VISIT ITALY: VOLTERRA, THE CITY OF VAMPIRES

In the contemporary collective imagination, the Volturi constitute the most powerful vampire coven in the world. This association is expressed in the design of a brotherhood that the gender community has respect for. Over the centuries this reverence has given the Volturi an ambitious status of absolute power; they are the highest expression of authority among vampires, although no one has elected them.
The Roman cistern has acquired the fame of Vampire Crypt, either through the fault or thanks to the collective imagination sprung up by the fans of the Twilight Saga. The writer Stephanie Meyer wanted Volterra to be the home of the Volturi and, in the first years after the American bestseller was published, numerous readings and amateur theatrical scenes were organized in the city that saw thousands of readers from all over Italy gather.
Volterra is an ideal tourist destination for lovers of typical Tuscan landscapes, placed in a context of great importance for Italian history and art. Volterra, in fact, offers extraordinary views thanks to its location on a hill.

Do not miss the opportunity to admire, among other things, the remains of the Roman theater and the Etruscan acropolis. Discovered during the 1900s, they date back to the period in which this land was inhabited by the Tusci population. Next to the theater, dug into the natural slope of an elevation, you can admire what remains of a thermal plant, built during the third century.

And a central role in the economy of Visconti's work is played by the underground cistern of the Augustan era, the scene of that 'marriage' between Claudia Cardinale, which Visconti had also wanted in this film after Il Gattopardo, and his brother Gianni (Jean Sorel ) who awaits her in that place and reminds her that this was their home once upon a time.
The structure, one of the archaeological jewels of the city of Volterra, had been built to the east of the area of ​​the temples of the acropolis and collected rainwater, which flowed there through various pipes. The tank is very large, with a capacity of about one thousand cubic meters, and is well preserved. It dates back to the 1st century BC, is made of concrete and supplied water to the entire area of ​​the acropolis.
An exhibition, that of the Torture Museum, which lays bare the worst side of human nature: a potential executioner hides and hides in every man. An exhibition confirming the fact that, if presented with great rigor and fairness, it helps to foment a conscience in solidarity and to respect the opinion and creed of those who think differently from us, the primordial basis of the democratic systems of the modern era.
The Medici Fortress was built in 1474 - on the remains of older fortifications - exactly two years after the city of Florence had conquered the city after a bitter war to control the mines of alum, an important mineral used in the processing of textiles. Today the fortress houses a penitentiary. 
The fortress was not intended only to protect the city, but above all to keep it under control and prevent rebellions. A part of it - the easternmost sector - already existed before 1474, and constituted the oldest castle, the Cassero.
This structure, which expanded the defenses of the city, was intended to protect the area around the Porta a Selci and was completed in 1292.

			

VISIT ITALY: THE CARNIVAL OF VENICE

VISIT ITALY: BOTTICELLI, “LA PRIMAVERA”

"La Primavera" by Sandro Botticelli was performed between 1477 and 1482.
The scene is set in a shady orange grove (probably the garden of Venus, placed by mythology on the island of Cyprus) whose soil is characterized by a lawn strewn with flowers and other plant species (about five hundred species of plants) while a blue sky stands out in the background. The work should be read from right to left. The first act of the scene opens with Zephyr, the god of the spring wind blowing from the west, here depicted as a blue-green winged being, who bursts into the garden with such an impetus as to force the trees to bend. After a chase, the god reaches and grabs the nymph Clori, of whom he is in love, and possesses her with strength. The nymph is wrapped in a transparent dress and looks at him in fear. The result of this violent union is the metamorphosis of Clori into Flora, goddess of flowering and summer. the fruitful breath of the spring wind covers the bare winter vegetation with colors (Clori's breath is transformed into flowers that come out of her mouth). In the center, in a dominant and isolated position, Venus is depicted framed by a myrtle hedge (a plant sacred to her). The goddess wears a red cloak whose lapels reveal the celestial and gold-woven interior: they are the symbolic colors of Human Venus, that is, according to the humanists of the time, lady of human love, that is, moderate by the intellect, therefore distinct from purely sensual love, and capable of directing the low energies of desire towards the higher dimensions of spiritual love. From her central position, the goddess separates material senses and loves (represented on the right by Zephyr, Chloris and Flora) from spiritual values ​​(symbolized on the left by Graces and Mercury). The blindfolded son Cupid glides over Venus' head in the act of shooting an arrow towards one of the three Graces. The flame on the tip of the dart symbolizes the passion of love aroused by him. The goddess, with solemn gestures, supervises, directs and supports events. The central figure who turns his back on the viewer is the Grace towards which Cupid is pointing the arrow. She, distracted from the dance, seems to stare at Mercury who is there not far from her. The scene ends precisely with Mercury, the messenger of the gods, whose pose recalls that of Donatello's David. It can be recognized by the winged shoes and the wand held in the raised right hand.

