Think of Italy: beautiful landscapes, incredible art, delectable wines and food. Life-changing inventions are not among the first things springing to mind, right?
Yet, incredible minds were born in the country and they all contributed to the evolution of science, technology, the art: in other words, they contributed to make the way we live today... the way it is.
Let us take a look.
One of Leonardo's drawings for a flying machine. He is also behind the invention of
the parachute (wikimedia.org)
Leonardo and his intuitions about flying
Lifeintaly has often dedicated articles to Italy's UNESCO sites (check the bottom of this page for links!): UNESCO's list is not only important because it makes the beauties of the world known, but also because sites within it are often entitled to receive financial support for their upkeeping and preservation, as cited on the UNESCO website itself.
Opera dei Puppi di Alcamo (wikimedia)
What many may not be aware of is that UNESCO does not only protect works of art and architecture or natural amenities, it also has an interest in all that is part of...
We can thank history for it
Roman soldiers entertaining tourists off a balcony of the ancient Palace of Diocletian in Split, Croatia
Once upon a time, starting from the Romans up to the glorious days of the Repubbliche Marinare, Italy was a world-dominating country: it was its culture, of course, and its flair for artistic expression and beauty, but it was also its economical and political power.
Once upon a time, Italy was known for its strength on the seas, for the excellence of its traders, for the courage of its armies... H...
The first part of this article ( Italian cities outside Italy I ) was dedicated to famous towns and cities in Europe with Italian ties because founded by the Romans and by the Savoias, the Italian royal family. We've learnt about the Roman origins of London and Paris and about how a strong Savoia influence is found in the architecture and the history of places like Nice and Chambéry.
Here, we'll focus on the vestiges of the Genoese and the Venetian hegemony upon the Thyrrenian and the Adriatic seas, and the lands overlooking them.
The sea an...
Ten Facts you may not know about Italy
The weather is getting nicer and nicer and when Summer is in the air we all feel like to read light and breezy things: here is an easy peasy piece about some (possibly) unknown facts about Italy and its people.
Art, Nature and Science
1. Italy has the highest number of beaches in Europe
You thought it was Spain? Or Greece? No. It's us. Italy has a coastline of 7400 km (4600 miles). Sandy or rocky, on the Tyrrenian, Meditteranean or Adriatic sea, Italy's beaches are a beauty to e...
An old saying maintains that Italians are a nation of poets, sailors and lovers: well, there is nothing quite as stereotyped as that, yet, even in this, one finds a grain of truth.
Italy did give birth to some of the most influential literary and artistic movements: think of Dante and Guido Cavalcanti's Dolce Stil Novo, which set literary standards in Europe for the whole of the Middle Ages, not to speak of the Renaissance, the cultural and artistic influence of which we still read and see today, in the very way we think. All of this: 100% made in Italy. Even the pa...
When it comes to culture and the arts, there is not a field in which Italy has not exercised a profound influence. From music to literature, from architecture to visual arts and sculpture, from medicine to natural sciences and technology, the history of Italy has shown the weight of the country in each of these fields.
Italy may be fighting against political instability, lack of employment and the rising of the brain drain phenomenon, but the cultural wealth of the country is still alive and very much kicking, waiting to be disc...
Italians like to play with words and there are plenty of examples out there to show us so. Proverbi, sayings, still pepper conversations and are used quite profusely by older and younger generations alike. You'll recognize some of them, as they are common in English, too. Others, you may find a bit more original.
Let's take a look at a few of the most famous!
Donne e motori Gioie e dolori. Women and motors, joy and pain
A caval donato non si guarda in bocca. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
A chi dai il dito si prende anche il...
When, in 1954, Hemingway stood in the baroque haughtiness of Piazza Galimberti, in Cuneo, he was already a famous personality in Italy and everywhere else in the world. His permanence in this algid north western piedmontese city, shaped by the Romans (it has the typical urban structure of a castrum, the ancient Romans' military camp, where all streets are perpendicular to each other), crowned by the Alps, was only a few hours long, just the time to try out something his editor in Milan, Mondadori, had raved about during their most recent meeting: cuneesi al rhum. A velvety...
Il Teatro del Mondo
Third of August 1778: it is a warm evening in Milan, but a breeze of novelty makes the air sparkle with expectation.
The iconic Teatro alla Scala, in Milan, celebrates its 238th birthday (Lorenzoclick/Flickr flic.kr/p/rfefTZ)
Young Antonio Salieri, already official composer of the imperial court in Vienna, stands alone in the middle of the stage, the fragrant scent of fresh wood parquet filling his nostrils while he breathes in the excitement for the hours to come. His shoulders to the backstage, he stares in owe...