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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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Updates – Seven – Patti Smith

The american singer arrived in Italy to partecipate at the ceremony for honorary degree in Classical and Modern Letters, which was delivered on May 3rd at the local University. For the occasion, there was also the beautiful exhibition hosted at the Governor’s Palace: a collection of shots and artists met and photographed by Smith with his Land 250 Polaroid over the years. In the shots, you can really meet many different characters, from Virginia Wolf to Rimbaud, to Frida Kahlo or Grabriele D’Annunzio. Sometimes indirectly told and represented, through their personal objects and places. Higher Learning is an evolution of Eighteen Stations, presented in New York and recently exhibited in Stockholm. The original project was realized in collaboration with the Robert Miller Gallery in New York and the Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm.
Born in 1946, Patti Smith, known to the general public as one of the most important singers in rock history, is a multifaceted artist: photographer, painter, sculptor, writer, poet and performer who left, and continues to leave an indelible mark in the American and international cultural landscape through a career that lasts for over forty years. During his first explorations in the field of visual arts he worked closely with Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the greatest photographers and portraitists between the sixties and eighties of the last century. The two artists met for the first time in New York City in 1967 and remained friends until the death of Mapplethorpe in 1989.

After more than ten years of his latest photo exhibition in Italy, with Higher Learning, Patti Smith returns to exhibit with an exhibition around the world of M Train book, released in 2015. In the volume, the artist, as he wrote the prestigious “Rolling Stone” magazine, “tackles a journey through the most memorable memories, travels between life lived and dream universe, his faithful companion of all time”. Smith describes what is, in effect, his autobiography, “a roadmap for my life,” telling from coffee shops to homes where he worked around the world. Reflecting on the themes and sensations of the book, Higher Learning is a sort of meditation on the act of creating art and over time. The illustrations accompanying the pages of the book, together with the writings, dwell on the potential that art and literature can offer to hope and consolation. The photos portrays the beds, the statues, the artwork and the gravestones that have belonged to characters that have contributed to the formation and development of the culture of humanity, creating a sort of visual diary. Frida Kahlo’s crutches, Gabriele D’Annunzio’s bed, Johnny Depp’s bathrobe, Carlo Mollino’s apartment, Virginia Woolf stick, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s tombs and Jean Genet’s chair and Roberto Bolaño’s chair resuscitate their soul through the images of their goods or their resting places.

“As a young woman – says Patti Smith – I dreamed of attending a large university. It is an honor to receive the honoris causa degree from the University of Parma, one of the oldest and most prestigious Universities in Europe. I have always believed in the importance of education, and getting recognition from this eminent higher education institution is both embarrassing and stimulating.
The sense of the exhibition is a tribute to another kind of education. The university of life, travel, books, artists, poets and teachers. The images are visual representations of pilgrimage and gratitude, and continuous love and respect for our cultural voices, their great works, and the humility of their instruments. A brush, a typewriter and the beds they dreamed of. The places of their eternal peace “.

Along with Higher Learning, another exhibition of photographic works was inaugurated at the Palace of the Governor, The NY Scene – art, culture and new avant-garde, 1970s and 1980s, produced by Photology in collaboration with the Municipality of Parma and “devoted  to the New Yorkese scene of those years that have so much been about creativity and a culture that has become global and on the same experience as Patti Smith. ”
Throughout the 1970s, New York became the world capital of contemporary art, and the great commercial affiliation of Pop Art makes the avant-garde culture grow in the bourgeois salons of the city. The exhibition wants to remember those moments that New York lived through sex, art, drugs, pop culture and literary avant-gardes.
Photographers on display have been chosen among many people who worked in those years in a New York photo-making. Shots and videos on big pop characters, common citizens, and creative and fashionable sites are fragments of memory of a kind of experience that great photographers and artists like Galella, Ginsberg, Goldin, Gorgoni, Makos, Mapplethorpe and Warhol wanted or knew how to deal with with courage and abnegation.
Some of these were deeply tied to Patti Smith, who watched Ginsberg on the deathbed and lived the most formative years of his youth together with Mapplethorpe.
In the 1970s, artistic photography went through radical changes. The birth of performance and installations, as well as various types of landart and bodyart, makes photographic documentation indispensable. The great revolution that these artists have captured in the “Big Apple” of those years is the first symptom of a changing world, that of “total culture”, “mass snobbery”, of a society with no “middle class” . It is the new hedonistic America of Ronald Reagan that is about to be born, a company that in a few years will match the “market system”.

