Art & Culture Archive

Read Article ▶ ROME’S TREVI FOUNTAIN, WHERE DO ALL THE COINS GO?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
Trevi Fountain

Legend says, a traveler throwing a coin over their shoulder into the fountain water will receive good fortune and guarantee them a return to Rome, as seen in the 1954 Hollywood film, Three Coins in the Fountain.

Having recently undergone a major refurbishment, the Trevi Fountain is a favourite place for Italians and visitors from all over the world to gather and participate in the popular coin tradition and enjoy a gelato while admiring the view.

So, where do all the coins go?

Have you ever wondered where the 1.5 million euro ($2.38 m) of coins collected each year actually goes? The Catholic charity Caritas, which began in 1971 distributes the money collected, assisting the disadvantaged and the homeless of the city of Rome.

What's going to change?

The recently elected Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi has proposed that all collected monies should go to deal with the mounting rubbish in the city, as well as fix potholes. This proposal has since been approved and will be implemented in April 2019. Rome’s first female mayor’s plans have not gone unnoticed. The Catholic daily paper Avvenire accused the Council for neglecting the city’s poor. Cries of support for the Catholic church from politicians, clerics and journalists urging the Council of Rome to not change its laws and continue to support the disadvantage.

While the ‘important’ people of the Eternal city work in the background to keep Rome the amazing city it is, the tourists visiting will continue to have these beautiful sites to visit and admire.

Vita Italian Tours have a number of tours that visit Rome, so you will get to experience the wonder of the Eternal city, including the Trevi Fountain. You’ll get the opportunity to throw a coin over your shoulder, bringing you good fortune.

Visit our tour page to see the tours we have on offer

Read Article ▶ Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2018

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Vita Italian Tours is very proud to be a supporting partner of the 2018 Lavazza Italian Film Festival. Now in its 18th year the festival is the biggest public celebration of Italian cinema outside Italy.

To celebrate we will be giving away a series of complimentary double pass movie tickets in your capital city!

Simply book on any Small Group Tour or Private Itinerary with Vita Italian Tours for travel in 2019 and you will receive 2 Complimentary Tickets! Hurry we have only 5 Double passes to give away!

Viva il cinema!

Contact us for more details on 1300 842 444 at the cost of a local call anywhere in Australia.

For session times and movies playing at this years festival check out the link below;

www.italianfilmfestival.com.au

 

lavazza_ital_film_fest2018

Read Article ▶ UNESCO Recognises Pesaro

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

UNESCO Recognises Pesaro - Pesaro is a tranquil seaside town in the region of Le Marche, and forms part of the central green heart of Italy. The city of Pesaro has recently been recognised by UNESCO as one of the creative cities of the world. Nominated as a ‘City of Music’, Pesaro joined fellow Italian cities, Milan (Literature), Alba (gastronomy) and Carrara (Crafts).

The honor of being a ‘City of Music’ is due in large part to Pesaro’s most famous citizen, Gioacchino Rossini, the world-renowned opera composer who was born in a small house in the centre of the city. His house is now a museum displaying information about his life and music. Rossini, created celebrated operas such as the Barber of Seville, William Tell, Cinderella, Othello and many others. In 1869 Rossini established, the Conservetoire of Music, a world-renowned music school and theatre that is frequented by artists and musicians from around the world. An opera festival is held in Rossini’s honor in Pesaro every year in August with performances of all his most famous work.

gioacchino_rossini_composer Piazza del Popolo Pesaro  

Mario, Viny and Gianni of Vita Italian Tours, call Pesaro home when they are on tour in Italy and have numerous tours that visit Pesaro and the surrounding cities and towns. One of these is the Opera & Food Tour, organised in August for small groups of opera lovers on request to coincide with the Rossini and Macerata Opera Festivals. Thinking of visiting Pesaro and Le Marche Region and would like a personalised itinerary? We can tailor a package for a self-drive or fully guided travel itinerary for families, couples, small groups or solo travellers. Contact us today 1300 842 444 or send us a message from our website, contact.

 

For more on the UNESCO Creative Cities List: www.ansa.it/english/

For more on Gioacchino Rossini: www.britannica.com/biography/Gioachino-Rossini

 

Read Article ▶ BOBOLI GARDENS GET GUCCI MAKEOVER

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Boboli Gardens Florence

Boboli Gardens in Florence get Gucci Makeover. The CEO of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, announced on 4 April that the company would donate two million euro to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence for the revamp of the Boboli Gardens Park.

