Salvatore Di Vita

Of the many islands surrounding Venice, there is one located to the south, quite close to the shoreline of Lido. It is the island of Poveglia, referred to by some as “the island of terror.” Venetians prefer not to discuss …

For the next 27 years, slave uprisings seemed to be a thing of the past.  During this time, however, gladiator games had become one of the more popular forms of entertainment in Rome.  So much so, that a number of …

Can anyone possibly imagine an ancient Roman ship floundering in heavy seas off the coast of what is now South America?     There are some who theorize that such a ship still exists, after having been blown off course …

One Christmas day some years ago, as my family gathered around the Christmas tree, my granddaughter looked up at me and asked, “Grandpa, do you believe in Santa Claus?”  Without hesitation, I answered, “Yes … Of course I do!” I …

As if the reputation of Poveglia Island were not terrifying enough to satisfy anyone’s taste for the macabre, in 1922 government authorities had managed to add to the island’s ominous character and reputation by building an asylum for the mentally …

In the first half of this two-part discussion, we left off with the question, “How did St. Nicholas become Santa Claus?” I must answer by first explaining that the custom of gift-giving, especially to children during the Christmas Season, is …

There is something strange about the Thanksgiving holiday that sets it apart from other holidays.  Perhaps it’s the expectation of a house full of relatives and friends or the aroma of a turkey baking in the oven which contributes to …

The history of slavery dates back to a time well before the founding of Rome.  Historical records indicate that slavery had been in existence four thousand years before the birth of Christ.  In many civilizations, the use of slaves was …

Each Christmas season brings with it the telling and retelling of a familiar tale portraying the nativity of Jesus Christ.  Camouflaged within the story are vague and obscure words, concealed in the rhetoric of Christmas tradition which we allow to …

It is difficult to say exactly when vigilia d’Ognissanti or Halloween first took hold in Italy.  This spooky day seems to have floated into existence like a ghost, almost without notice.  Some sources say that it was around the 1990s …