or from other countries’ Navy in the period between the end of the ninteenth century and the end of World War II.

The artillery room….

Again, some figureheads from various ships. Among them, the figurehead of the training ship Cristoforo Colombo (1928-1949); the great navigator is represented with his right arm raised to show the New World seen from aboard the Santa Maria.

A plastic reproduction of the Gulf of Spezia  (April 1863)

Below, the boat decoration used for Admiral services in the era prior to September 1916.

In the following pic, thee figurehead of the Neapolitan frigate Partenope, allegorically depicting Naples in the form of a thriving woman.

Below, the figurehead depicting the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, wife of Franz Joseph, murdered in Lugano in 1898. It belonged to the austrian paddle steamboat Elisabeth Kaiserin, built in Pula in 1889

Below: the figurehead from the Garibaldi steamboat Baleno, former english Fairy Queen, depicting Queen Victoria of England at a young age with a royal crown, and the figurehead depicting the goddess Minerva with helmet, sword and shield on which is reproduced a Medusa’s head; this is the original figurehead placed on neapolitan cessel Minerva. Between them,a  great fossilized anchor, origin unknown.

Below: the wooden coat of arms in from the Royal frigate Des Geneys, the last ship designed by Giacomo Biga, first engineer of our Navy.

Below, figurehead from the ship Dora, built by the British for Russia with the name Neva, then purchased from Marina Sarda (Navy of the Kingdom of Sardinia) for the Crimean War (1855): it depicts a woman holding a white rose in her hands, perhaps the rose of York. Behind this figurehead is placed a wooden coat of arms of the city of Genoa, perhaps coming from the Royal Ship Liguria.

In the corner in the photo below: the figurehead of the Cambria (the steamboat bought by Garibaldi in 1860 in England) depicting a bard with a long flowing beard, which symbolizes the country conquered by the Romans (now Wales); the figurehead of the Royal Frigate Beroldo (1828) representing the count Beroldo, founder of the House of Savoy; a dragon with woman’s face, possibly from the Royal frigate Regina.

In the below display cabinets, a significant outline of the evolution of the ships through the centuries, with models of great value

Below: the original lighthouse that worked until 1969 on the Island of Tino (Ligurian Sea), dragon figureheads and more ships models

In the photo below, the model of the cutter Frieda used by Emperor Franz Joseph.

Below:  the beautiful model, 1:50 scale, of the training ship Amerigo Vespucci, built in the laboratory of this Museum and faithfully reproducing in detail all the ship equipment.

Outside, the sky wasn’t promising good news…..

So we decided to reach the restaurant we booked, earlier than supposed….

After lunch, we had a little walk through the city, and we had the chance to admire some really interesting buildings. The rain became heavy and we decided to walk back to the station to catch the train home, but La Spezia is truly worth another visit.






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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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70 years

Thanks to all those who lost their life to ensure us a better one today.

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Posted by on April 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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