MILLENIA OF HISTORY IN BOVINO (APULIA), ONE OF “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN ITALY”

 

© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

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Bovino is an enchanting village of the Daunia Mountains, officially elected as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”.  Founded by the Dauni population in 323 B.C., it was destroyed during the Samnite wars started in 343 BC and rebuilt by the Romans under the name of Vibinum. Its historical past is rich of battles and conquers: Byzantines, Lombards, Saracens and finally the Normans occupied the town, until the 13th century, when Bovino found a period of peace under the kingdom of Frederick II.

Bovino played an important role in the commercial connection between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Traces of its past are still visible in the old town. The historical center of Bovino has a particular urban layout with narrow streets paved with cobblestones, arches, ruins of the Roman baths and aqueducts and several ancient buildings made with stone and tiled roofs. The old town also offers a number of about 800 refined stone portals, evidence of the role played by the city over the centuries.

Among the seven churches located in the village, the most important is the Cathedral Basilica, dedicated to St Mary of the Assumption, whose facade, realized in 1231 by the sculptor Zano from Gaul, gives an example of the primitive Gothic style that inaugurated the season of the Romanesque in Puglia. Its facate is asymmetric and the rose window shows a blown glass painting of Jesus Christ.

Another historical attraction of Bovino is the Castello Ducale, a refined castle built in 1045 by the earl Drogone “The Norman” from the ruins of an ancient Roman fortification. The castle was enlarged by Frederick II, to become the residence of the Spanish Dukes of Guevara in the 17th century. The Castello Ducale inhabited by the Guevaras’ descendants until 1961, was considered one of the most beautiful patrician houses of that century in the South of Italy. Torquato Tasso, Giovan Battista Marino, Maria Theresa of Austria and Pope Benedict XIII were some of the renowned personalities that found hospitality in the castle. In the chapel of the castle is conserved a silver reliquary containing a thorn from the crown worn by Jesus, probably donated by Pope Gregory XIII and Pope Innocent VIII.

Other historical treasures worth to be mentioned are the Church of Carmine built by the Jesuits in the 17th century, the neoclassical S. Maria delle Grazie, the old Church of St. Peter built in 1099 and example of Romanesque architecture with Byzantine elements, in which is preserved the painting “The Martyrdom of St. Peter” from the school of Caravaggio, the Church of Annunziata with its beautiful bell tower made of Trani’s stone and the Church of the Rosary built in 1205.

The Civic Museum is located in the “Pisani Palace” in Piazza Marino Boffa. It offers archeological findings from prehistoric, pre-Roman, Roman and medieval eras. Close to the Museum, we find the so called, Cantine Cerrato (Cerrato Cellars), one of the most important archaeological monuments of the urban fabric of Bovino’s underground. The Diocesan Museum has been  established in 1999 by the will of Archbishop Giuseppe Casale, to promote the artistic heritage of the Diocese of Bovino, dating back to the X century and active until 1979. Among the relics preserved, a miraculous thorn from Jesus‘ crown. We also recommend a visit to the Diocesan Library, located beside the Basilica Cathedral in Piazza Duomo.

The area also offers extensive natural itineraries and trails such as the forest of Salecchia, where it is easy to spot hawks and wild boar, the wood of Fenna and green area that host the holy sanctuary of “Valleverde”, blessed by Pope Juan Paul II in 1987.

 

ARE WE ON A CARIBBEAN ISLAND? NO, IT’S PIAZZA DEL DUOMO IN MILAN WITH PALM AND BANANAS TREES…

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© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

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© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

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© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

Palm and bananas trees had been planted in the winter and had raised controversy and debates. Now, in the summer, they are growing lush and green. No, we are not on a Caribbean island but in the beautiful and evocative Piazza del Duomo in Milan. Yes, a commercial company, to advertise its brand, chose to plant trees that are not part of western tradition. We could debate this choice for a long time. Meanwhile, here is Milan, with the green of a Caribbean island …This is the power of advertising …

