A rich schedule to celebrate Christmas in Ferrara (Emilia Romagna, Italy): markets, lights, shows and many events for kids, in a joyful atmosphere. During holidays, the centre of Ferrara livens up thanks to funny and traditional events which transform the rigorous aspect of the Renaissance city in an immense open stage for the amusement of both adults and children. The lighting of the suggestive illuminations and of the big Christmas Tree in the church square of Piazza Cattedrale at the beginning of December is welcomed by an appreciated ceremony which inaugurates holidays, Christmas shopping and fun.

Street markets, music events, games for children and travelling choirs welcome visitors during Christmas and New Year’s Day Holidays. Santas liven up the squares of the city with funny shows and small booths sell mulled wine, chestnuts and hot chocolate.  At the street corners, in the churches and in the squares Christmas cribs propose the scene of Nativity in original versions to be admired. The most appreciated one is the Crib on the Water, mounted on Christmas Eve by the Underwater Group of Ferrara in the landing stage of the Estense Castle.

The setting up of the new Christmas Tree is about one of the central themes of Holiday events in Ferrara: sustainability. From 2016, in fact,  Christmas and New Year’s programme has gained the ISO 20121 certification as a Sustainable Event. In front of the Cathedral, with its scenic cover designed by Lorenzo Cutuli, a 16-meters tree donated by the town of Lizzano in Belvedere will be decorated with an inspiration about “recycle”. The lighting of the tree, with a real light cascade, will begin with a show by high school pupils, who will perform dance and music.

Dancing Fountains show will be performed with live music in Piazza Castello, with the Philarmonic Band Ludovico Ariosto – città di Ferrara, with more than 45 members, directed by M° Stefano Caleffi.  The famous “listone”, in Piazza Trento Trieste, will turn into a Christmas Market for tourists and citizens during the festivity period, with arts and crafts, typical products,  and Christmas gifts. To stay updated, it is possible to follow their profile: @festadelregalo and the hashtags: #festadelregalo and #festadelregaloferrara.

Every year, a unique New Year’s Day provided with spectacular scenarios which attracts large numbers of visitors is organized in the great Piazza del Castello in Ferrara. The party begins with the concert of international bands and singers which attracts thousand of visitors every year. At midnight is the fascinating show of the “Fire of the Castle”: from the towers of the historic residence of the Estensi family guests can admire gold, silver and colourful jets and the Castle gradually transforms into a great red, gold and silver fire, a suggestive and unforgettable show which takes visitors’ breath away. And then music, balls, panettone, sparkling white wine and mulled wine.

Ferrara 1





Following my post “From Malatesta Temple to Augustus arch and bridge: great monuments in Rimini, Italy”, Doralynn Pines (from USA) sent me an interesting comment at my LinkedIn account – (“Medieval and Renaissance Art, Antiques, Architecture, Archaeology, History and Music” group).

Doralynn Pines – as Associate Director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York she served as Administrator for all departments reporting to the Director –  commented: “Wonderful images.  I was always fascinated by the Malatesta heraldic symbol which looks like a dollar sign long before there was anything like a dollar sign.  I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but I believe that Rimini was the site of Fellini’s wonderful movie, Amarcord.  And there are beautiful scenes of the town.”

Doralynn comment is really intriguing. So, let’s have a detailed view on Sigismondo Malatesta heraldic symbols we admire at Malatesta Temple in Rimini.    Yes, they incredibly look like dollar signs… The debate is open…




Bilbao (Basque region, Spain) is one of the most amazing cities of Europe. It had the courage to develop itself in a new identity based on culture and art. I had the pleasure to visit it a few years ago. And I was really astonished by a city where I had the sensation to walk in the future and in the past in the same time.

Its 700 years history can be seen in its buildings and constructions. The old town is an Historic-Artistic Monument and a reference point for reconstructing the city’s history from its beginnings. It is an example of urban regeneration, with more than 400 shops of all kinds. The city centre is an example of the best 20th century architecture, with buildings that have been housing the main institutions and companies in Bilbao for more than a hundred years. It is an outstanding architectural site, always designed by the best local architects. 

Nonetheless, the city continues to expand: alongside the skill of local architects, the top international firms are represented with works by Foster, Gehry, Calatrava, Isozaki, Pelli… I visited the incredible Guggenheim Museum, where I saw nice art installations and masterpieces (see the next second part of the post). Along the “Gran Via”, in the city centre, I admired a beautiful “open air” exhibition of seven Rodin sculptures, with the famous “Thinker”. In Bilbao culture and art become life. Despite the social problems of the region (autonomist movements), people are really friendly – but don’t call them “Spanish”, they are “Basques” – and conscious to be and to live in a city which walks in the future.