The project is known as "Primavera di Boboli" and is part of the arrangement settled between Gucci, The Minister of Culture, The Florence city council and the Uffizi Gallery, responsible for the maintenance of the world famous gardens, a special Gucci show "Gucci Cruise" will take place in May, 2018. The donation from Gucci will be used to restore the gardens to their original splendour and to regain its status as the Italian "Versailles" of Italy.

The 'significant' investment by Gucci has been welcomed by Dario Franceschini, the Culture Minister who hailed Fashion as an important part of Italy's cultural heritage. The project is also important as the creative director of Gucci's inspiration, cultural and aesthetic, has come from the beauty, art and cultural treasures of Florence.

The Boboli Gardens, situated behind the Pitti Palace, were originally designed by Niccolo` Pericoli in the sixteenth century for Eleonora of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I and continued by artists Ammanati, Buontalenti and Vassari. The gardens are the green heart of Florence with their historic statues, secret stories, hidden corners, water fountains, temples and ponds. The gardens are frequented by locals and tourists alike who come to admire the wonderful gardens, have picnics and to escape the busy streets especially during the summer tourist season.

Boboli Gardens Florence Pitti Palace Statue Boboli Gardens Florence Boboli Gardens Florence Italy

 

Pronto Travel/Vita Italian Tours organise private visits with our trusted local guides to the Pitti Palace and the famous Boboli Gardens. It remains a favourite destination for travellers when visiting Florence.

 

 

Read Article ▶ DA VINCI PAINTING SOLD FOR BARGAIN PRICE

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Da Vinci Painting Sold for Bargain Price. An agreement has been made between the Polish Government and the  Czartoryski family of Poland for the sale of a private world class collection of artworks, artifacts and historical items for a bargain 100 million Euro ($1.5m AUD). Negotiations took place between Adam Czartoryski, a descendent of Princess Izabela Czartoryski who built up the collection from 1802. The entire collection has an estimated worth of about 2 billion Euro.

adam-czartoryski-poland

 

 

When questioned about the low price of the sale Mr Czartoryski's response was that he wished to continue the Legacy of his ancestors who worked in the best interests of the Polish Nation. Mr Czartoryski, head of the Czartoryski family and the Foundation which looks after the collection also stated that he wanted to make a donation to Poland and as Head of the Foundation he was able to make the decision. The collection was stolen by Nazi forces during World War Two but later returned to its owners.

The collection includes a rare painting "Lady with an Ermine", one of only four portraits of women painted by Da Vinci in 1490. The painting depicts a young woman, Cecilia Gallerani from the court of Milan, the mistress of Ludovic Sforza, Duke of Milan.

 

da-vinci-lady-with-an-ermine

 

 

Apart from the Da Vinci painting, the collection contains a Rembrant "Landscape with the Good Samaritan", drawings by Renoir, Manuscripts by Chopin and Etruscan and Greek vases. The Da Vinci painting and part of the collection is currently on display in Krakow.

See more Leonardo Da Vinci Masterpieces with Vita Italian Tours with guided visits to the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence and also the last supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

 

Curious to know more?

Vita Italian Tours - Personally Guided Small Group Itineraries to Italy: Vita Italian Tours / Our Tours

Information on the Czartoryski Collection: www.czartoryski.org/museum

For more on Leonardo Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine: www.leonardodavinci.net/lady-with-an-ermine

 

 

Read Article ▶ Vespa Celebrates 70 Years!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Vespa Celebrates 70 Years! The iconic Italian scooter brand Vespa is celebrating seventy years since it was first invented!! The first Vespa or "Paperino" (Italian word for Donald Duck or Duckling), was developed in April, 1946 by Enrico Piaggio and inventor Corradino D'Ascanio in Pontedera, near Pisa, in the Tuscany Region.

Enrico, son of Rinaldo Piaggio, had grown up learning from his successful father who had established a thriving business since 1884 building aircraft, rail carriages, goods vans and truck bodies and many other forms of machinery.

Piaggio PX 125

The 2016 70th Anniversary Vespa PX 125

 

After the Second World War the family factories were flattened by both the retreating Germans and the advancing Allies. Enrico saw the urgent need for an affordable and modern form of transport which would service the masses. After a number of attempts, a prototype MP6 which had a wide central part where the rider could sit comfortably and well balanced and a narrow waist which appeared like a wasp, hence the name Vespa was designed and made.