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Palme e banani erano stati piantati in inverno ed avevano sollevato polemiche e dibattiti. Ora, in piena estate, stanno crescendo rigogliose e verdi. No, non siamo su di una isola caraibica, ma nella bella e suggestiva Piazza del Duomo a Milano. Yes, una società commerciale, per fare pubblicità al suo marchio, ha scelto di piantumare alberi che non fanno parte della tradizione occidentale. Potremmmo dibattere a lungo questa scelta. Intanto, ecco Milano, con il verde di un’isola dei Caraibi…

WATCH THE VIDEO: ROME UNDER THE MOON (AND STARS): A NIGHT IN BLACK ‘N’ WHITE

PHOTOS AND VIDEOCLIP BY ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti

ROME: THE NIGHT, THE LIGHTS AND THE MAGIC OF FONTANA DI TREVI (AFTER RESTORATION)

© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

The best way to admire the fabulous Fontana di Trevi, after the restoration, is the nightime…  The play of light and shade, the distance from the noises of the big city, the sounds of the waterfalls… Nothing else. But that is the magic of Rome.

MY PHOTO OF THE STUNNING “SALA REGIA” (VATICAN, ROME)  FEATURED IN THE OFFICIAL BROCHURE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHARLEMAGNE PRIZE AWARDED BY POPE FRANCIS

 

CHARLEMAGNE PRIZE SALA REGIA by ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

THE IMPRESSIVE “SALA REGIA” PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI IS FEATURED IN THE OFFICIAL BROCHURE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHARLEMAGNE PRIZE AWARDED BY POPE FRANCIS. THE CEREMONY WILL TAKE PLACE ON 6th MAY, IN THE SAME SALA REGIA, IN VATICAN PALACES (ROME).

 

Pope Francis has been awarded the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, the oldest and best-known prize awarded for work done in the service of European unification. The Pope will receive the award on 6th May, in the impressive Sala Regia, in Vatican Palaces, in Rome. One of the photos I took to Sala Regia in 2014 is now featured in the Official Brochure that has been published for the event: the Sala Regia, as the Sala Ducale, aren’t generally open to visitors: they usually host consistories, conferences, papal hearings or special events. It’s a great honour for me : I had the opportunity to visit Sala Regia in the same day I met the Pope for the presentation of “Francesco” (“Francis”), the illustrated and historical biography I wrote about him.

Marcel Philipp, Lord Mayor of Aachen, stated: “We are delighted by the overwhelming response to this year’s recipient of the Charlemagne Prize. Considering the current political situation, it is no easy task to distinguish a personality who supports and promotes the grand European project with commitment, clarity and, at the same time, constructive criticism. The Charlemagne Prize Board of Directors is grateful to His Holiness Pope Francis for agreeing to accept the Charlemagne Prize and, in doing so, for setting an invaluable example for the common goal of all Europeans. We are honoured to present our award to a man who inspires hope, an ambassador of peace and togetherness in a strong Europe, a man whose words carry weight and are listened to attentively by the whole world”.

 The Prize is named for Charlemagne, the Franconian king revered by his contemporaries as the “Father of Europe. A press release by the Prize Committee said that Pope Francis has sent “a message of hope and encouragement” at a time in which “many citizens in Europe are seeking orientation. The Pope is a witness for a community based on values which include a sense of humanity, the protection of resources and dialogue between cultures and religions at a European level. The Committee explains that in “recent years Europe has experienced great weaknesses, crises and setbacks” that have seriously pushed back “all the achievements of the European process of integration.”

To all this Francis opposes a message of hope. Quoting from his discourse to the European Parliament in November 2014, the communiqué says the Pope’s message is a wake-up call for Europe: “The time has come for us to abandon the idea of a Europe which is fearful and self-absorbed… The time has come to work together in building a Europe which revolves not around the economy, but around the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values.” The Pope – said Marcel Philipp, the Mayor of Aachen speaking to the press upon the announcement of the Award – is the “voice of conscience” that demands we put people at the center of our concerns, “he is an extraordinary moral authority.”