VISIT ITALY: THE MASTER GENIUS ( DRAWINGS)

LEONARDO- LA SCAPIGLIATA
LEONARDO- CRISTO REDENTORE
LEONARDO- STUDIO DELLA MATERNITÀ
LEONARDO- LEDA DEL CIGNO
LEONARDO- UOMO VITRUVIANO
LEONARDO- TESTA DI FANCIULLA
LEONARDO-GIOVANE UOMO
LEONARDO- DISEGNI ANATOMICI
LEONARDO- IL MARTIRIO DI SAN SEBASTIANO
LEONARDO- SANT’ANNA, LA MADONNA E IL BAMBINO

VISIT ITALY: BEAUTY STARS

CANOVA- LE TRE GRAZIE
BERNINI- APOLLO E DAFNE
BERNINI- IL RATTO DI PROSERPINA
CANOVA- NINFA DORMIENTE
BERNINI- IL DAVIDE
MICHELANGELO- LA PIETÀ
MICHELANGELO- MADONNA DI BRUGES
SANMARTINO- CRISTO VELATO
MICHELANGELO- IL DAVID
CELLINI- IL CROCIFISSO
CELLINI- APOLLO E GIACINTO
MICHELANGELO- MOSÈ

VISIT ITALY: DOLOMITI

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The Tre Cime di Lavaredo in South Tyrol are the symbol of the Dolomites and a true landscape highlight in the area of ​​the 3 Peaks in the Dolomites. The 3 Peaks of Lavaredo are located in the Tre Cime Natural Park and, together with other Dolomite peaks, were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2009.
What makes them unique, however, are the shapes and colors of the rock, which erosion has carved into towers, walls and bell towers. The color that varies between gray, yellow, red and ocher makes them even more suggestive.
The foot of the Dolomite peaks, with their bizarre shapes, whitened by snow from November to May, a harmonious landscape extends, shaped by millennia of man’s work. The cultivated fields, the barns, the little churches, even normally prosaic details like the fences or the paths up here, are rich in history like the palaces, the most elegant churches and the castles.
The Dolomites – like the type of rock that characterizes them, called dolomia – are named after the French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu, to whom we owe the first studies on this particular double carbonate of calcium and magnesium, published in 1791. However, it is only in the 1864 that the name Dolomites made its appearance, thanks to the English painter and naturalist Josiah Gilbert and George Churchill, who published the report of their travels in the region with the title The Dolomite mountains, starting the now long history of tourism and mountaineering in the region.
Trentino-Alto Adige boasts the largest ski area in the world and for this reason represents for skiers, experienced or less experienced, from all over Europe and not only a true paradise framed by the majestic Dolomites. In Trentino-Alto Adige there are slopes that should be tackled at least once in a lifetime, under the sun reflected by the dazzling white desert of these mountains, with their fiery sunsets that reverberate in the cold and electric air and the deep green of the centuries-old woods. to cover their hips and their mighty breath. Here are all the most beautiful ski resorts in Trentino-Alto Adige, where you can enjoy pleasant ski weekends with the whole family, with friends or for a romantic ski week.
Sunrise and sunset in the Dolomites are truly spectacular. The sun sets fire to the Dolomite rocks that take on colors ranging from yellow to fiery red, with pink and purple hues. In Ladin this phenomenon is called “enrosadìra” – it literally means becoming pink – and it indicates the phenomenon whereby the rock of the Dolomites turns red at sunrise and sunset. But why does enrosadìra happen? The color assumed by the peaks of the Dolomites depends on the very composition of the rock, the dolomite, which contains dolomite, a compound of calcium carbonate and magnesium. This composition causes the sun’s rays to refract on the rock and give life to the characteristic pink color. This phenomenon is unique, it varies from period to period, even from one day to another, depending on the different position of the sun, the presence or absence of clouds, the clarity of the air. Obviously, to fully enjoy the beauty of enrosadìra, a real spectacle of nature, the day must not be cloudy!

