What matters most to you? Safety of freedom? Have you ever thought about that? The story I’m going to tell you might make you discover it.
This is the story of a little parrot, lost on the edge of a very busy road where I found it. The small creature was lying on his back and looked very much under shock and not able to fly or get back in its normal position. I was hurrying to the airport but I couldn’t help to stop my car and take the bird with me.
First of all I tried to make a little house with used newspapers stapled together. Then I put inside THE MAKESHIFT HOUSE my jacket to make it soft.
The “Infiorata” in Genzano (this year date on 16/17/18 June) is historically linked to the religious celebration of Corpus Christi. The origins of this festival date back to the thirteenth century when, on occasion of the processions, petals were scattered profusely.
In 1625, in the Vatican Basilica, began the tradition of decorating the floor of the church with flowers arranged in a mosaic. This custom spread in many catholic countries. Because of the width and slope of the uphill road which hosts the floral carpet, the one in Genzano is renowned for its beauty and scenography. Throughout the centuries this fest has grown from local folk festival to an international event of art and culture.
The festival, nowadays spread over two weeks, hosts several cultural events: concerts, exhibitions, theatrical performances, handcrafts stands, fashion shows.
Every year in the first weekend of June Nemi will delight you with the Festival of the Strawberries. This event is not connected to a religious celebration but it celebrate Mother Earth and its gifts.
The inhabitants in Nemi are able to produce everything with strawberries: liquor (the famous “Fragolino di Nemi”), small tartlets with custard and strawberries, salami with strawberries, and pizza with strawberries.
During the Festival Nemi shows itself in its best shape, all the streets of the village are decorated with flowers and the most beautiful arrangment is rewarded with the “Gold Strawberrie” a jewel created by MILU’ the master jeweler of Nemi.
Most people know Frascati for the good wine, but probably you never heard about the biscuit shaped as a woman with three breasts, colled “la Pupazza Frascatana” which is as much famous.
It is prepared only with flour and honey and to enjoy it you need to wait until it has draw some humidity from the environment because just prepared is too hard to eat.
The story is very fanny. In the past times, when the women were engaged in harvesting, they left their babies to the wet nurses, and there was one of them very very good even with the most capricious babies. For this reason she was very appreciated and the mothers were in competition to obtain her services.
However, after sometimes, an incredible discovery was made: she had three breasts, two with milk and the third, fake, with good Frascati wine. And that was the secret of her success.
Once I was telling this story to a group of Canadian people during a tour, and one of them said: “That’s what every mother should need sometimes.”
Do you think the same?
Only Irish people could persuade me to go on tour in a steady drizzle, with the landscape suffering from a very low visibility. Despite all that rain Rocca di Papa was still a charming little town. And the legends of Nemi were not the least tarnished by the rain.
On the contrary the mist on the lake and this gloomy atmosphere made these ancient stories more engaging. The rain has not the least penalized the crispness of fresh-made pizza in Castel Gandolfo, eaten in the car on the way to Rocca di Papa.
And last but not least Irish people are really fantastic. Certainly rain is staple food for them.
Thanks Irish people for this unusual experience.
When you arrive in Ariccia, you’re immediatly enraptured by the scenography of the square and, probably, you don’t notice the two very normal windows that open into a small terrace just above the chemist. But if you look up, you can see the banner on the railing of the balcony, with the image of Goethe. That is the Locanda Martorelli.
The Locanda Martorelli is a historic building closely linked to the Grand Tour d’Italie. It is located in Piazza di Coorte in Ariccia.
The story begin in 1917 when Antonio Martorelli buy the building and turns it into an inn in 1920. Ever since the Inn osted many famous artists who passed for Ariccia in the context of the Grand Tour.
Started as a simple inn, slowly became a meeting poit for musicians, writers, painters who shared the experience of the Grand Tour, changing in a real academy of painting.
Among the celebrity who have stayed at the famous Inn we can remember G.M. Guglielmo Turner, Antonio Richter, G. Fedrico Overbeck, Nino Costa, Antonio Ligeti, G. Cristiano Andersen, H. Jorgen Hammer, Massimo D’Azeglio, Goethe, Orazio Vernet, Enrico Ibsen, Longfellow, Byron, and Gogol who during his stay wrote a chapter of the novel “Dead Souls”.
This great artists, who spent periods of study and resort in the Locanda, spread through their poetry and painting, the image of the Castelli Romani in the whole Europe.
The special friendship that was created between Mr Martorelli and the Polish painter Taddeo Kuntze, ispired the artist who wanted to honor his friend by decorating the inn. So, he literally covered with paintings throughout the central all of the locanda with a series of tempera wall created between 1770 and 1771 telling the whole history and mythology of the ancient Latin city of Aricia that once included also the modern towns of Genzano and Nemi.
In 1988 the Locanda Martorelli was purchased by the town of Ariccia, very carefully restored and is now used to host art exibitions.
The Grand Tour was a long trip in Continental Europe made by the rich young European Aristocrats in the Seventeenth Century and intended to perfect their knowledge. This trip could last from a few months to several years. The main destinations were France, Italy and Greece.
During the Tour, the youngs learned to know the politics, culture, arts and ancient history of the European countries. They spent their time doing sightseeings, studying and purchasing local goods.
Italy, with its heritage from ancient Rome, with its monuments, became one of the most popular destination.
Many politicians and diplomats, poets and writers, but also merchants and businessmen, mainly interested in collecting, and sometimes whole families were protagonists of the Tour.
The idea of a trip as a training tool which, by comparison, develop critical awareness, originated in England and from there spread to Continental Europe and later to America. The disposition of English culture towards the empiricism, determines the preference for direct experience instead of the dogmatism of the medieval scholastic tradition.
The term “Grand Tour” appeared for the first time in 1670 in the “Voyage of Italy, or a complete journey through Italy” of Richard Lassels.
The eighteenth century saw a boom of the Grand Tour. At the end of 1700 every respectable European man of culture must have completed at least one journey in Italy.
The countryside around Rome, and especially “Castelli Romani” were much appreciated by this host of travelers. Many of great artists who hosted in Castelli Romani stayed in the “Locanda Martorelli” in Ariccia. Among them there were G.M.Guglielmo Turner, A.Richter, G.F.Overbeck, G.C.Andersen, E.Longfellow, Ibsen, Ivanov, Corot, Stendhal, M.D’Azeglio, Taddeo Kuntze………..Until March 25th museums of Alban and Prenestini hills host the exhibition of the Grand Tour………………to be continued
The strange castle that appear on our logo is a part of the fortification of the abbey of St. Nile in Grottaferrata.
And more specifically, a tower, detached from the main body of the abbey flying out into the air.
The effect is spectacular, as indeed the whole fort.
This powerful work has been strongly supported by Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (Pope Julius II – 1443/1513).
And it was a wise decision given that throughout the XVI century the Alban and Tuscolan hills were the battleground between militias of the Colonna family and those of the papacy.
Work on the fortification of the abbey lasted almost 10 years.
You can visit free every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in Summer and at 4:00 p.m. in Winter.