Sunday, August 30, 2015

Latest Discoveries: Etruscan tombs and Renaissance Frescoes

The area of Northern Lazio  continues to  surprise with the  recovery  of  treasures lost for  hundreds  and even  thousands  of years. Thanks to the determination, generosity  and professionalism  of local art historians, archeologists and  private groups who  give financial  and technical support,  many ancient sites and lost works of art have been  recently recuperated adding to  Italy's wealth of  art. 

entrance  dromos  Etruscan tomb Norchia

excavating  Norchia
   This week   Norchia (Vetralla)  and Soriano nel Cimino  are in  the spotlight. 
At the ancient Etruscan  necropolis of Norchia, in Vetralla,  an  equipe  of archeologists    and volunteers with financial support from Trust Sostratos   of  Lorenzo  Benini  completed a second  campaign of  excavations  bringing  to light  about   11 pieces  of funerary art including  painted vases and bucchero ware  datable from  the 4th to the 3rd centuries BC. 

one of the vases found in Norchia
That these treasures have escaped the pick axes  of tomb robbers  for two thousand years  is incredible in itself. The  area on which the necropolis of Norchia  sits  is privately owned (a certain Signor Stelliferi) and  will probably   become a future archeological park similar  to the nearby  privately owned Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo.    

These ceramic treasures are now being  cleaned and   restored  before   being  presented   to the public  on September  13th in the Sala Regia of Viterbo’s  Palazzo dei Priori.
Simona Sterpa  at the Soriano presentation

Simona Sterpa  is one of the  archeologists   coordinating   the  group  of  volunteers, including Luciano Proietti, Rudolfo Neri  and Mario Sanna of  Archeotuscia   who were on site  digging  by  6 a.m.  before the August sun and heat  made work impossible.

Francesca Ceci and Emanuele Ioppolo
 In Soriano nel Cimino’s historic  center   another equipe of local  art historians and  restorers  have brought back  to light part of a 16th century fresco  which had  been hidden under layers  of  white paint  in the tiny  Misericordia  church  located  in  the shadow of the imposing  Orsini Castle. A word of warning for Soriano: arrival and parking  are   difficult  due to  numerous narrow one-way streets  and hidden parking lots.   
 explaining  the newly found fresco
unveiling the fresco
crammed in to the tiny chapel

fresco fragment  of Last Judgement

sitting on the  altar

The presentation  took place yesterday in  a nearby church, then  the crowd moved over to the tiny Misericordia  chapel to watch the unveiling of the  long lost fresco.
spindle fountain where tyrant DiVico was decapitated

16th century organ still needs repair

view from Soriano over the Tiber valley

peeking inside  the Misericordia chapel

The fresco is  a represtation of the Last Judgement
 Noisy fireworks   announced the unveiling  and causing a  bit of panic (one woman  threw herself on the ground) but the rest of late afternoon  went on seamlessly with a delicious   buffet offered  to  guests  in a series of ancient  rooms with   low  beams  reminiscent of  a Venetian sottoportego
rich buffet

low ceiling with  ancient beams


For more information  about  Northern Lazio and its pleasures and happenings check out my award winning website.
 Copies  of my books about the area are available  in most museums and bookshops in the area. I mail out signed copies worldwide  every week.
Check the books page on the website  for  reviews .

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Coming up:
In September - series of Enrichment lectures for  passengers  sailing on Silverseas luxury cruise  from Venice to Dubronik and return
Visits in  USA- Buffalo, NY  and Boston areas

In October-  "I nostri castelli-veri gioelli"  illustrated presentation about the castles of N. Lazio  for Archeotuscia in Viterbo's Prefecture.
Date to be announced.   Copies  of my books will be available  at all these  happenings.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Italy's August Food Festivals and Concerts

Posters announce local food festivals in August
Sagra  in the piazza, Monte Romano
Italy, the land of great food and great music,  really earns this  reputation  during August. For the entire month  small towns and large  put on  food festivals / sagre  where trestle tables  are set up  in the main piazza and everyone enjoys  traditional food under the stars. 

The triangle   where   N. Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria   meet  is  one of the best areas  to pass  the month of August ; each town has a rich calendar of sagre  dedicated to local  dishes  and neighboring towns vie with one another to  attract tourists and  locals.
The Sagre are favored by vacationing city dwellers who delight at  the  quality/price ratio. Abundant  and genuine food  is offered at a fraction of what  it would cost to eat out in  a  big city like Rome.

Posters announcing  each town’s  sagra  are visible  on bulletin boards and walls towards the end of June, throughout July and reach the peak  for  the mid August Ferragosto holiday . 
 Check Move magazine for  complete  and up to date listings.

When you have had your fill of   grilled sausages and pasta with truffles   then you can enjoy one of the  numerous  concerts  held  in churches and castles  throughout  the  summer.  

At  the magnificent Roman amphitheatres  of  Ferento (Viterbo) and Vulci (near Montalto di Castro ) one can  sit on the original stone steps (cushions are available )  that have been in use for 2,000 years and enjoy  a concert or theatre performance.   
fresco, S.Maria Nuova, Viterbo
Ensemble Ottaviano Alberti

Evangelina Mascardi directing 
Concerts and cultural  happenings  are also held in  medieval churches and Renaissance castles which abound in  Northern Lazio.  We recently attended a magnificent concert "L'Idillio amoroso " love songs and music from the 15-16th century  in S. Maria Nuova  Church which  dates  from the year 1008!
The  castles of Vignanello, Vasanello and  Proceno  are  just a few privately owned castles where one can enjoy  candle lit concerts throughout the summer . 
The magnificent  Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola is another venue for music and concerts year round.
Use the search bar above to find more articles on these  historic  palazzi and castles. 
hosts at  Castello di Campogiordano

After a lengthy restoration the  Castello di Campogiordano  in Vetralla has now joined the list of "castello di musica"    where cultural events are held.
pre-theatre aperitivo

readings  by candlelight in the castle courtyard

Do you have a favorite sagra  or concert venue in Italy ?  Tell us about it in the comments. Feel free to share with friends by clicking on the  icons below.
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