VISI ITALY: TRIORA, THE TOWN OF WITCHES

Triora is a beautiful medieval village, located in the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente, perched in the splendid Argentina Valley. It owes its name to "Tria-Ora" (three mouths) indicating the three main local products (wheat, vine and chestnut)
Some women of Triora in 1588 were victims of one of the bloodiest trials for witchcraft in Liguria. Everything has been documented in the documents that are on display in the small Ethnographic and Witchcraft Museum at the beginning of the town.
The Cabotina is also worth a visit, a small building where legend has it that witches met. Visiting this ancient village is also a real pleasure for the throat. Among the typical products, the Triora bread is to be tasted: dark and homemade, prepared with flour and bran, it is part of the association of the 37 Italian breads. It is delicious spread with an ancient mountain cheese: bruss or bruzzo, ricotta fermented with herbs and spices with a slightly spicy flavor.
The ethno-historical museum of witchcraft in Triora: in the first room, the tools of ‘magical thought’ are known, with the Pio Breddo esoteric collection. In the second, the images of “Goddesses, spirits and female creatures” present in the pantheon of the accused materialize in artistic forms. In the third herbal fragrances they illustrate the phytotherapeutic skills of the “dominae herbarum”. In the fourth there is the invention of the diabolical witch and the trial of Triora with a narrator who remembers the tortures to extort confessions.
The Halloween party will take place between a monstrous game and another, to the rhythm of the music that will spread among the markets, children will go wild showing off their dark costumes and celebrating the party with dances, nursery rhymes and stories: animation, music, fashion shows and workshops. La Cabotina, the Gioco del Fuoco, the Ridda are some of the events that will animate the darkest night of the year! And for all the ghosts and hungry witches, there will be numerous refreshment points to taste the typical products of a generous land: rostelle, frisciöi, pancakes, let yourself be enchanted by these wonderful delicacies!
Magic stalls, where you can find magic potions, and skulls; sorcerer who read your future with tarot cards or by examining your hand; and again, zombies and monsters of all kinds that invade the trade of the country … In short, a large outdoor masquerade that attracts thousands of people from all over Italy every year.
This bridge crosses a tributary of the Argentina torrent and, in summer, when it thaws, it forms a splendid lake which is also very popular with swimmers. It is located in the Municipality of Molini di Triora, in the province of Imperia. A lovely place!
Unmissable stop on a trip to Triora is certainly also the Castle with the central tower and the ruins. Triora also offers some interesting churches: the church of San Dalmazzo (from whose churchyard you will enjoy a wonderful view), the rural church of San Bernardino (where you can admire the beautiful medieval frescoes) and the 17th century church of San Agostino, which houses the statuary group of the Madonna della Misericordia.

