General Italy Nature

Birdwatching in Italy’s Po beautiful wetlands

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. (Monet)

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. (Aristotle)

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. (Lao Tzu)



Joe Biden’s Little Secret

Did you know that Dr. Jill Biden, the new first lady, has Italian origins?

Dr. Jill Biden was born in Hammonton, N.J.. She is the granddaughter of Italian immigrant Gaetano Giacoppa, whose surname was anglicized to “Jacobs” upon his arrival to Ellis Island. He supported his family as a deliveryman in New Jersey. His son, Dr. Biden’s father Donald, began his career as a bank teller before becoming the head of a savings and loan institution in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Donald moved his family to Willow Grove, Pa., where Dr. Biden and her four younger sisters spent the majority of their childhoods.


Italy’s Po beautiful wetlands

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. (Aristotle)

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. (Lao Tzu)

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. (Monet)

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General Louisiana Siclily Traditions

Festa dei morti in Louisiana

Updated on 11/11/2020 to recognize Gasper Schiro’s contribution to the event.

Every year, on All Saints Day, the Contessa Entellina Society celebrates the Sicilian Festival of Dead at the society mausoleum in the Italian/Sicilian section of the Metairie cemetery.

For 35 years Gasper Schiro has organized the All Saints Day celebration at Metairie Cemetery. Eight Mausoleums from the late 1800s, built by Sicilian Societies in New Orleans, are in the cemetery.

Giuseppe Marsala, great grandfather of the current AIFEDSE president Charles Marsala, is one of the society’s founder in the 1880s.

Back in Italy la Festa dei Morti is celebrated on November2nd. Click here to read it by yourself.

Food General Italy Puglia Taranto

Taranto, the Italian Seafood Queen

Read Italian source

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General Italy Tourism

On the map – Civita di Bagnoregio

People come from all over the world to visit Civita di Bagnoregio, an island of golden red tufa, laying upon white  clay. Because of heavy hydro-geological erosion, tufa here turns into cleaves and badlands. The phenomenon has transformed the landscape into something reminiscent of a dantean circle, with the earth slowly crumbling, as if consumed by a slow illness.

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Contact Tracing and Christopher Columbus

The ideas behind contact tracing are very old.

Gabriele Falloppio© Wikimedia

Physicians such as the celebrated anatomist Gabriele Falloppio, chair of medicine at the University of Padua, the citadel of 16th-century medical learning, sought to understand the origins of the great pox (syphilis), using a different approach to the norm.

Instead of just relying on what the ancient and early medieval Arabic medical authorities had to say about diseases, Falloppio and other doctors sought to track the spread of this venereal disease by turning to contemporary histories, most prominently Christopher Columbus’s journals.

Read the full article at The Conversation.

General History United States

We’re toppling statues because we don’t learn enough history

Columbus statue - Boston
A statue depicting Christopher Columbus is seen with its head removed at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park on June 10, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. © Getty Images/Tim Bradbury

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition sighted land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas, and went ashore the same day, claiming it for Spain. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men.

Columbus died on May 20, 1506, without realizing that he had discovered the New World.

However, his journey kicked off centuries of exploration and exploitation on the American continents. Read more about Columbus’s life and judge for yourself.

Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait. (Behind Every Great Fortune There Is a Great Crime.) — Honoré de Balzac
Art General Italy Roma Rome

Raphael virtual tour

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General History Immigrants

America’s forgotten past: Korematsu v. United States

Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005) was an American civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
The executive order that forced Japanese-Americans from their homes also put immigrants from Italy under the watchful eye of the government. (Library of Congress photo)

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Tribute to Fallen Heroes

Watch Charles Marsala’s interview with Dorothy Childress of Wreaths, Chaplain General of The Daughters of 1812.

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General Italy Pandemic Public Health

In the midst of COVID-19 an Italian lawmaker delivers a passionate speech

Read related article

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Italy Pandemic Public Health

Italian Leader Slams ‘False COVID-19 Numbers

Italian Leader Slams ‘False COVID-19 Numbers: 25K Did Not Die, it’s a way to Impose a Dictatorship’.

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General History Pandemic Roman Empire

The Antonine Plague

A bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
Photograph: DEA/G DAagli Orti/De Agostini via Getty Images
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. The Antonine Plague, named after him, was probably caused by a strain of the smallpox virus. It’s estimated to have killed up to 5 million people, possibly including Marcus himself.
From AD166 to around AD180, repeated outbreaks occurred throughout the known world. Roman historians describe the legions being devastated, and entire towns and villages being depopulated and going to ruin. Rome itself was particularly badly affected, carts leaving the city each day piled high with dead bodies.

Learn more from The Guardian’s article.

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Baton Rouge General Immigrants Italian

Survival lesson from an Italian immigrant

Antonio Randazzo cuts Italian ham and provolone for a take-out sandwich. Photo by the Advocate staff Travis Spradling
Randazzo’s Italian Market mouth watering specialties
Randazzo’s Italian Market, a small family-owned Denham Springs restaurant and deli that sells imported meats and cheeses, was devastated in the 2016 flood.

When Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered all restaurants to close their dining rooms and only offer take-out or delivery meals in mid-March, the Randazzo’s relied on their experience from four years earlier.

Click here to read The Advocate article

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General Jazz New Orleans

The Sicilian Jazzman

Louis Prima’s music developed in the nurturing atmosphere of New Orleans’ multicultural Tremé neighborhood

Do non miss the Louis Prima’s Exibit

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General Italy Traditions

Sober Anniversary of Italy’s Liberation

Mattarella visit to Altare della patria 2020
The Italian president Sergio Mattarella pays respect to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on April 25, 2020. © la Repubblica
For the first time Italy celebrates Liberation Day without marches, public demonstrations or speeches.

Mattarella, alone and wearing a face mask, climbs the steps of the Altare della Patria in Rome, to pay respect to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. View video…

The Altare della Patria (Victor Emmanuel II National Monument) is an imposing building located in Piazza Venezia. It provides some breath-taking views of Rome. Read more…

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General Louisiana New Orleans Religion Sicily Traditions

St. Expedite

Expeditus, also known as Expedite, was said to have been a Roman centurion in Armenia who was martyred around April 303 in what is now Turkey, for converting to Christianity. Considered the patron saint of speedy cases, he is commemorated by the Catholic Church on 19 April. Source: Wikipedia

In this time of Coronavirus-caused financial stress, read Charles Marsala’s article about the origin of the Louisiana devotion to St. Expedite.

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AIFESE General

Remembering “Chuck” Anselmo, Jr.

“Chuck” Anselmo, Jr. passed away peacefully on April 13, 2020 at St. Joseph Hospice of Acadiana at the age of 79.

Originally posted on April 21, 2020, and updated on May 16, 2020, as AIFEDSE received more donations in memory of “Chuck” Anselmo.

He held numerous officer positions and won many awards in his younger years, but his most impressive accomplishments were with the American-Italian Federation of the Southeast. He was instrumental in organizing this club which consists of several southeastern states. He served as president from 1993-1997 and again from 2008-2011, and till his death served as Chairman of the Board.

Click here to view the obituary online and sign the guestbook at

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American-Italian Federation of the Southeast (P.O. Box 83332, Baton Rouge, LA, 70884-3332).
Some people have already sent money to the AIFEDSE as Memorial Contributions for E. C. “Chuck” Anselmo, Jr.

Donations in memory of E. C. Chuck Anselmo         View        Download

Donations in memory of E. C. Chuck Anselmo         View        Download

Donations in memory of E. C. Chuck Anselmo         View        Download

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Coronavirus General Roma Rome Tourism Travel

Homage to Rome . . .The Eternal City

Homage to Rome during COVID-19
Carla Gambescia’s romantic view of Rome and the Tiber river

Throughout its rich and storied history, Rome has come back from invaders and setbacks of all descriptions. The Eternal City will surely do so once again.

Read Carla Gambescia’s article.

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Art Florence General Virtual Tour

Quick Tour of Florence

Santa Maria del Fiore duomo
Santa Maria del Fiore duomo – Florence
David by Michelangelo
David at the Accademia Gallery
Giotto’s Campanile
Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio – Florence
Uffizi Gallery
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria
Civil War General Italy United States

Giuseppe Garibaldi and the American Civil War

On May 11, 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in Marsala to begin the unification of Italy as France, Spain, and Austria were seeking to conquer regions of Italy.

Garibaldi believed a unified Italy was needed to stop the taking of land from the five Italian kingdoms. By March 17, 1861 Garibaldi’s Italian mission was complete.

In September 1861 Abraham Lincoln offered Giuseppe Garibaldi a Brigadier General position. Garibaldi’s response: only if Lincoln made the war about ending slavery and made it a Major General position.

Charles Marsala Interviews John Viola on the influence of General Giuseppe Garibaldi in September 1861 to make the War of Southern Secession about ending slavery in not only America, but the Caribbean, and South America.

Watch the above interview and read the article

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Easter General Religion Traditions

Palm Sunday in Art

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Coronavirus General Italy

Coronavirus – The Situation in Italy

Post updated. It was first published on March 28, 2020.

Click here if you want to follow closely the situation in Italy.

Umberto Mucci and Charles Marsala discuss the Italian Economy & the COVID-19 Lockdown

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Coronavirus General Natural Disasters Pandemic United States

The Toilet Paper Mistery – SOLVED

As Americans were ordered to stay home and bathroom visits shifted away from work and school, the demand for toilet paper skyrocketed as people stocked their homes.

Read more …

Toilet Paper Shortage
An empty toilet paper aisle in Bloomington, Indiana. Across the country, stores have placed limits on how much toilet paper a customer can buy. © Jeremy Hogan/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

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General Health Pandemic Public Health

The untold origin story of the N95 mask

Plague mask
Copper engraving of Dr. Schnabel, a plague doctor in 17th century Rome. [Image: Wiki Commons]

The most important design object of our time was more than a century in the making. Click here to learn more…

For better protection, use parchment paper instead of a paper towel, as this Italian pharmacist explain.

