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2017 Bernini Exhibition Opens in Borghese Gallery

The extraordinary talents of Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, sculptor, painter, architect and urban planner, are at the heart of a new exhibition featuring the 17th century master, is now on display at Rome’s Borghese Gallery and runs through February 4. The Borghese Gallery is the permanent home of nine Bernini masterpieces. This new show demonstrates Bernini’s genius through 80 works that aim to highlight the revolutionary impact of his talents. In Bernini’s long career he worked with nine different popes, each of whom had his own cultural vision for 17th century Rome, but it was Pope Urban VIII (who is not on the list of “Notorious Popes”), who wanted Bernini to be ‘the Michelangelo of his time.’ Funding for the exhibition was by Fendi and the Intesa San Paolo Bank. Bernini’s genius shines through in the exhibition, which covers masterpieces, as well as more recently discovered studies. The show also has a stunning centerpiece in the just-restored Santa Bibiana statue, which has never before been shown in an exhibition.

UNESCO’s Creative List Adds Four Cities

The Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 116 Members from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. The Italian cities of Milan, literature, Alba, gastronomy, Pesaro, music and Carrara, crafts, were among 64 cities from 44 countries to join UNESCO’s list of creative cities last week. The new entries raised to nine the number of Italian cities on the international creative cities list after Rome, for cinema, Fabriano, crafts, Turin, design, Bologna, music and Parma, gastronomy.

Next Up – Michelangelo

Italian company True Colours has taken on the marketing of the brilliant art docudrama “Michelangelo.” Partly shot in the marble quarries of Carrara, Italy, which supplied the slabs that Renaissance sculptor, painter and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti sculpted into masterpieces, including the Pietà and David, “Michelangelo” is the fourth in a series of ambitious high-definition art docudramas which have been widely distributed globally. The first of the series, “Vatican Museums 3D” (2014), was followed by “Florence and the Uffizi Gallery” (2015) and “Raphael – The Lord of The Arts” (2017). “Michelangelo” is scheduled to launch in Italian cinemas in 2018. The work is structured as a multilayered narrative centered around Michelangelo, who, from the Carrara quarries, reminisces about his artistic and personal life. Ivano Marescotti plays Giorgio Vasari, the Italian painter, architect and writer who recounts Michelangelo’s life and art via several monologues. The docudrama covers more than 50 of Michelangelo artworks.

Movie Worries Berlusconi

As he plots a return to the frontline of politics, the ghosts of the “bunga bunga” scandal are coming back to haunt Silvio Berlusconi. The former prime minister is nervous about a new film which is based on his torrid last years in office, when, after splitting from his wife, he lived the life of a playboy with dozens of models and starlets attending his risqué parties at his villas in Milan and Sardinia. The “bunga bunga” parties culminated in the billionaire businessman being placed on trial. Initially sentenced to prison, he was later acquitted by an appeals court. Berlusconi, 81, is worried that the film may portray him in a negative light, just as he tries to maneuver his center-Right Forza Italia party back into power in a general election early next year. The film, entitled “Loro,” is directed Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino, who said of the ex-leader, “The world has an idea of Berlusconi as a very simple person…he is more complicated…I am interested in the man that’s behind the politics.”

Truffles Prices Soar

Gourmands of the world, despair – the prices of prized white truffles of Italy have nearly doubled because of an unusually dry autumn. Prices are now as high as $2,500 per pound, compared to $1,300 per pound last year. After a sweltering summer, Italy has experienced its driest October in 60 years, spelling disaster for the fungi, which grow in the wilds of woods and forests. Truffle hunters are worried that the harvest could be down by 90 per cent in some parts of the country. Tuber magnatum (the white truffle) grows in ground that needs to be damp and cool, both in the germination phase and as it develops. Truffles are so expensive this year that one restaurant owner is giving his customers a written warning that they will pay a small fortune to sample the delicacy. Last year he offered a truffle-based menu for €35. This year it will cost €55!

More Strange Court Rulings

In light of how many sexual harassment allegations are now appearing in the news each day, here are two Italian court rulings that can only make you scratch your head. After years in lower courts, the case of a man who sought to clear his name finally reached the Italian High Court. His crime? He was convicted of molesting a woman – by repeatedly winking at her! He lost. Yet a Sicilian court ruled that a 65-year-old boss was not guilty of groping a female member of his staff because he was “driven by an immature sense of humor” rather than a desire for sexual gratification. Needless to say, the ruling was widely condemned.