This prototype was patented and presented to Ministry of Commerce in Florence and shortly after it was presented to the public and publicised on the cover of La Moto, 1946, production of the first Vespa was born. Production of this prototype and others exploded and by 1948 almost 20,000 were produced. Enrico took charge of testing each prototype and new models and promoted the business in Europe and around the world. He maintained interest in the product and created initiatives such as the Vespa Clubs and created service points for Vespa around the world, including America and Asia.

Roman Holiday Vespa Vintage Italy Family

The riding of a Vespa became synonymous with freedom, an agile and easy to use machine which encouraged social relationships. It became a symbol of a certain type of Italian lifestyle which made its mark on its age. In cinema it became a part of social history as popular stars of film were seen riding a Vespa such as Marcelo Mastroianni in "La Dolce Vita", Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday" and many well known stars have been linked to the scooter in photo shoots like Raquel Welch, Henry Fonda, Matt Damon, Antonio Banderas, Sting and many others.

For both Mario and Gianni of Vita Italian Tours a Vespa is their preferred mode of transport when getting to and from work at our office in Collingwood in inner city Melbourne. To ride to work each day, to beat the traffic and take advantage of its great convenience. Vespa is definitely a way of life. Here is to another 70 years for this iconic symbol, of Italy. Viva la Vespa!

Mario and Gianni Vespa

Mario & Gianni of Vita Italian Tours with their Vespa outside the Collingwood office.

 

For more information on the 70th Anniversay editions of the Piaggio Vespa

For more on the history of this famous italian icon: Vespa Our History

 

Read Article ▶ Alabaster of Volterra

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

 

Artisans of Italy Series - Alabaster of Volterra.

All over Italy, there are artisans at work making handicraft in a tradition that has been handed down for centuries. Italian artisans working with Alabaster are highly recognised, and are regarded as some of the most highly skilled artist in the world.

Volterra, Tuscany Italy

In Volterra, a small town in Tuscany, there is a long history of beautiful artistic works being made using Alabaster: a calcareous warm and luminous stone substance mined in the vicinity of the town that dates back to the time of Etruscans. The Etruscans, from the 3rd century BC made urns using Alabaster to hold the ashes of their dead. Many of these urns are now preserved and exhibited in the Guarnacci Museum in Volterra.

The art of working with Alabaster had its own second Renaissance at the end of the eighteenth century, and many workshops once again sprung up in Volterra with highly skilled artisans creating high quality sculptures and products that are admired and sold all over the world.

Alabaster Workshop Volterra  Alabaster Artisan Volterra

On our recent visit to Volterra we met and spoke with a wonderful local artisan Giuliano Ducceschi. At 87 years young, Giuliano a master artisan, has a typical workshop of a craftsman. A small room with his workbench near the doorway to maximise the light, full of white dust and surrounded by his tools and creations.

Giuliano talks about the times when there were over one hundred artisans working in the town with several apprentices. Today, however, according to Giuliano, there are only ten or so true artisans left in the city as few people want to carry on this age old tradition. He would like very much to pass on all his skills and knowledge to an apprentice but he sadly describes his work as a lost art.

Vita Italian Tours visits the fascinating town of Volterra in The Best of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche tour in September every year. Our travellers are able to experience firsthand these famous alabaster craftsman's at work in this charming and historical Tuscan hill town.

 

For more about this tour offered by Vita Italian Tours: www.vitaitaliantours.com

Information on the Tuscan town of Volterra: www.comune.volterra.pi.it/english

For more info on Alabaster production in Volterra: www.volterratur.it/en

For more about artist Giuliano Ducceschi: www.alabastriducceschi.com

 

 

Read Article ▶ Destination Urbino – The Renaissance Jewel

Friday, June 10th, 2016

RIMG7241

A panoramic view of the beautiful city of Urbino in Le Marche Region


Destination Urbino - The Renaissance Jewel - The city of Urbino is situated between the Adriatic Sea on the eastern coast of Italy and the Apennine Mountains to the west. Its proximity to other central regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Romagna make Urbino a great base to visit and explore the territories of central Italy.

