Cape Disappointment Light: the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast

The Cape Disappointment Light is a lighthouse on Cape Disappointment near the mouth of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington. Starting as a small stream at the base of the Canadian Rockies, the Columbia travels more than 1,200 miles, merging with various rivers and streams, until it meets the Pacific Ocean. Its force flowing into the sea creates one of the most treacherous bars in the world as evidenced by the 234 identified ships that stranded, sank, or burned near its mouth between 1725 and 1961. On…

Read More

Porphyry Island – Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Just east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior’s northern shore, Canada, lies the volcanic Black Bay Peninsula that separates Black Bay and Nipigon Bay, and consists of over 300 distinct lava flows. Porphyry Island is the last in a chain of islands that stretch southwest from the peninsula and is named for the island’s igneous rock, known as porphyry, that contains quartz and feldspar crystals. Another unique peculiarity of the island is the presence of the so-called devil’s club, a shrub with a spiny stem and large leaves. Porphyry Island…

Read More

Pescarenico: the fishing village which has kept intact its charm over time

«È Pescarenico una terricciola, sulla riva sinistra dell’Adda, o vogliam dire del lago, poco discosto dal ponte: un gruppetto di case, abitate la più parte da pescatori, e addobbate qua e là di tramagli e di reti tese ad asciugare.» Alessandro Manzoni, I promessi sposi. Alessandro Manzoni mentioned Pescarenico in his most famous work, “The Betrothed” and, thanks to the story of Renzo and Lucia and the ingenious pen of their creator this Lecco’s district, in Northern Italy, has become famous. Manzoni wrote that the monastery of the Capuchins, in…

Read More

Cereseto castle and its secrets

Cereseto is about 50 kilometres east of Turin and about 30 kilometres northwest of Alessandria, Northern Italy. Probably established around 500–600 AD. and mentioned in records of the Bishop of Asti from around 957 AD., it is perched on a hill, and is dominated by its castle. The town was the property of the Graseverto family of Asti, who probably built the first castle around 900–1000 AD, but completely demolished in 1600. It was 1910 when the financier Riccardo Gualino and his wife launched construction of a new castle with…

Read More

Salice Terme: the sad story of a beloved tourist destination and its decline

Hotels no longer have a single free room, streets and nightclubs are overflowing with tourists, while flocks of photographers swarm from one limo to another in search of some VIPs. Who will be the winner this year? The jury is hard at work and will soon issue the verdict. It seems like the description of one of the highlight days of the Venice or Cannes Film Festival. But no, we are in Salice Terme, in the heart of the Po Valley, in the mid-1960s, when the spa town in the…

Read More

May 31, 1962: the Voghera massacre

May 31, 1962: it is a warm but not sultry night when the fate of 64 people is about to be marked. Shortly after midnight, at 0.02 am, the 8151 freight train from Milan Rogoredo station leaves from Lecco and goes to Arquata Scrivia. The convoy consists of 33 wagons. In the meantime, at 0.45 am, from another Milan station, the Central Station, the fast train 1391 also leaves, expected in Genova Brignole at 5.22 am. The passenger convoy stops at Voghera where it arrives at the third platform 15…

Read More

May 14, 1983: the forgotten history of massacre of the Eros cinema in the suburbs of Milan, Italy

Saturday, May 14, 1983: while about thirty spectators were watching the first half of the porn film “Lyla, profumo di femmina” (Lyla, scent of a female), two young people showed up at the Eros Sexy Center cinema in viale Monza 101, near the Rovereto metro stop, they bought tickets, entered the hall and sat in the back rows (after the subsequent arrests, the cinema cashier will recognize Marco Furlan and remember having sold him three tickets, one of the main elements in support of the thesis that Ludwig, the obscure…

Read More

The impressive little Lourdes 30 km from Milan

It would take a miracle to save what should have been the little Lourdes of the Lombard Prealps. In Merate, a small town near Lecco, in Northern Italy, about 30 kilometers from Milan, locals call it “ex Oratorio San Luigi” because, before becoming a dark and decaying ruin, it was the parish meeting point in the city for about 30 years. Actually, this is the Basilica of the Santissima Immacolata, designed in 1906 by Spirito Monsignor Chiappetta, engineer and friend of Pope Pius XI on an area of 4 thousand…

Read More

Telling the Bees: the curious folklore of Rural England and not only

Many do not know that there was a time when almost every rural British family who kept bees followed a strange tradition: whenever there was a death in the family, someone had to go out to the hives and tell the bees of the terrible loss that had befallen the family. Failing to do so often resulted in further losses such as the bees leaving the hive, or not producing enough honey or even dying. The custom is best known in England, but has also been recorded in Ireland, Wales,…

Read More

Happy Birthday Venice, 1600 years!