 Lenno (Lake Como, Italy): one of the masterpieces created by the great Slovenian artist

1st PART

 An extension of 50 square meters. Almost 20 thousand colored stones and glasses tiles. These numbers summarized an extraordinary artwork: the mosaic that Slovenian artist Marko Rupnik has created on the walls of the chapel of Suore Adoratrici at the Spirituality Center in Lenno ( Lake Como, Italy). Rupnik’s work – articulated in the scenes of the Nativity and Moses salvation – is a veritable feast of colors conceived, designed and made with meticulous care, great creativity and exceptional talent. Each little stone, every color and every hue are referring to spiritual, religious, cultural and social meanings.

They are mixed and fused in a fascinating tale that brings together two distinct stories – Moses saved from the waters and the Birth of Jesus – in an unique and impressive performance. Marko Rupnik mosaic is not only an incredible artwork, but also and above all an expression of the mystery, whose basic theological idea is this: as the matter changes if it is illuminated by natural light, so human heart may do wonders if it is opened to the Light.

The work was completed in five days during June 2007. Marko Rupnik lead a 11 persons team from different nationalities, formed and supported by competent people who deal with theological, symbolic, historical, iconographic and artistic point of view about the images to create. The harmony we admire in the mosaic is also the result of the fraternity that artists lived together, respecting single diversity and identity. While each artist composed his mosaic’s part, silence prevailed. Each artist has to dialogue with the stones. And the stones answer, obey and communicate with heart’s artist.

Roberto Alborghetti

(1 – To be continued)


Marko Ivan Rupnik was born November 28, 1954 in Zadlog, Slovenia near Idrija. He is the fourth child, after three sisters. He studied philosophy in Ljubljana and then, in 1977, enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome followed. He was ordained a priest in 1985. In 1991 he earned a doctorate. Since September of 1991 he has lived and worked in Rome at the Centro Aletti, of which he is the director. He teaches at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Pontifical Gregorian University, Saint Anselm Pontifical Liturgical Institute, and gives seminars and lectures at numerous other European academic institutions. In February 2000 he received the “France Preseren” Award, the Slovenian Republic’s highest recognition for contributions to the cultural patrimony. In 2002 he was decorated with the honor “Sign of honor of the freedom of the Slovenian Republic”, conferred on him by the president of the republic. In 2003 he received the international “Beato Angelico” prize for Europe. Besides many collective exhibits he has presented his works in personal exhibits among which those in Rome, Italy; Milan, Italy; Baltimore, Maryland USA; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Czech Republic; Olomouc, Czech Republic; Cluj, Romania. He created lot of artworks in Italy, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Syria, USA, Spain.





 Cinquanta metri quadri di estensione. Quasi ventimila tessere colorate, in pietra ed in vetro. Dentro questi numeri è riassunta una straordinaria opera d’arte: il mosaico che l’artista Marko Rupnik ha creato sulle pareti della cappella del Centro di Spiritualità delle Suore Adoratrici in Lenno, Como. L’opera di Rupnik – articolata nelle scene della Natività e di Mosè salvato dalle acque – è una vera e propria festa di colori, che l’artista ha ideato, progettato e composto con cura meticolosa, creatività, eccezionale bravura.

Ogni pietra incastonata nel muro, ogni tinta ed ogni colore rimandano a precisi significati spirituali, religiosi, culturali e sociali che si fondono in un suggestivo racconto che riunisce le due distinte storie – Mosè e la Nascita di Gesù – in una unica e grandiosa rappresentazione. Il mosaico di Marko Rupnik non è solo opera d’arte, ma espressione del Mistero; la sua idea teologica di fondo è questa: come la materia creata se illuminata dalla luce naturale subisce cambiamenti, variazioni così a maggior ragione quando il cuore dell’uomo è toccato dalla Luce può operare meraviglie e trasformazioni!

L’opera è stata realizzata nel giugno 2007 e compiuta In cinque giorni. L’ equipe era formata da 11 persone di diverse nazionalità, guidata da Rupnik. Il gruppo è formato e supportato da persone competenti che affrontano dal punto di vista teologico,simbolico,storico, iconografico e artistico le immagini che poi dovranno realizzare nel cantiere.

L’armonia che cogliamo nel mosaico è anche frutto della fraternità che gli artisti vivono fra loro e dove la diversità diventa ricchezza. Mentre ciascun artista componeva la sua parte di mosaico, il silenzio dominava. Ogni artista deve instaurare un dialogo con la pietra, che “risponde”, obbedisce e viene ascoltata dal cuore umano.

(1 – Continua)