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General Public Health

Deserted Cities

The added benefit of having less cars on the road is cleaner air.

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General Italy Pandemic Public Health

Virus Testing Experiment in Italian Town Appears to Have Halted COVID-19

Since the start of the outbreak, authorities have been testing and retesting each of the town’s inhabitants. The tests were performed on people whether or not they were displaying symptoms of the disease. By some reports, between a half and three-quarters of carriers in Vò Vecchio, were asymptomatic.

Read the Newsweek article on how Vò Vecchio, in northern Italy, could offer clues on to how to deal with COVID-19.

While in USA Illinois Used Nearly 50 Facilities for Low-Income Seniors in Chicago as Polling Locations for the 2020 Democratic Primaries.

While in USA, after Blowing $4.5 Trillion on Share Buybacks, Airlines, Boeing, Many Other Culprits Want Taxpayer & Fed Bailouts of their Shareholders.

While in USA an Epicenter of the Pandemic Will Be Jails and Prisons, if Inaction Continues.

While in USA Congress Passed $8.3 Billion in Emergency Coronavirus Funding, but First Responders Still Can’t Buy Masks.

While Trump blames China for pandemic, China sends medical supplies, experts to help Italy battle coronavirus.

Asleep at the wheel: Why didn’t Western politicians act quicker on Covid-19 spread?

On February 27, when the United States had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and President Trump was tamping down fears and suggesting that the virus could be seasonal, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned a small group of well-connected constituents to prepare for dire economic and societal effects of the coronavirus, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR.

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General Italian Music Italy

È primavera – Svegliatevi bambine

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Mattinata fiorentina
(Giovanni D’Anzi – Galdieri)

È primavera
Svegliatevi bambine,
Alle cascine messere Aprile fa il rubacuor.

E a tarda sera,
Madonne fiorentine,
Quante forcine si troveranno sui prati in fior.

Fiorin di noce,
C’è poca luce ma tanta pace,
Fiorin di noce, c’è poca luce.

Fiorin di brace,
Madonna Bice non nega baci,
Baciar le piace, che male c’è?

È primavera
Svegliatevi bambine
Alle cascine, messere Aprile fa il rubacuor.

Fiorin dipinto,
S’amava tanto nel quattrocento,
Fiorin dipinto, s’amava tanto.

Fiorin d’argento,
Madonna Amante, le labbra tinte,
Persin dal vento si fa baciar!

È primavera
Che festa di colori!
Madonne e fiori trionfo eterno di gioventù.


Florentine morning
(Giovanni D’Anzi – Galdieri)

It’s spring
Wake up girls,
At the farmhouses Sir April conquers hearts.

And late in the evening,
Florentine Ladies,
How many bobby pins will be found on flowering meadows.

Walnut flower,
There is little light but a lot of peace,
Walnut flower, there is little light.

Embers flower,
Lady Bice does not deny kisses,
She likes kissing, what’s wrong?

It’s spring
Wake up girls
At the farmhouses, Sir April conquers hearts.

Painted flower,
People made love so much in the fifteenth century,

Painted flower, loved himself so much.
Silver Flower,
Lady Lover, with tinted lips,
Even by the wind she gets kissed!

It’s spring
What a feast of colors!
Ladies and flowers are eternal triumph of youth.


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General Italy Solidarity

Bamberg sings “Bella Ciao” in solidarity with Italy under lockdown

Dear Italian friends in Italy. In this difficult moment for all of us, but above all for you, we care about you, and we want let you know that we are very close to you, we are very impressed and particularly moved seeing your reaction to the isolation caused by sheltering in place, while singing from the balconies of your homes.

So we decided in Bamberg, here in our Bavarian city, in this street,
to join your choir and sing for you the song of freedom for excellence, excuse me: “Bella Ciao”.

We all hope you enjoy this song. It may constitute the hymn of liberation of the virus.
A hug. Your German friends. Thank you. Let’s sing.

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Food General Italy Traditions

Pane toscano – the Italian “silly bread”

Italy’s own history of bread-making is long and rich. Etruscans, among the earliest Italians, adorned their elaborate tomb walls with banquet scenes that included the grinding of grains, some of which surely went into the making of an afterlife aquacotta – the ancient soup still eaten today, featuring a base of bread. And anyone who’s ever visited Pompeii has seen the remains of bakeries on almost every corner, most conveniently located near a wine vendor!

Bread continues to hold high rank in the culinary world of Italy. However, only six types have procured the coveted status of DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) — meaning that a product is guaranteed via strict regulation to be artisan and made with locally grown ingredients, using traditional methods.

Meet pane Toscano DOP or pane sciocco. Rustic in appearance, with flour-dusted lines laid like a topography map across its domed exterior, a nutty colored crust the hue of a sun-bronzed face, and without salt.

Legend would have it that during one of the stand-offs between medieval Pisa and Florence, the Arno River was blockaded by the Pisan army, thus cutting off salt delivery to Florence. The Florentines smugly rolled their eyes and continued to bake their bread…senza sale!

