The newly-formed Vatican Athletics team, which intends to compete in international competitions, including the Olympics, was officially launched last week, after reaching an agreement with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). So far there are 60 members of Vatican Athletics, which include nuns, priests, Swiss Guards and Vatican workers. Team members wearing navy track suits with the Holy See’s crossed keys seal were present at the launch. The youngest athlete is a 19-year-old Swiss Guard, while the oldest is a 62-year-old professor of the Vatican Apostolic Library. “The dream that we have often had is to see the Holy See flag among the delegations at the opening of the Olympic Games,” said the president of Vatican Athletics. “But in the immediate future Vatican Athletics would like to be present at smaller competitions, such as the Mediterranean Games.”
“New Pope” Filming in Venice
Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s new TV serial “The New Pope” has been filming in Venice. John Malkovich plays the Pope who takes over when Jude Law has a heart attack. The limited series is the follow-up to acclaimed “The Young Pope,” which debuted on HBO two years ago. Sorrentino is once again directing all eight episodes. The series should be ready for debut by the end of this year, but HBO has not announced an official release date. The original series followed Lenny Belardo (Jude Law), as he became the first American Pope – a deeply conservative man who rattles the Vatican and whose fate was left ambiguous at the end of first season. According to rumors, Malkovich will play the titular new Pope, whose age has not yet been revealed.
Pitti Uomo in Florence
In Florence, the 95th edition of the international menswear trade fair, Pitti Uomo, showcased what can be expected during the fall and winter of 2019/2020 in the world of men’s fashion. The country gentleman look was portrayed by numerous designers, with lots of checks and hound’s tooth, plus jackets and plaid shirts in a color palette of greens, oranges and blues. Patches on jackets and cardigans completed the look. Paoloni embraced the blazer-cardigan in cashmere for next winter, while Luigi Bianchi Mantova infused the classic look with a contemporary vibe, with deconstructed wardrobe staples that were light, yet warm for the winter season. The team of designers behind the historic Italian brand Made in Mantua, founded in 1911, displayed cashmere, silk and cotton fabrics from Piedmont’s Biella district in shades of warm caramel, chocolate, beige and blue. Suits for the fall in colors of brick, mustard, chocolate, dark green, grey and blue were also a notable features from several design houses.
Gladiator School Reopens
Following a three-year restoration, visitors will once again be able to visit Pompeii’s ‘gladiator school.’ Eight years ago, a wall of the structure collapsed, preventing visitors from seeing the beautiful gladiator frescoes painted on the outside walls. The director of the archaeological park, Massimo Osanna said, “Collapses in the archaeological digs of Pompeii are a closed chapter. Visitors will once again be able to admire the walls of the Schola Armaturarum where gladiators once trained.” Restoration included painstakingly piecing together the frescoes, initially thought beyond repair, following the collapse at the ancient site in November, 2010. Initially, the building will be open to small groups of visitors on Thursdays.
2026 Olympic Winter Games
It starts with the name, featuring two cities, as opposed to the usual one and involves venues dotted across a large swath of northern Italy stretching from Milan to the Dolomites. The Milan-Cortina bid for the 2026 Olympics has the potential to revolutionize the Winter Games. The bid has now reached the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and creates a new blueprint for the future bids. It proposes to hold figure skating, hockey and short-track speed skating in Milan; sliding sports and curling in Cortina (host of the 1956 Olympics) and speed skating, biathlon and Nordic sports in Trentino-Alto Adige. Alpine skiing would be divided between Bormio (men) and Cortina (women), with only one venue needing to be built from scratch in an arena in Milan. The opening ceremony would be at the 80,000-seat San Siro in Milan, with the closing at Verona’s iconic Roman amphitheater. The only other remaining candidate for 2026 is Stockholm, Sweden. A decision is expected in June.
New Art Exhibit in Venice
The 1700s in Venice will be on display at the Palazzo Ducale. The exhibition focuses on the extraordinary art of the 18th century in Venice. The works of Giovanni Antonio Canaletto, whose paintings of Venice and the Grand Canal in particular, have come to define the art movement, are the stars of the show. The exhibit focuses on the evolution of art that took place in Venice, where color assumed the lead role over design. Featured artists include Luca Carlevarijs, who was important in defining Venetian landscapes and Rosalba Carrera, who redefined the elements of portraiture, as well as Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, Pietro Longhi, Giambattista Piranesi and Francesco Guardi. The art of Murano glass, gold jewelry and the manufacture of porcelain are also on display. The show will run until June 9.