Smith uses a vintage Land 250 Polaroid camera, produced at the end of the 1960s with a rangefinder Zeiss Ikon. The camera uses a special film that produces instantaneous printing. Patti Smith’s Polaroid photographs are printed on silver jelly in limited editions of ten. In the era of digital shots and image manipulation, her works fought for the use of photography in its most classic form, as a tool for documenting and fixing an instant for a moment, a moment found.

The Patti Smith Library, which contains a hundred literary and cinematic works inspired and directed the work of the artist during his life, and was set up inside the exhibition. Books and DVDs will be available to the public, which can be consulted on the spot. Some works were also be on sale in the bookshop.

For my daughter and I, really and deeply in love with photography, Patti Smith and New York, this was really a great experience….all the best in just one place!

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Updates – One – March

After a short and not so cold month of february, almost lacking of events, march started with a nice late afternoon meeting, celebrating a collegue wedding, in a very well known place in the city center…..

Then we brought home a new road companion, for the happiness of my husband….and for the sake of my lower back!

One sunny sunday we drove to our friends’ country home to have lunch together…….

…..and to fix a date for a guided visit to a stunning private palace in town.

Well, it seems I have some recurring names and places in my life…… I’v been in that palace before a few times (work related), but I only saw a few rooms. Open to the public exceptionally for a day, Palazzo Pallavicino, a historic baroque residence in the heart of Parma, was shown to the members of a cultural association that arranged the appointment, by the marquise Maria Gabriella Pigoli Pallavicino and Professor Carlo Mambriani (an historian) who led the participants through the stunning rooms of the private residence. And amazing as it was, the marquis Maria Gabriella recognized me after so many years and at the end of the visit she kindly gave us half an hour of her time chatting about our lives after the last time we met  …… very kind of her, don’t you think?

The palace was commissioned by Alfonso Pallavicino from Zibello in 1646 and built on the spot of a 15th century palace belonging to the Sforza of Santafiora family (the square before the palace still has the same name). The façade dates back to 1705 and is characterised by windows of different sizes and designs surrounded by marble, with a balcony held up by corbels.

Inside, from a baroque courtyard, a balustrade staircase with three flights in Bolognese style of the end of the 17th century  adorned with statues, leads up to several rooms with stucco, Austrian marble fireplaces, mirrors, paintings, a Chinese salon with 18th century marble floors and a salon frescoed by Sebastiano Galeotti. Four works are by Girolamo Donnini, including The flight of Eneid from Troy, The flight of Ifigenia from the temple of Artemides, Medea and Jason and Diomedes revealing the faked madness of Ulysses. Donnini also painted the ceilings, as well the artist from Bologna, Aureliano Milani, depicting Hercules in many of his works.

Just the staircase is worth the visit….

The visit started at the long hallway that i remembered so well, where the marquise was waiting for us……

then, her precious bridge room, a card game always loved by her and her late husband….

….the conversation room…..

….the Chinese salon…..

….the dining room….

….the library where the late marquis Pierluigi used to meet me….

It was really an amazing experience for me, just like it was anytime I met that kind couple, so many years ago….thank you Lady Gabriella for a wonderful time!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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A heavy, lond and difficult renovation….

At the end of june of last year, my mother-in-law was admitted in a nursing home. It was a painful decision (I promised myself never again – after the difficult experience with my father – ) but it was a necessary one considering what she needed most of all, was a daily medical assistance, not possible at home anymore. We are glad we took that decision, because now, at 88, she’s well taken care of, and her conditions are really good considering her age. She’s a little confused and at an early stage of Alzheimer, but she still knows who we are, and we are grateful for this.

A few weeks after she left home, we started to get rid of her things, now useless. We donated clothes, bed covers, curtains and some other things to charity organisations. Some furnitures, pictures and other stuff were sold. Some things were kept. We knew the house needed heavy cleaning and some fixing, but after it was decided that it would have become our daughter new home, things took a completely different turn. A deeply restoration was in order….

Between sellings, discarding, and giving away, the house looked like this….