Urbino is a well preserved Italian Renaissance town in the territory of Montefeltro. The city as we see it today was largely built by Duke Federico and his young wife Battista Sforza who transformed this town in the fifteenth century into a splendid example of all things Renaissance equal to Florence. Duke Federico, a condottiere, was a great warrior who commanded a huge army that fought for the popes and was paid handsomely. As well as a warrior, the Duke was a learned man, a humanist, interested in the arts and he used much of his wealth to create a centre to promote new innovations emerging at the time. During their life, Duke Federico and his wife Battista promoted a centre of learning and invited and commissioned some of the greatest architects, engineers, mathematicians, artists, sculptors and scribes of the time. The court of Urbino boasted famous architects such as the fortress builder and designer of the Ducal Palace of Urbino Luciano Luarana, Donato Bramante, appointed by Pope Julius II to build the new St Peter's Basilica in Rome, and Baldassare Castiglione, the diplomat and famous Renaissance author of 'The Book of Coutier', considered one of the most important works of the Italian Renaissance. Urbino was also the birthplace of the celebrated Renaissance painter and artist Raphael.


 

della-francesca-urbino

The famous profile portraits of Duke Federico of Urbino and his wife Battista Sforza realised by early renaissance master Piero della Francesca. Although painted in Urbino in the mid 15th century this work is now housed in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence.

 


The town today is recognised by UNESCO for its importance as a genuine example of Renaissance architecture. The town also boasts an International University of twenty four thousand students from around the world. The Ducal Palace was restored in early 1900's and has been returned to its former glory. It now houses the Galleria Nazionale Delle Marche (The National Gallery of Le Marche Region) with masterpieces by Piero della Francesca, Tiziano, Paolo Uccello and Raphael, whose family home has now been transformed into a museum.


 

Urbino Palazzo Ducale

The famous 'Torroncini' or twin towers of the Ducal Palace of Urbino which now houses the National Gallery of Le Marche.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Vita Italian Tours personally guides travellers to this marvellously preserved Renaissance centre on many of their small group tours. It is always a destination that fascinates and excites.

 

Read more about Urbino:

UNESCO: whc.unesco.org/en/list/828

Discover Italy: www.italia.it/en/travel-ideas/unesco-world-heritage-sites/urbinos-historic-center.html

Smart Phone App Urbino: www.urbinoexperience.com

 

 

Read Article ▶ Carnevale in Venice

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Carnevale in Venice, one of the world's most popular festivals is held in Italy from 23 January to 9 February. This is a time when this magical city is filled with masses of people dressed in fabulous costumes and elaborate masks attending mask parades and dancing to celebrate a great tradition of the city of Venice. The masks were used to disguise a person's identity and a way of masquerading lives of pleasure and licence.

 

Carnevale in Venice I

A theory in the meaning of 'Carnevale' is that the name is derived from the Italian "carne levare" or similar, meaning to remove meat, since meat was prohibited during lent which occurs before Easter.

The Carnival began after the success of a major battle of the 'Serenissima Repubblica' in 1162 against the Patriarch Aquileia of northern Italy. After this event people began gathering in St Marks Square for dancing and for reunions and wore masks as a disguise. In 1797 it was outlawed by the King of Austria.

 

Carnevale in Venice III Carnevale in Venice IV

It re-emerged in 1979 by the Italian Government as a tourist attraction and the masks were redeveloped by college students for the tourist trade. Masks were always a feature of the Venetian Carnival and people wore the masks for many other special feast days such as St Stephens and The Assumption in October and December respectfully. The mask makers developed their own guild and laws and held special positions in society.

Some of the popular 'Commedia dell'arte' character masks were the 'bauta' mostly worn by men and designed with an over prominent nose and a beak-like chin so that the wearer could talk, drink and eat. The mask was black and was accompanied by a black or red cape and a tricorn cap (a hat with 3 points). Colombina, a maid servant, wore a half mask only covering the eyes, nose and the upper cheeks. Her mask was brilliantly decorated in gold or silver with crystals and feathers.

 

Carnevale in Venice V

Other masks used were the' Medico della peste' with its long beak, Arlecchino, a servant who wore a colourful Harlequin costume and wore a black half mask with an ape-like nose and Pantalone representing a sad old man with an oversized nose the beak of a crow, slanted eyes and high brows which meant to signify intelligence on stage.

