elizabeth salthouse

Venetian wells, lifeblood of the city

Living on an island presents a number of challenges. The first priorities are food, shelter and a reliable source of drinking water. The earliest...

Madonelle, Madonnas of the Street

Crossroads and street corners have long been the haunt of peddlers, pickpockets and prostitutes. And as far back as ancient Roman times images of...

Preserving Papal hearts in Rome

The Catholic Church has a lengthy tradition of collecting relics from saints and clerics dating back almost to its beginnings. Bones, clothes or...

Celebrating New Year on March 1st

Before the unification of Italy, the peninsula was a patchwork of independent states, republics and occupied territories each one with their own...

Sicily’s storytelling traditions

Since the first days of language, humans have been passing on stories. From the sea shanties of Cornwall to the shadow puppetry of China, from the...

Venice’s mouths of truth

Venice at the height of its power conjures images of merchant traders, carnival masks and debauchery. But for all its decadence Venetian life was...

Zafferiamo – the intriguing story of Pieve’s saffron festival

Used since ancient times for cooking, cosmetics and curative properties, saffron is the wonderfully aromatic queen of spices. The Greeks used it to...

One, two, three steps to heaven

Rome’s Spanish Steps are famous around the globe. As too are Venice’s stepped bridges crossing her countless canals. And the Vatican Museum’s...

Sardinian seasilk, the world’s rarest thread

Rarer than diamonds, more expensive than platinum and found only in a few secret Sardinian sea caves, seasilk is the stuff of legend. Its long silky...

What did the Romans do for us?

Throughout history, civilizations have come and gone from the Italian peninsula, each one leaving its mark. From the Etruscans’ stonework to Greek...

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