francesca bezzone

The most traditional and beautiful tradition of them all, in Italy, is that of Gesù Bambino

Of Robins, Ornaments and Special Gift Bearers: popular Christmas Legends in Italy

This time of the year is my personal favorite: I am a child of the snow and the mountains, invigorated by the dry, crispy chill of winter, rather...
Basilica of St. Benedict - photo by atesevich

Central Italy: hope is stronger than the earthquake

Norcia: a cradle of tradition and art, a symbol of western culture, home to Saint Benedict father of monasticism and patron saint of Europe. Norcia:...
In Trentino Alto Adige on December 6th, a large number of animal-like people called Krampus runs in the streets, followed by Saint Nicholas, who protects onlookers from their violence

Beyond Presepi and Mercatini: curious Christmas traditions of Italy

That of presepe is, very likely, Italy’s best known Christmas tradition: it is popular from north to south and it is indissolubly tied to one of the...
Italian sculptor Luca della Robbia, 1399 - 1482. Credit: Chronicle/Alamy

An Unsung Genius of 15th Century Florence: Luca della Robbia

As unbelievable as it may seem, one can get used to Beauty. Try to live in a city like Florence for a bunch of years and you may end up taking even...
Vintage artwork, initial concept designed by artist Federico Seneca for Perugina in 1922. (courtesy Perugina Nestlè Italia)

Chocolate wars: what’s Italy’s real chocolate making capital?

In Italy you know Winter has finally arrived when, upon entering a café in the mid-afternoon, the comforting scent of hot chocolate and whipped cream...
The Greek Theatre is without question the most important feature for sight-seers in Taormina — Photo by samot

Where Greece and Rome once met: Taormina

If you’re an ancient history buff, or if you took Classics in college, you may remember that on one faithful day, sometimes between the 7th and the...
The Basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 30 October

The Italy we have lost: the artistic and cultural patrimony the earthquake has destroyed

Italy is a wounded country. Never, in recent years, the Bel Paese has endured so much tragedy in such a short amount of time. Black-clad still,...
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the main tourist attractions in Rome.— Photo by GekaSkr

Secret History of Italy: the Prisons of Castel Sant’Angelo

When visiting Rome, I like staying close to the Vatican: there’s something magic in seeing “il cupolone” first thing in the morning that I wouldn’t...
The Codex Purpureus Rossanensis is one of the earliest complete versions of the Gospel of Matthew and Mark and it comes with an amazingly intricate series of drawings

The Codex Purpureus: the first Illustrated book comes from Italy

We all love – or should love – books. They keep the essence of culture and help passing it on to the next generations. They tell stories: invented,...
Church of La Gran Madre in Turin, Italy. Photo by marcociannarel

Spooks in Italy: frightful Italian locations for this year’s Halloween

I’m a creature of the dark. No, nothing vampiresque or witchy in my statement, I just, quite simply, am naturally attracted to all that’s mysterious...