Another explanation tells us that salt, a prized commodity during the Middle Ages for its ability to preserve foods, was taxed outrageously. The regular guy could not afford it, and thus – the daily bread was made without it.

Sources: Il Consorzio di tutela Pane Toscano Dop     L’Italo-Americano

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General Pandemic Public Health

Sleepless in Seattle provides a vital service to the world

Meet the 17-Year-Old Behind a Website Tracking Coronavirus Cases


Visit the 17-year-old Avi Schiffmann’s website.

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Florida Food General Italian Miami

The 3 best Italian spots in Miami

Craving for Italian food in Miami? Click here.

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General Italy Public Health United States

Italy emerging as the new epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic

St. Peter's Square
A man wearing a mask walks in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Friday, March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The data being projected by various sources that are tracking the global statistics show that Germany, France, Spain, virtually the entire eurozone, as well as the United States, are only one to two weeks behind Italy.

The US has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

By comparison, Japan and South Korea have 12 hospital beds per 1,000, or four times the capacity.

The measures instituted in Japan and South Korea have seen the number of new cases drastically curbed.

Click here for more pictures.

Click here to view seasonal flu statistics.

Click here to learn more.

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General Immigrants New Orleans Siclily

The Sicilian Migration – From the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to the Crescent City

Display board at National Park Service in New Orleans

During March 2020 the Jean Lafitte facility of National Park Service of New Orleans is presenting information on the Sicilian Migration into New Orleans. As part of the month’s activities, on March 7th, Charles Marsala presented 60 slides in one hour on the history from 1682 to present.

Briana Cervantes of the National Park Service & Charles Marsala, President of the American-Italian Federation of the Southeast

Click on the image above to learn more.

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Civil Rights General Italy Women

March 8 in Italy – La Festa delle donne

Mimosa, the Italian symbol of International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Rights Day occurs on March 8th each year to remember both the social, economic and political achievements and the discrimination and violence that women have been and are still subject to in almost all parts of the world.

Click here to learn more.

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The Italians of Lake Village Arkansas & Sunnyside Plantation

Pasta chefs and descendants of the 1895 migration.

The Sunnyside Plantation was a cotton plantation near Lake Village in Chicot County, Arkansas, in the Arkansas Delta region. Built as a cotton plantation in the Antebellum South, by 1886, it was acquired by New York banker Austin Corbin as repayment of debt incurred by Calhoun.

In 1895 Austin Corbin, a New York banker and land developer, working with immigration officials, brought 100 families from north central Italy to grow cotton at Sunnyside, a plantation located between the Mississippi river and lake Chicot.

These Italians struggled against exploitation, prejudice and language barriers, and many died of malaria and other lowland diseases.

Today over 1,000,000 American-Italians can claim a connection to Sunnyside Plantation.

Read the Sicily Journal article

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Trailer (New)
Entertainment General Italy Naples

My brilliant friend returns on March 16, 2020

Available Mon, Mar 16 at 9:00pm CT on HBO GO and HBO NOW

Lila and Lenú’s friendship strains and strengthens in the new trailer for Season Two of My Brilliant Friend, based on the second book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, The Story of a New Name.

The new trailer opens with a harrowing scene in which Lenú (Margherita Mazzucco) pays her first visit to Lila (Gaia Girace) following the latter’s honeymoon with her new husband Stefano (Giovanni Amura). After answering the door with sunglasses on, Lila removes them to reveal a black eye and tells Lenú, ”I’ve been wrong about everything.”

From there, the clip teases the ways the two friends’ lives diverge while never fully splitting. As Lenú excels in school and begins to see a path out of their small Naples neighborhood, Lila bucks against an increasingly abusive and overbearing Stefano while trying to find ways to assert her own freedom.

Read the New York Times review of Season One. “My Brilliant Friend” can feel as if you’re watching a lost postwar Italian film about postwar Italy.

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General History Italy

Remembering the Foibe in Italy

Aftermath of a massacre, Labin, December 1943
Aftermath of a massacre (Labin, December 1943)
Source: ANPI – Roma – Italian National Partisans Association

February 10th is the Day of Remembrance in Italy.

The purpose of the Day of Remembrance is to preserve and renew “the memory of the tragedy of the Italians and of all the victims of the sinkholes, the exodus of the Istrians, the Rijeks and the Dalmatians Italians from their lands during the Second World War and in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War (1943-1945), and of the more complex story of the eastern border” .

Remembrance day: what it is and why it is celebrated on February 10th

Foibe massacres

Foibe seats
Foibe locations – Source: wikipedia

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General Homelessness Italy Poverty Roma Rome Vatican

Pope Francis’s Palace Of The Poor

A noble palace, a few meters from San Pietro, made available by the Pope to the homeless.

It seemed destined to become a luxury hotel, but Francesco wanted to make it available to the homeless.
The Community of Sant’Egidio manages it.

The 19th century Palazzo Migliori (left) is situated on prime real estate near St. Peter’s Square. The colonnade encircling the square can be seen at right. Sylvia Poggioli/NPR

Read Silvia Poggioli’s article.

Read the article.