Then it was time for deciding what the new house would be like, to chooce the look, the colors, the furnitures…….and it was also the time for the first heartache, thinking about the money this would have costed!!!!

At the end of february this year, the bricklayers, the plumber, the electrician took the matter in their own hands….. there were a wall to knock down and rebuilt, floors to be removed and  replaced, pipes and cables to be fixed, and to manage them all we needed a very brave and able man, a surveyor, who luckily for us matched our expectations!

Finally, at the end of march, the floors were ready to be placed, and also the bathroom and the kitchen tiles were up….

After all that, the painters arrived to fix the walls and the ceilings….

…… not without some problems….

Finally we were ready for the furnitures to be moved in….the first was the kitchen

It needs some details yet to be fixed, but we have already the chandelier ready to be put in place…

It’s been hard to choose what was needed in the bathroom, but now it’s almost finished (less the curtains)…

The bedroom too is almost ready….

The curtains are yet to be fitted to the window but they are alredy here…

Ikea was of great help as you can see….(not its final destination I guess, this would move…)

The second bedroom (and the kitchen table) is still a workshop for the furnitures my daughter wants to fix herself….an old mirror newly painted…

a recycled closet painted in the same color (as many other things…my daughter ‘leitmotiv’ at the moment)

and my mother in law old chest of drawers now matching each other…

This is a little table she made out of pallets…..

The second bedroom will be finished when the rest of the house will be ready for living in it, and it will be a study/office….for now it owns only a lamp…

The living room is lacking curtains and lamps but the furnitures are in place…

The place of honor is taken by my father in law rocker….

A lot has to be done to have it finished completely (curtains, lamps, pictures and photos on the walls, a couple of shelves….) but we’re on the downhill run now…..

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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March – part two

A while ago, I found an old photo of me and one of my aunts, too early taken from us. I shared the photo on the WhatsApp group of the “cousins”, and to some it was new ….thus the idea of getting together one day to share family photos and stories. The occasion presented itself the saturday before Easter, and my cousin S invited us for lunch……Three were missing, one living in the US and two being abroad for a short vacation…We had really a great time, sharing memories….adjusting memories…. sharing a meal and so much love….just us, no children, no partners, just the inner circle of us….

God….I’m blessed!

Easter morning, a walk through the streets of Fontanellato, but the Street Food Festival didn’t met our expectations for a different Easter lunch…..

so instead we called a aunt who previously announced she would have been thrilled if we were going to lunch……..glad we did!

Full, we had to digest all that, so we rejoined daughter and bf, to explore the area around….A nice surprise was the old, deserted Church of San Carlo, dating back from early 1700, but very sadly almost completly ruined…..and in spite of our search, not too much was available to learn more about it….

but all the magic was there………..such a waste!

Then we drove to the near village of Roccabianca. The Rossi Castle was open and for free………

This imposing stronghold was built between 1450 and 1465 by Pier Maria Rossi as a gift for his beloved Bianca Pellegrini. Originally surrounded by a moat, it has a rectangular structure with two bastions and a high central tower and despite the damages of time, it still preserves its forceful appearance. On the ravelin, it displays the coat of arms of the Rangoni and Pallavicino families that took possession of the castle after the collapse of the Rossi family.

 

 

The interiors once boasted a cycle of frescoes depicting the Life of Griselda, inspired by the 100th novella of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Little remains today of it: the walls and vault of the room, together with the Pier Maria Rossi astrological cycle attributed to Nicolò da Varallo and his school have been detached and reassembled in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Thanks to long restoration works due to the last owner, cavalier Mario Scaltriti, the castle has been recently reopened to the public.

Tastings of typical products of the Road of Culatello and free tastings of local homemade liquors are also available by prebooking as well as (for children) the marvellous world of Fairy tales.

Easter Monday, up in the hills, we met with a couple of friends in another little village around a castle, Torrechiara.

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been there, the charm is still there…..and I guess it will ever be…

Last time I entered the little church at the foot of the castle, was for our friends’ wedding, 31 years ago….I didn’t remember it at all….

Back to our friends home/farm (he produces and sells olive trees and olive oil along with some fruits plants), just above the castle, where we had dinner together….

So April, bring it on….will you live up to March?

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2016 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……

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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To you all, out there….

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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