VISIT ITALY: SIRACUSA

In Syracuse, very armored sets set up in two of the most evocative places in the city: at the Neapolis archaeological park, and in particular at the Ear of Dionysus and at the Grotta dei Cordari. Then to the Maniace Castle, in the historic center of Ortigia. In addition to Harrison Ford also the female protagonist Phwoebe Waller-Bridge. Ropes, very steep wooden stairs, a chase between tunnels, even in the unique scenarios of Syracuse the archaeologist (or rather his stand-in) seems to have been put to the test. And here is that the Ear of Dionysus lends itself to being transformed into a mine, and the Maniace Castle is the heart of several scenes shot between the mainland and the sea with spectacular special effects: explosions, smoke and gunshots.
Eagle Pictures has chosen Sicily and in particular Trapani, San Vito Lo Capo, Cefalù and Syracuse to set the fifth episode of the saga. The mega production booked luxury villas and hotel rooms on the island, and of course the various services such as restaurants and drivers for the approximately 600 people working on the film. Millions of euros for traders from all over Sicily.
Pizza, pistachio desserts and almond biscuits. The most famous archaeologist of cinema lands in Sicily and chooses a bakery in Paternò, in the Catanese area, for a quick lunch. Harrison Ford, 79, arrived at Catania airport for a week of filming the new Indiana Jones in Sicily (theatrical release scheduled for July 2022). First stop in Syracuse for the Hollywood star, then by car to Cefalù where the set designers have been working for several days to give the city the image of a 1969 town.
Syracuse, a fascinating and evocative place that Cicero defined as “the most beautiful city of Magna Graecia”, bears intact the signs of its history as a cultural capital from the Greek age to the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Unesco World Heritage Site since 2005, the city stands in the setting of a suggestive natural harbor, closed to the east by the island of Ortigia and behind the Epipolis plateau.
The city preserves in every corner the testimonies of its past. Greek, Roman and Baroque styles come together in an irresistible scenario that tells millennia of history.
Starting from the ancient nucleus on the island of Ortigia, you can admire the cathedral, with its Baroque façade that rises on the peristyle of the Doric temple of Athena of the century. V BC, remodeled in the Norman era and later. Other important churches are that of San Giovanni alle Catacombe with the crypt of San Marziano, and the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia with the painting by Caravaggio "Burial of Santa Lucia"
Going around Syracuse and observing the ancient vestiges of the city is surprising. Other examples of the archaeological wealth of Syracuse can then be admired at the "Paolo Orsi" regional archaeological museum, the largest in Sicily.
Absolutely not to be missed, on the extreme tip of the islet of Ortigia, a visit to the castle of Maniace, a remarkable example of military architecture built by Frederick II in the first half of the 13th century.
Those who love nature, must go a short distance from Syracuse, in this small area, located at the southernmost tip of Italy, which has become a paradise for those who love the environment, where there are four protected areas: the Anapo valley , the Cava Grande del Cassìbile, the Pantani di Vendìcari and the river Ciane with the Saline of Syracuse.
Finally, to be able to relax by the sea, near the city you can visit the seaside resorts of Lido Arenella, Ògnina (port-canal) and Fontane Bianche.
The Reserve is located between the municipalities of Noto, Avola and Syracuse. It is a complex of soft limestone rocks, located in the low Hyblaean plateau excavated by the Cassibile river, which over time have formed steep valleys called “caves” due to the action of erosion. One of the most spectacular is the Cava Grande crossed by the Cassibile river. 10 km long and 250 meters deep, it was the site of inhabited settlements in the Paleolithic era. Eight thousand cave-like rock tombs have been excavated in the walls, dating back to between the tenth and ninth centuries. B.C.

NOMADLAND

I know you expected to see the poster for this famous movie. But I won’t show it because it’s bullshit. Nomads do not receive a pension and those are the real nomads. But the people in this movie travel because they have a monthly income that allows them to do what they want. A story written by a pensioner, and not by a true nomad! So I would like to say that yes, it is a beautiful thing to travel the world but if you are rich or have a pension you cannot go and advise others on how to survive. You are a false nomad. If you want to see the real nomads go to Mongolia instead where they can give you real advice on how to survive. It pisses me off all these people who have put themselves on a camper or van and already have money and want to believe that they survive only by traveling and selling bracelets. Come on?!!! Can we believe such fake people?
The term nomad is really overused today, and we often forget that there are people who live this lifestyle out of necessity or culture, as the only reality they have and not as a choice.

Once very many, today there are few people who still live in this way: the nomads of Mongolia are one of them. In the arid Mongolian steppes there is no room for cultivation, the main means of livelihood is livestock, and to always guarantee new pastures for the cattle, families move with their gers and their trucks, which represent all their possessions.