Read the CORRIERE DELLA SERA’s article.

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General History Roma Romans Rome

The Roman aqueducts – an ancient marvel that humbles the modern world

Among the largest and most striking works left by the Romans, the aqueducts were designed in Rome in the 5th century. B.C. because the water supply of Rome, which until then had relied on the Tiber or the wells, was no longer sufficient. Rome was being transformed into the largest metropolis of all Antiquity and beyond, so it was decided to build an aqueduct that connected a source and brought fresh water to the city. The first aqueduct was the Aqua Appia, built in 312 BC. at the behest of the Consul Appio Claudio, the same who gave the name to the famous Via Appia. Over the years, other larger aqueducts were built. In total there were twenty-four aqueducts, which transported over 1 million cubic meters of water every day, covering a total of over 400 km of pipelines.

English Transcript

[responsivevoice responsivevoice_button buttontext=” ” voice=”UK English Female”]Trajan had contributed to making Rome the most sophisticated city in the world. There were all the comforts that a man could desire and, unique in the world, his network of aqueducts. The Roman aqueducts were unrivaled, they were able to bring pure water directly to the homes of a million citizens.

Every day something like 900 million liters of water arrived in the city traveling through the provinces of the empire along impressive arched buildings, some of which are still visible today, an absolutely avant-garde system, which would no longer be overcome for centuries and centuries.

Rome was a very hot city and this convinced its emperors to strive to equip it daily with an adequate supply of water. And for this reason it is so rich in fountains. In those days, every patrician house had one.

Many scientists of the time thoroughly analyzed the water. Vitruvius had the idea of ​​boiling it and analyzing its debris. He considered the contaminations of the different types of soil and studied with obstinate passion all the plants that lived in contact with water, from the joints to the reeds, from far away to the papyrus.

During the empire of Trajan a commission was set up that dealt exclusively with the water supply, led by the engineer Frontino. Frontino, Trajan’s engineer specialized in aqueducts, was a very meticulous man. He wrote a detailed work on his activity, and it is thanks to the written one that we now know everything about the Roman aqueducts.
Scholars have already discovered long ago that the Romans did not take water from the Tiber river, but from the hilly springs. Since the water came from above, it could be easily channeled and flow downstream.

Gradually the Roman engineers gained enormous experience which allowed them to overcome any obstacle. A water network of tunnels and aqueducts 416 km long was built.

The construction work began with an in-depth study of the slope, in order to determine the right inclination of the aqueduct. Before entering the pipes, the water passed through special purification tanks. Here the flow was slowed down so that impurities were deposited on the bottom. During its journey, several kilometers from the hills surrounding Rome to the center of the city, water could pass through tunnels like this.

There were many similar galleries dug almost everywhere around the capital. The aqueducts of the time were built so well that many of them are still in operation today.
Roman engineers used a particular technique: they dug a well every 32 meters as the conduit proceeded through the hill. This allowed them to keep under control the inclination of the tunnel by measuring it with the plumb line, but when the duct came out of the hill, in addition to making it maintain the right slope, it had to be supported.
For this reason, stone walls were built to support him during his long journey to the city.

There was another problem, however: the conduit often had to travel several meters above the ground. In that case, the construction of a retaining wall was too expensive.
The solution was the arch. This is a very classic semicircular Roman arch, it is more than 5 meters wide and is built with stone blocks. There are 27 of them along the arch.
The engineers used a formwork, a wooden structure on which they assembled the arch. Once the stones were placed, which were wedged together, they applied cement and continued construction to the top. When the central stone was in its place, the wooden frame could be removed.

The arch built with blocks of stone cut to size and wedged between them supported itself, unloading its weight on the base. At that point the bulk of the work was done.
Now the aqueducts could cross the wider valleys, however the arched structure still seemed rather fragile and a way was studied to make it more solid. The problem of stability had already arisen when the aqueduct had to cross a river, and had been solved with special stone blocks, which diverted the current, but too high an arch could become unstable.

That’s why the Romans set the maximum height of an arch on 21 meters. To build other taller aqueducts, orders of arches were superimposed on that which rested on the ground. One of them, built with three orders of arches, reached 55 meters.

The need arose to give a watertight seal to the aqueduct. Thus a waterproof cement was discovered with which the walls of the duct were coated, a material composed of a particular volcanic sand mixed with lime, which guaranteed a perfect seal.

This is the conduit that transported water to ancient Rome. It had an extraordinary flow, in its time it sent hundreds of millions of liters of water into the city every day, and the special material with which it was coated made it waterproof throughout its length.

But why build these colossal architectures instead of using a simple pipe? Of course the Romans could have transported the water to the city through a system of pipes, which unraveled on the surface, but the pressure inside the pipes would have been a big problem. For this reason, they went down to gently lower the water downstream into aqueducts like this. It’s a brilliant idea, a brilliant way of solving the problem. However the conduit was covered and this prevented the water from evaporating and being contaminated.