Vita Italian Tours and Pronto Travel organise private itineraries for travellers wishing to experience the magic of the Venetian Carnevale.

 

 

Read Article ▶ Rome’s Trevi Fountain Reopens

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

 

Rome's Trevi Fountain Reopens

 

Thursday 10 November, Rome - Rome's Trevi Fountain Reopens. After seventeen months of reconstruction at a cost of around 2.2million Euros ($2.4m), the world's most renowned icon of Rome, the Fontana di Trevi (Fountain of Trevi) has reopened to public delight. Once again the people of Rome and from around the world will be able to marvel at the wondrous 300 year old monument and enjoy its clear blue waters.

Rome based fashion giants Fendi paid for the repairs as part of their 'Fendi for Fountains' project which began the task of preserving and maintaining iconic fountains of Rome and plans to restore several other fountains of Rome.

 

Trevi Fountain Renovation

 

The Trevi Fountain was created by Italian architect Nicola Salvi after being commissioned by Pope Clement X11 in 1732.

Famous Italian director Fellini contributed to the fountains fame through his movies 'La Dolce Vita' with Anita Ekberg who wades into the fountain with an elegant black gown and 'Roman Holiday' with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Since then, people have flocked to the fountain to throw a coin over their shoulder wishing to return to Rome.

On Tuesday 3 November, the fountain was reopened and huge crowds packed the small square hugging and kissing which tradition says that they will have eternal love if they drink the waters of the fountain.

Vita Italian Tours stops at the Trevi Fountain on several of their tours for travellers to admire the marvel of the fountain and enjoy throwing their coin in the hope of returning to Rome.

 

 

Read Article ▶ Renaissance masters in Brooklyn streets

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Wednesday 29 July, Brooklyn New York - Street artist Owen Dippie pays homage to Renaissance masters in Brooklyn Streets

brooklyn-street-art-owen-dippie-jaime-rojo-07-01-15-web-11

Along a railway road in Brooklyn, New York, is not where you would expect to see a wall mural featuring references to Italian Renaissance art. But that is just what New Zealand born street artist Owen Dippie has done with his recent creation merging popular culture with Italian High Renaissance. The famous faces of 14th and 15th century artists Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello feature with the colourful masks of their namesakes the Ninja Turtles.

Renaissance Mural Brooklyn

Anyone who grew up in the 80's and 90's is no stranger to the four iconic cartoon characters of contemporary pop culture, the Ninja Turtles, who are named after Italian Renaissance masters.

 
Owen also recently blended Raphael's beautiful 'Madonna dell Granduca' with iconic street artist Keith Haring's 'Radiantbaby' in another beautiful interpretation on a Brooklyn wall which is being dubbed 'Radiant Madonna'.

brooklyn-street-art-owen-dippie-jaime-rojo-radian-maddona-07-15-web-4

Whatever your feelings are on these modern street murals, you have to agree that Dippie is successfully bringing Italian Renaissance art to a whole new generation of art lovers.

 

All photos from this article are © Jamie Rojo. Source article can be viewed at www.brooklynstreetart.com

See new photos and read scintillating interviews every day on BrooklynStreetArt.com
Follow us on Instagram @bkstreetart
Follow us on TWITTER @bkstreetart

 

 

Read Article ▶ Leonardo masterpiece in Urbino

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

La Bella Principessa I Urbino, 22 January - Leonardo masterpiece in Urbino. For the first time a portrait, attributed to the great master Leonardo da Vinci from around 1495, was displayed for a short period in the Throne Room of the Ducal Palace of Urbino in December and January.

The famous portrait is of a young woman of Milano 'Bianca Sforza'. The artwork depicts a princess, first daughter of the Duke of Milano, who died tragically at fourteen years of age. This masterpiece is called 'La Bella Principessa' and is only 33 x 29.2cm in size. It was painted with chalk and ink, black pencil, red and white pencil on parchment (or vellum). The work of art comes from a private collection and due to its delicate state has been rarely exhibited. It is currently estimated to be worth around €107 million.

Urbino is a most important city of the Renaissance with many famous artistic pieces in the National Gallery of Le Marche. The Ducal Palace of Urbino is a highlight in a number of tours conducted by Vita Italian Tours.

Vita Italian Tour Itineraries

 

Read Article ▶ Augustus Forum Rome up in lights

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Forum Augustus Rome Rome, 27 April - Forum of Augustus in Rome, will be up in lights with a spectacular night light show to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the death of Emperor Augustus.