Living this life is not easy, there is no hot water (not even cold water to take a decent shower), no toilet, no power outlet other than solar panels for the cell phone, no fridge and no entertainment. We tried to live like this for a week and it was pretty tough. Between the food always based on the strangest meats, the lack of hygiene and the most absurd behavioral rules, nomads live a truly crazy life.
You cook on the floor, eat on the floor, sleep on the floor ... but if there is food placed on the ground and you try to climb over it, walking over it with your feet, you will hear it screaming! Nomads really eat everything: from sausages made of guts emptied of excrement, to the head of a kid with delicious eyeballs, but the most absurd thing we saw presented for dinner was a… marmot !!! Not just its meat: a marmot emptied of its entrails and used as a "pressure cooker" to cook its own meat!
Thank goodness there will be something good to drink, right? Obviously not, because what they usually drink is salty tea. Yes, salty. They are people used to riding for hours and hours, they will have a very comfortable and soft saddle ... but no, their saddles are made of wood and, in order not to miss any inconvenience, their stirrups are very short, so that you always have to ride raised from the saddle. An infinite pain. The ger is a concentrate of ancient engineering, a real portable miniature house. Once disassembled, it is transported entirely with all the furniture in a pick-up. Do you know how long it takes to assemble one? Two hours, counted.
A nomad wakes up every morning at 6, milks the cows and then accompanies the herd of sheep on horseback to pasture… then he stands there watching them for 4 to 7 hours, with a nap attached. The horses are not tied up, nor in the pens. They are left free but with the 3 legs tied by a rope, so that they can graze and move but… do not stray too far.
What we would call spoiled milk for them is a delicacy in which to dip cookies or add to soup. Nomads eat a lot, it will be to stock up for the harsh winter. And they expect you to eat the same. The problem is that grandma's delicacies aren't exactly what they offer you. And they are almost aggressive in insisting that you do an encore, forbidden to say no.
"I am proud to be born in the taiga," says Tumursukh sitting at a table in a cafe in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, a stone's throw from the offices of the Ministry of the Environment, for which he works. “My father took me there since I was a child, and he taught me to know and love her. When I left to study in the capital, I began to miss him. I waited several years before my dream came true: to be appointed by the Ministry of the Environment responsible for the protection of the Hovsgol region. So in 1987 I was able to create the first protected area and safeguard a part of the region from mining. In the 1980s, the first industries began to settle down, digging the mountain to get phosphorus. We fight to preserve our nature from this type of threat because the taiga, which is home to rare flowers, elk, bear and ibex, is precious and fragile. The government understood this and decided to keep it ”.
Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator), the capital of Mongolia with just over a million inhabitants, has become the most polluted capital in the world, surpassing Beijing and New Delhi, which both have 20 times the number of inhabitants. In December, when temperatures drop to as low as -40 degrees, air pollution levels are five times worse than in historically polluted Beijing, largely due to the number of coal stoves that poorer residents rely on.
Agence France-Presse reports that Mongols are turning to drinks like "oxygen infusions" and "lung tea" to try to strengthen their bronchial ducts and protect themselves from the polluted air they breathe every day. Advertisements for these probably ineffective drinks promise that "an oxygen cocktail is equivalent to a three-hour walk in a pristine forest" and grocery stores sell canned oxygen that they swear will turn ordinary glasses of juice into oxygen-rich cocktails.

Meanwhile, producers of so-called lung teas such as Enkhjin, Ikh Taiga and Dr. Baatar claim that their products are capable of filtering pollutants from their customers' airways. "It first removes toxins from the blood, then turns them into mucus, and then all the plants contained in the tea help strengthen the human immune system," said Baatar Chantsaldulam, CEO of Dr. Baatar.
Unfortunately, it is becoming an increasingly far-fetched prospect. Over the past 30 years, 20% of the entire population has moved to Ulaanbaatar, and many of them are displaced farmers, herders and rural residents who have come to the city to find work. They are too desperate to live in the Gobi desert, but too poor to afford housing, so they live in gers, one-room tents heated by coal stoves that can be built, or dismantled, in a couple of hours.
According to Newsweek, there are more than 180,000 gers in the city, and all that coal (or wood or trash can be burned to warm up during those freezing winters) is responsible for most of the air pollution; WHO estimates that 80 percent of Ulaanbaatar's airborne pollutants come from ger stoves, compared with 10 percent from transportation, 6 percent from power plants and 4 percent from "solid waste."

The Times reports that Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh announced in January that the transportation and use of raw coal in Ulaanbaatar will be banned after April 2019 (this has generated a lot of concern as it will cause another economic crisis among those mining, selling and transporting coal). Meanwhile, the Ulaanbaatar Clean Air project is doing what it can to help, trying to replace Ger residents' coal stoves with cleaner, more energy-efficient models. It is also trying to pressure the government to seek affordable permanent housing options for this section of the population.

"Ulaanbaatar may be the coldest capital in the world, but it doesn't have to be the most polluted," said Coralie Gevers, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia. "Improving air quality management in Ulaanbaatar and reducing pollution concentrations would prevent disease, save lives and avoid huge health costs."

VISIT ITALY: MIRAMARE CASTLE

Near Trieste, on a rocky spur overlooking the sea, stands the Miramare Castle, once the southern gate of the Austrian Empire. A place of wonders where Princess Sissi stayed during her long travels in Europe. A treasure trove of history and legend that tells the tragic story of its founder, Maximilian of Habsburg.
Here Princess Sissi saw the sea for the first time and was captivated by its beauty and impetuosity; characteristics in which the empress probably found herself.

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