In any case, passing an aqueduct through a deep valley, a crevasse, was expensive. That is why many cisterns were built. The water was channeled into special pipes and came out on the other side thanks to the pressure. This is the pipe that comes from the first part of the aqueduct. The water descends into the valley and then rises towards a cistern, from where it is conveyed to the next branch of the aqueduct.

Once in Rome the water ended up in three different tanks. The first was reserved for ordinary needs, the second for public toilets, and the third for private houses that paid a special tax. The money from that tax was used to finance the public water supply.

The control of the water supply gave each emperor confirmation that the life of its citizens was in his hands. Trajan had given his subjects an arena a new forum, a shopping center and a regular supply of water.[/responsivevoice]

See also “Amazing Ancient Roman Concrete”.

Compare to today’s water infrastructure.

Italian phrase of the day
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Sicilian Jazz Marker Dedicated in New Orleans

Sicilian Jazz Marker
Left to right: Frank Maselli, ….., Charles Marsala, ….. Lavon Berthelot, Glen Miller, Dana Cusimano Farley, Claudia Abramowitz, Sal Serio, in front of the Sicilian Jazz Marker in New Orleans.

Click on the image above for details on the celebration.

Italian phrase of the day
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Apulia General Italy Puglia Taranto Traditions

Tarantella – The night of the tarantula dance

[responsivevoice responsivevoice_button buttontext=” ” voice=”Italian Male”]Poi ci sono altre tradizioni, tradizioni a livello di feste in tutto il Salento, feste civili e religiose, e una di queste è davvero speciale e vi accoglie, vi avvolge con un ritmo travolgente di tamburelli.

È la notte della taranta. Si svolge verso la fine dell’estate in un piccolo paese, Melpignano, e la sua tradizione non è solo un momento di festa, è qualcosa di più, qualcosa che affonda nel tempo le sue radici più profonde.

Il tarantismo infatti, più che una danza, è un rito, un rito di danza e musica che si effttuava in varie parti del Salento.

Con questo rito si soccorrevano delle persone, quasi sempre donne, colpite da un malessere interiore che potremmo paragonare a un odierno disagio sociale, una infelicità legata alle condizioni di vita di allora molto spesso dure, il malessere però che le credenze popolari attribuivano al morso di un ragno, la tarantola.

Il ciclo di guarigione attraverso la pizzica si concludeva a Galatina, nel giorno della festa di San Paolo, di fronte alla chiesa dedicata al santo.

La pizzica fa parte della famiglia delle tarantelle. È un tipo di danza che come vuole la tradizione libererebbe da ansia e da paura chi la balla, ma questo … è troppo riduttivo dare questa spiegazione.

In realtà la pizzica è qualcosa di molto più complesso, deriva da tradizioni, culture del passato e comunità del passato. Quindi in realtà per affrontare il significato della pizzica bisogna entrare in territori molto più ampi, legati alla sociologia, all’antropologia, esattamente come ha fatto per esempio in passato l’antropologo Ernesto De Martino.

Quella che state vedendo e ascoltando è la pizzica di Luigi Stifani che prende il nome dal barbiere che viveva a Nardò, in provincia di Lecce, con il pizzico del suo violino accurato, tante tante tarantate.

C’è da dire che oggi la pizzica, sia nel ballo che nella musica, si propone a volte in modo diverso, con nuove forme di espressione artistica, e lascia la porta aperta anche a delle contaminazioni.

Tra passato e presente il ritmo ancestrale della pizzica continua a coinvolgere sempre a rallegrare e a liberare dal malessere chi ne prende parte.

Ed è proprio una sensazione di leggerezza, di armonia, di piacere dell’anima quella che si prova quando si passeggia per i vicoli di Lecce, si ammirano le sue bellezze, ma anche tutte le meraviglie del Salento.[/responsivevoice]
[responsivevoice responsivevoice_button buttontext=” ” voice=”UK English Female”]Then there are other traditions, traditions at the level of festivals throughout Salento, civil and religious festivals, and one of these is truly special and welcomes you, envelops you with an overwhelming rhythm of tambourines.

It is the night of the taranta. It takes place towards the end of summer in a small town, Melpignano, and its tradition is not just a moment of celebration, it is something more, something that has its deepest roots over time.

In fact, tarantism, rather than a dance, is a rite, a dance and music rite that took place in various parts of Salento.

With this ritual people were rescued, almost always women, affected by an internal malaise that we could compare to today’s social unease, an unhappiness linked to the conditions of life then very often hard, but the malaise that popular beliefs attributed to the bite of a spider, the tarantula.

The healing cycle through the pizzica ended in Galatina, on the day of the feast of San Paolo, in front of the church dedicated to the saint.

The pizzica is part of the tarantelle family. It is a type of dance that, as tradition dictates, would release those who dance it from anxiety and fear, but this … it is too reductive to give this explanation.

In reality, pizzica is something much more complex, it derives from traditions, cultures of the past and communities of the past. So in reality to deal with the meaning of the pizzica you have to enter much wider territories, related to sociology, to anthropology, exactly as the anthropologist Ernesto De Martino did for example in the past.

What you are seeing and listening is the pizzica of Luigi Stifani which takes its name from the barber who lived in Nardò, in the province of Lecce, with the pinch of his accurate violin, many many tarantate.

