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Trip Advisor’s Top of the Charts

Even though worldwide travel for 2020 will be far below typical years, Trip Adviser has posted the most visited tourist attractions in the world. In 2019, for the second year in a row, the Colosseum in Rome took the top honors with roughly seven million visitors. With all of the sights to see in Rome, it is not surprising that the Eternal City also had the third spot on the list – the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel. Italy also had the tenth place attraction from across the globe. That honor went to St. Mark’s Square in Venice. If those were not accolades enough, a recent survey of more than 400,000 people found that Italy was also ranked as the country with the best food in the world. That will come as no surprise to the readers of the Italian Tribune, but the news probably did not go over well to the northwest of Italy’s border, where the French are likely to demand a recount…

Italian Woman Wins Picasso

One lucky woman has proven that it is possible to own a Picasso without being a either a museum or a millionaire. She was able to add one of the artist’s works to her collection for far less than one would expect. Christie’s auction house recently announced that Claudia Borgogno was the winner in a charity raffle of a Pablo Picasso painting worth $1.1 million. Her son, Lorenzo Naso, bought two tickets in the charity draw, costing €100 each and gave one of the tickets to his mother. The winning ticket was selected in an electronic drawing. “I have never won anything before,” said Borgogno, who works as an accountant in Ventimiglia, which is located along the Italian Rivera in Liguria. Her son called his purchasing of two tickets, “maybe the best decision in my life.” Over 50,000 tickets were sold in the draw. The painting was the 1921 oil-on canvas “Nature Morte” or Death of Nature, a small abstract depicting a table, newspapers and a glass of absinthe.

Dream Living

We wonder how many of our readers are considering moving once they retire. There are also many people who dream of retiring to another country; in fact, almost one in five Americans surveyed have expressed a desire to retire abroad. Among the countries described as the ideal location, Italy ranked first in a survey conducted by Provision Living. The next question was ‘where to live in a country that offers so much culture, history, tradition, as well as dolce vita?’ According to the financial newspaper Sole 24 Ore’s annual rankings of the quality of life in Italian cities, the top ten cities are: Milan ranked in first place, followed by Bolzano, Trento, Aosta, Trieste, Monza, Verona, Treviso, Venice and Parma. That is a list definitely worthy of consideration!

Vatican Summer Camp

The Vatican has announced that it will be opening a summer camp for the children of parents who work for the City State. Some of the activities and facilities that will be available for the ‘holy campers’ on the Vatican grounds include a swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court and soccer field, as well as a bouncy castle. Kids will be able to play table tennis in the Paul VI Hall and enjoy guided tours of the Vatican Gardens. The camp, which will have up to 100 children divided into two age groups, will be run by the Salesian Brothers and will be open from July 6th through July 31st.

Sinkhole Reveals Roman History

A sinkhole that opened in front of the Pantheon in Rome has uncovered ancient Roman paving stones unseen for centuries. Seven travertine blocks have thus far been found more than eight feet below the present day cobblestones. Piazza della Rotunda was virtually empty when the ten square foot cavity opened. No injuries or other damage was reported. The blocks were part of the original paving when the Pantheon was built in 27-25 BC by Emperor Augustus’s architect Marcus Agrippa, who was also a general, statesman and Roman consul. “This is further evidence of Rome’s inestimable archaeological riches,” said Rome’s Special Superintendent Daniela Porro. Sinkholes have become an increasingly common occurrence in Rome. Roughly 100 occurred in 2019. The most sensitive area is in eastern Rome, where materials were quarried in ancient times, leaving voids in the substructure that were later covered over, but not adequately filled in.

Puccini Festival to Open

The organizers of the 66th Annual Puccini Opera Festival have announced the event will take place this summer as planned. The dates for the festival are June 26 through August 14. Among the highlights of the festival, which takes place in Tuscany near the city of Lucca, will be screen star Stefania Sandrelli’s recital of Tosca on July 13 and 14. On July 11, writer Stefano Massini will recount Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Gianni Schicchi, accompanied by the festival orchestra. The guest of honor will be tenor Antonio Pappano with the Orchestra Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, who will give a concert on July 28th. The festival’s venues include locations in Viareggio and Torre del Lago, such as the lakeside Gran Teatro, the Cittadella del Carnevale, Villa Paolina and recitals in a number of local churches.