The light show, developed using the latest technology, will use special effects, colours and music to illuminate the Forum.  The images will show daily life in ancient Rome as well as recreate the ancient temple. Augustus built the temple in honour of his great-uncle Julius Caesar following his assassination in 42BC. The images will also show the temple as it stood in Roman times, as a tall nine storey building that dominated the Forum, together with a 12m high statue of Augustus which only a few parts remain today.

The narration of the light show will be transmitted via headphones in six languages: Italian, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Japanese.

Travellers on Vita Italian Tours have the unique opportunity to see the Forum of Augustus in our popular Grand Tour of Italy.

For more information on the exhibit visit the official website: www.turismoroma.it

Read Article ▶ Contemporary art to find a home in Florence

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

contemporary art florence Florence 9 January - Italian contemporary Pop artist Pep Marchegiani calls upon the Mayor of Florence: Matteo Renzi to promote modern art in his city. He maintains that Florence, the ‘cradle of the Renaissance, must also cradle contemporary art.’

Florence has always had a reputation as the centre of the Renaissance and contemporary art has difficulty in finding a niche in the artistic world of the city. Marchegiani, 42, is known for his iconoclastic paintings and his latest work is no less affronting. He has used an interpretation of the famous Michelangelo’s David as a call for the city to join the artistic 21st Century.

Vita Italian Tours has comprehensive visits to Florence on a number of our guided tours.

 

For more information on the Pep Marchegiani and his work check out the website below:

http://www.pepmarchegiani.com/

 

Read Article ▶ Sofia hosts Raphael masterpiece

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

SCOARfin Sofia, 20 November - A favourite painting of Vita Italian Tours by Raphael of Urbino “Saint Catherine of Alexandria” has been exhibited for the first time at the National Art Gallery in the Bulgarian capital: Sofia. The painting along with several prints was exhibited in September to mark the nomination of both cities as European Capitals of Culture 2019. The European Capital of Culture is a title a city holds for one calendar year in which many cultural events are organised to promote the city internationally.

Travellers on Vita Italian Tours get the experience to see this painting and other Raphael masterpieces when visiting the National Gallery of Le Marche in the Ducal Palace of Urbino. The painting, a wonderful exponent of the Renaissance period, is one of Raphael’s early masterpieces and has been used by ‘Vita Italian Tours’ in a number of our publications.

Raphael is one of the three most important and influential artists of the Italian Renaissance together with Leonardo and, of course, Michelangelo.

Read Article ▶ Assisi fresco restoration

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Giotto frescoes Assisi, 15 March - A three year restoration of frescoes in Assisi has unveiled a faint set of initials which could prove that the paintings were the work of the medieval master: Giotto.

The frescoes, depicting Mary & the baby Jesus, St John the Baptist and St Francis adorn the walls of the chapel of St Nicholas in the Basilica of St Francis, a place of pilgrimage for centuries.

Experts who worked on the frescoes, which were damaged in an earthquake that hit Assisi in 1997, have found initials “GB” which they believe stand for Giotto di Bondone.

Giotto, considered the father of the Renaissance, was born in 1266 also painted the famous frescoes of the life of St Francis in the upper church of the Basilica of St Francis which is a World Heritage listed monument.

Vita Italian Tours have an extended stay in Assisi each year in September during the “Best of Tuscany, Umbria & Le Marche Tour” where we visit Giotto’s frescoes in the Basilica of St Francis.

Read Article ▶ Campaign to return the Mona Lisa to Florence

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Mona-Lisa cropped Florence, 5 March - More than 150,000 signatures have been collected requesting the Lourve Museum in Paris return Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Florence. The painting is generally acknowledged to be the most famous work of art in the world. It is believed that the painting is of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo: a rich Florentine merchant.

The campaign is being backed by Italy’s National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage which has requested a meeting with the French Minister of Culture, Aurelia Filippetti.

The committees’ president, Silvano Vincenti said, “I am convinced that, thanks to the ministers origins, she will not only respond positively to our request she will understand its motives”. Mr Vincenti said the return of the painting would be of “High historical value, both symbolic and moral”.

If returned the painting would hang with the other famous paintings of the Renaissance in the Uffizi gallery, which we visit with our groups on several of our Vita Italian Tours.



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