It must be said that today the pizzica, both in dance and in music, is sometimes proposed in a different way, with new forms of artistic expression, and leaves the door open also to contamination.

Between the past and the present, the ancestral rhythm of the pizzica continues to always involve cheering up and freeing those who take part from it.

And it is really a feeling of lightness, harmony, pleasure of the soul that you feel when walking through the alleys of Lecce, you can admire its beauties, but also all the wonders of Salento.[/responsivevoice]
Meraviglie - La penisola dei tesori
                        Alberto Angela

Italian phrase of the day
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General Immigrants New Orleans

The Rise of New Orleans Spaghetti District

The intersection of Decatur St. and the corner St. Philip, was considered the epicenter of the Sicilian Quarter at the turn of the century. Courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum

Click here to read the article Justin A. Nystrom wrote.

Italian phrase of the day
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Art Florence General Tourism Travel

Florence – 10 legendary places to visit

Photos © 2018 / The Times-Picayune

Click here to read the article

Click here for more details on the Duomo di Firenze
The gates of paradise
Click here for more details on the gates of paradise in the Battistero di San Giovanni

Italian phrase of the day
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Art General Impressionism Italy Venice

Venice as seen by the greatest impressionists


Read Carla Gambescia’s romanticed view of Venice

Italian phrase of the day
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Art General Italy Sicily Tourism Travel

Caltagirone, a Baroque jewel

Caltagirone Baroque Tour
Caltagirone San Francesco
A beautiful view of Caltagirone’s San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata (Copyright: Dreamstime)

Click on the image above to read L’Italo-Americano article.

Italian phrase of the day
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General Italy Sicily

Sambuca – where homes sell for the price of an espresso

A view of the village of Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy.

Can selling its homes for the price of an espresso save this Sicilian town?
Click on the image to find more …
Sambuca - Sicilia
Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy.
Sambuca - Sicily

Italian phrase of the day

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Food General Italy

The Italian orange soda – Fanta

Fanta Bottles
Retro bottles released by Coca-Cola for Fanta’s 75th anniversary. Photo from SKopp, cropped from the original, CC BY 4.0.

The orange Fanta of today was produced for the first time in Italy, in Naples, in 1955, when a local bottling plant started producing it using locally sourced oranges.

In reality it was created for Nazi Germany.

Click here to read the full article.

Italian phrase of the day

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Art Environment Floods General Italy Veneto Venice

Venice under water

St. Mark’s Square flooded
Famous spots like St. Mark’s Square were under several feet of water. The crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica was flooded.Credit…Marco Bertorello/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica
The crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica was flooded by more than three feet of water. Photo by Manuel Silvestri/Reuters
Hotel Paganelli in Venice
Using a makeshift bridge to exit a hotel on Wednesday. Photo by Marco Bertorello/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Contrast all this with beauty that Carla Gambescia’s article reminds us.

Photo by Carla Gambescia
Photo by Carla Gambescia

The text below is a translation of the article on November 14, 2019.

A masterpiece of art, history and spirituality is in grave danger, Venice is flooded. The situation is still at risk, the tide arrived yesterday at 187cm. Piazza San Marco World Heritage Site and the Basilica of San Marco, jewel of Venice are threatened. The salt water entered the Basilica putting the Crypt and the whole church at risk. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted in Pellestrina due to a short circuit. Electricity outlets are water fountains, hotel bars and restaurants as well as shops and houses submerged by water.

The siren anticipated a nightmare night yesterday. Record high water in Venice has reached 187 centimeters and with winds of 100 km / h, high water of this magnitude has not been seen since 1966. In the lagoon they expect the three days of high tide with effects on the city still unpredictable .

The crypt has been submerged by more than a meter of water, so many are the infiltrations and damages that also affect the structures and therefore the foundations of the Basilica. In addition to the Basilica of San Marco, Cà Pesaro and the La Fenice theater were hit.

The mayor is preparing the request for a state of crisis and declares that for the Marcian basilica “we have been a hair’s breadth from the disaster”. Also the general secretary of the Mibact declares that the situation is “complex and worrying”.

Prime Minister Conte has visited the city noting the serious damage entering the Basilica. Now they expect three days of high tide, as usual. These exceptional events added the bora wind and the sirocco wind that joined together to create rough seas in the lagoon and waves at Piazza San Marco.

The damage count is still difficult while the Centro Maree itself has been hit by the storm that has also damaged the telephone lines. It is feared that the high water inside the Basilica of San Marco could compromise its structure and that the materials could flourish. The situation is particularly dangerous not for the interior furnishings, but rather because the water could give static problems to the columns that support the Basilica.

