The following story from 19th Century Venice, Italy, is similar to the “Bluebeard” folktales from France, regarding the dangers of female curiosity about forbidden chambers and how questioning patriarchal rules can open the door of truth. This mythic jaunt takes another route about when the Devil married three sisters and how the third sister managed to rescue the other two from the fires of Hell. Italo Calvino also published another variant of this story in 1956, called Silver Nose.
Angels and Saints in Mosaic at Sicily’s Monreale Cathedral
The Cathedral at Monreale, built between 1170 and 1189, in a hilltown above Palermo, Sicily, is a masterpiece of Arab-Norman Byzantine mosaics created by craftspeople from Constantinople.
The Underworld, Rebirth and Renewal with Ceres and Proserpina
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. The following myth tells how her daughter Proserpina was abducted by the ruler of the underworld, forced to become his wife, but with Ceres’ help, she watches over the springtime growth of crops and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth or renewal.
The Ongoing Reconsideration of Pier Paolo Pasolini
Champion of the disinherited of postwar Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s masterworks prefigured his country’s fall to a consumerist Heart of Darkness, an uncompromising vision that may have led to his own wretched death. A biopic by Abel Ferrara that premiered at the Venice biennale reconstructed the last hours of the Italian film director, who was murdered in 1975.
Vittorio De Sica: The Alienated Unemployed in “Bicycle Thieves”
Bicycle Thieves (Italian: Ladri di biciclette), also known as The Bicycle Thief, is director Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the job which was to be the salvation of his young family.
Urban Farming: Nature, Art, and Society Converge
Urban farmers and gardeners around the world transform abandoned lots into edible landscapes, improving human and ecological health as well as creating beautiful places. Richard Ingersoll surveys a myriad of concepts and projects from around Europe and the United States.
Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Subversive Champion of the Disinherited
Almost forty years after his violent death, Pier Paolo Pasolini, filmmaker, poet, journalist, novelist, playwright, painter, actor, and all-around intellectual public figure, remains a subject of passionate argument. Best known for a subversive and difficult body of film work, loaded with Renaissance and Baroque iconography, he championed the disinherited and damned of postwar Italy, mingling an intellectual leftism with a fierce Franciscan Catholicism.