The hail came first and then it turned to snow - the first time for decades that Erice, this walled medieval town in the west of Sicily, had been doused in white. I clung to door knockers, church gargoyles and crumbling stone walls. It was as though some trickster had polished the ancient cobbles with … Continue reading Sicily in the Snow
Chirps from Italy
Lovely Lampedusa and PortoM – M for Mediterranean, Migration, Memory or Militarisation?
A mural of faces in different hues of blue, green, red, yellow and white painted by Amnesty. Abandoned boats, on spare ground overlooking the port – three from Libya and two from Tunisia. A cluster of coastguard boats nestled against the harbour wall, designed to rescue people more easily from the sea. In the distance … Continue reading Lovely Lampedusa and PortoM – M for Mediterranean, Migration, Memory or Militarisation?
Palermo en route to?
My B&B is along Via Alloro, a narrow street in Palermo’s medieval quarter that winds towards the port. The room is lovely. From my balcony I can almost touch the walls of the palazzo opposite My welcoming host marks on a map the best places for street food, the gallery of Sicilian medieval art at … Continue reading Palermo en route to?
Exile to and flight from Calabria
It sounds so intriguing. A museum in a former dairy farm fitted out like the interior of an ocean liner in a remote part of Calabria in southern Italy. The curator is Gian Antonio Stella, columnist for the Corriere della Sella, well known for his writings on migration and his book, L’Orda, the Horde. La … Continue reading Exile to and flight from Calabria
Art and anarchists at Asinitas and Italy’s National Museum of Emigration
We stand in two lines facing each other in a hall in Garbatella, a garden suburb built for the working classes during the Fascist era. The hall is used by Asinitas, a charity working with migrants, that follows the enlightened methods of such educationalists as Montessori and Cemea. “Buongiorno,” we sing, orchestrated by Carolina. “Buongiorno, … Continue reading Art and anarchists at Asinitas and Italy’s National Museum of Emigration
Grafitti, pickpockets and Satanic cults in Rome
As I leave Lucca, I open up my book, Let the Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti. ‘A raunchy and satirical romp,’ says Ian Rankin. ‘Debauchery on an epic scale,’ writes Big Issue. But I’m struggling. Take the characters for a start. There’s Fabrizio, in his crumpled designer suit, who is struggling to write a best … Continue reading Grafitti, pickpockets and Satanic cults in Rome
Lovely Lucca and its hidden history of emigration
A sunset glow sweeps over the exquisite façade of San Michele in Foro, surely one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. I sip an Aperol Spritz and watch old and young negotiate the cobbled streets on clapped out bicycles. People scurry past the cafe, clutching flat, square boxes from the most popular pizzeria in … Continue reading Lovely Lucca and its hidden history of emigration
Memoria e Migrazioni at Genoa’s Galata Museo del Mare
The taxi driver stops at the end of a dark alleyway leading up from the harbour. “It isn’t safe round here,” he advises. I press the bell to the, ‘new flat on the seventh floor in the historic area of Genoa.’ The heavy, wooden door swings open and I enter a dingy but handsome hallway … Continue reading Memoria e Migrazioni at Genoa’s Galata Museo del Mare
24 hours in Turin
The taxi delivers me to the address of my B&B in Turin, an elegant Art Nouveau building near the centre of town. I scrutinise rows of brass bells but none of them are marked with a name I recognise. I delay the taxi driver, rouse a waiter in the nearby café and disturb a cleaner … Continue reading 24 hours in Turin
Prada Foundation art collection takes root in Milan – all the talk at the Venice Biennale
I meet Farah coming out of Lodi metro station. “Everybody was talking about it at the Venice Biennale,” she says adjusting her sunglasses. Prada, of course. This self-assured art curator, a Canadian of Iranian descent, was as lost as I was in this wasteland of South Milan. Then, as we turn a corner, large billboard … Continue reading Prada Foundation art collection takes root in Milan – all the talk at the Venice Biennale