Albania General History New Orleans

The Albanians (Arberesh) of New Orleans

As published on the Contessa Entellina Society website

Italian phrase of the day
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Art General Italy

Orvieto – Gothic Treasure in Umbria

Orvieto Cathedral Facade
Orvieto Cathedral Facade – Carla Gambescia
Click on the image above to read the article
Tour of the Cathedral exterior
Tour of the San Brizio Chapel
General Italy Tourism Travel Veneto

Three enchanting sisters in the Dolomites

Tre cime di Lavaredo - Dolomiti
The three Cime di Lavaredo: in the center Cima grande (2.999 meters), Cima Piccola (2.857 meters) and Cima Ovest (2.973 meters)

Click on the image for the original article

From the vogue in the lagoon to the peaks of the Eastern Alps. Crossed early in the Veneto region, I reach the province of Belluno entering the heart of Cadore until I cool off with the waters of Lake Misurina (1752 m asl). The call of the Dolomites, World Heritage of Humanity, is more intense than ever. I’m ready. Decided. Inspired. Three special friends are waiting for me. Three fingers of rock.

Their name is famous throughout the world: the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The departure is in the name of comfort, destination Auronzo Refuge (2320 meters above sea level).

Although the first part of the journey passes through a wooded area, it would still end up on the main access road where cars (after toll) and the more practical Dolomiti Bus pass, on which I choose to sit. The road is all paved. Gradually it becomes steeper. Meet some cow. There is also a sign indicating the possible transit. Go up along wide bends. Imitating the gesture of the logorroic hostess Claire (Kirsten Dunst) of Elizabethtown (2005, by Cameron Crowe) mime with her hands (and sound) the gesture of a photo shoot.

Rifugio di Lavaredo - Dolomiti
Rifugio di Lavaredo (Ph. C. Luca Ferrari)

Seven km after leaving the lake shores, I dismount at the foot of the Auronzo Refuge, belonging to the Cadorina del Cai Section (Italian Alpine Club), located under the southern walls of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Start the walk. First stop, the Lavaredo refuge (2344 m.). The sky is cool blue. More than a trip, it’s a flat-level walk. Wisps of green grass spit out between the raw rock. Together with them, small yellow spots of “gold buttons” compete with the sun. Step by step, the typical greetings between day trippers multiply. Before reaching the refuge (a total of about twenty minutes), here is the small church of the Madonna della Croda built in memory of the 12th Bersaglieri Battalion. People stop. There are those who are curious.

Rifugio Auronzo - Dolomiti
Rifugio Auronzo (Ph. C. Luca Ferrari)

Who says a prayer. A few meters further on there is a plaque in memory of Paul Grohmann (1838-1908), an Austrian mountaineer who conquered many peaks including the Marmolada, the Queen of the Dolomites, in 1864. Once this is over, here is the Lavaredo, positioned at sheltered from the homonymous fork and built in 1954 by the mountain guide Francesco Corte Colò “Mazzetta”, a pioneer of relief work on the wall in Tre Cime and one of the founders of the Alpine Rescue of Auronzo.

I continue following the indication for the A. Locatelli refuge on the path 101, still a little on the plain. Then attack the climb. The sun beats down. Trekking shoes advance over gravel. It is effort. We proceed slowly without overdoing it. Next up to a sort of small plateau, which reaches the wonder of wonders. Behind me there are the three Alpine sisters most loved by Venetian hikers (and not only).

Church of Madonna della Misericordia - Dolomiti
Church of the Madonna della Misericordia (Ph. C. Luca Ferrari)

Three fingers in dolomite facing the sky. They are the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen in German), an ancient war front of World War I. The highest is Cima Grande, central (2.999 m). At its side Cima Piccola (2.857 m) and Cima Ovest (2.973 m). Despite being summer, there where the shadow rages without giving confidence to the sun’s rays, the snow resists. A giant slab gives the children an unthinkable and refreshing throwing game of balls.

I continue. There is a small slope, sometimes slippery. The path is still safe. Start an up and down. The landscape is increasingly imposing. My eyes keep turning to look for “those three” and aim at them. Establishing sweetly rarefied dialogues. And they, millennial giants, silent guardians of stories, anecdotes and secrets, respond with enchantment.

I leave a noisy group to overcome me. I see the Locatelli (2450 m) in the distance. Today it can wait. Today he can do without me. I remain alone. Here. Society, hope you’re not lonely without me …

Food General New Orleans

New Orleans must-eat checklist

Central Grocery muffuletta
Bevi Peacemaker
Bevi Seafood Co. Peacemaker po’boy
Dragos Oysters
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant charbroiled oysters
Click on the images above to read the full article
General Immigrants Italy United States

How Italians Became ‘White’ by The New York Times

How The Italians Became White
Newly arrived Italians waiting to be processed at Ellis Island around 1905.
Photograph by Lewis Hine, via Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Click on the image above to read The New York Times article

Click here for the pdf version of Charles Marsala’s response

or read Charles Marsala’s response directly

Columbus Day General

Trump proclaims the second Monday of October of each year as “Columbus Day”

Italy Tourism Traditions Travel

Ten things Americans love about Italy

Archeology Basilicata Italy Matera Tourism Travel

Miracle in Matera

“Anyone who sees Matera cannot help but be awe-struck, so expressive and touching is its sorrowful beauty” — Italian author Carlo Levi

Click on the image above to read Carla Gambescia’s article

Click here for another article
…and another one…