As story goes today, 25th March 2021, Venice turns 1600 years old. But Venice, was it really founded on March 25th 421 AD at noon? Actually no. Venice has a history spanning almost 16 centuries that involves numerous intrigues, 120 doges, several oppressors such as Napoleon and the Austrians, as well as many battles amongst others with the Turks, even though it’s not always possible to differentiate the historical facts from the legends. In short, the foundation of the Serenissima’s city is traced back to the legendary laying of the…

Read More

Fukushima disaster: what happened 10 years ago at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Exactly ten years ago, on a Friday afternoon, March 11, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan struck off the country’s eastern coast. The 9.0-magnitude quake was so forceful it shifted the Earth off its axis, triggered a tsunami which swept over the main island of Honshu, killing more than 18,000 people and wiping entire towns off the map. At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture (on the country’s east coast, about 220km north-east of the capital Tokyo), the gigantic wave surged…

Read More

Praglia Abbey: a Benedictine monastery surrounded by the Euganean Hills

During the Middle Ages, many monks manually copied ancient books so they could be passed on to future generations. Over the years, the invention of the printing press made this work largely obsolete, but thousands of old books remained stored in monasteries. Many of those volumes lies still today in the library of the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria Assunta of Praglia, an almost 1,000-year-old monastery and maybe one of the most important monumental and religious communities in the area, located in the town of Teolo, only 10 minutes from…

Read More

February 3: Saint Biagio’s Panettone

February 3th is the day dedicated to the holy protector of the throath, Saint Biagio (known in English as Saint Blaise). Saint Biagio worship is widely spread in the Christian world, especially the area of Milan, Varese, Como, various areas of Piedmont but also in Southern Italy, where locals have been devoted to this Saint for centuries. But why is he a protector of the throat and not, for example, the stomach or other parts or body? Historically, Saint Biagio was physician and bishop of the Armenian city of Sebaste…

Read More

January 17: Saint Anthony the Abbot, The Great, or The Father of Monks

According to traditions, Saint Anthony the Abbot, celebrated on this day, is Patron Saint of Amputees, animals, basket makers, brush makers, butchers, cemetery workers, domestic animals, epileptics, gravediggers, hermits, skin diseases, but also hogs, pigs and swine. The life of Anthony will remind many people of Saint Francis of Assisi. At 20, he was so moved by the Gospel message, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor” (Mark 10:21b), that he actually did just that with his large inheritance. However, he is different from Francis in that…

Read More

Monumental Cemetery of Lecco – Italy

Inaugurated on August 6, 1882 and designed by the engineer Enrico Gattinoni, the Monumental Cemetery of Lecco represents a real open-air museum. It contains works in marble and bronze by well-known local and non-local artists, which date back also to the late nineteenth century, including Giulio Branca (1850 -1926) whose works vary between late-classicism models and other pictorial styles, Francesco Confalonieri (1850 – 1925 ) classicist and with the greatest number of works present, or Giannino Castiglioni (1884 – 1971) of which Lecco also houses the imposing monument to the…

Read More

January 2: Berchtoldstag

In some areas of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Berchtold Day, or locally Berchtoldstag, is celebrated on this day, January 2. The name of the Alemannic tradition does not refer to a Saint (there is no St. Berchtold) but is derived from the verb berchten, meaning “to walk around, asking for food”, which we find throughout Europe in the period from the day of the Dead to the Epiphany, even if there are various theories concerning the holiday’s name. Blessed Berchtold of Engelberg Abbey, for istance, died circa 2 November 1197, and…

Read More

Corenno Plinio: enchanting medieval hamlet on the eastern branch of Como Lake

Corenno Plinio is a small and charming medieval settlement just few minutes far from Dervio, on the eastern branch of Como Lake, Italy. It is an enchanted place that few people know, that stands atop a stone spur overlooking the waters of lake.Walking through its narrow streets and along the stairs built in the rocks, from the castle to the lake, it is impossible not to be charmed by this small hamlet that sweats history in every corner.Not by chance, it is also know as “The village of a thousand…

Read More

Centuries of history and miracles: the beautiful Laorca Cemetery

The Laorca cemetery is located in the Laorca district north of Lecco, region of Lombardy, in Northern Italy, and has developed around the caves and the ancient church of St John the Baptist (also called Chiesa ai Morti, “Church to the dead”) in Laorca. In 2011, together with Monumental Cemetery of Lecco, it was included in the “European Cemeteries Route” that is the European itinerary of monumental cemeteries. It is in fact inserted in a unique natural context, and it is a jewel of art and nature. The environment is…

Read More

10# A spider for Christmas?

Long, long ago, on one Christmas Eve, the spiders were banished from homes as they were cleaned for Christmas and their webs were broken. They just managed to survive, and had to move to the farthest corner of the attic for the time being. However, as story goes, some of the young spiders longed to see the decorated Christmas trees and Baby Jesus that traditionally came to bless the homes in the midnight. Despite the elders tried to make them understand that they were not allowed inside the rooms, the…

Read More

When was the lighthouse invented? 👀

Guiding ships for countless centuries, as well as looking spectacular on the horizon, every lighthouse boast at least one of fascinating story. From humble beginnings as primitive flames to their automation today, these flashing lights have come a long way. Did you believe? The earliest from of lighthouses was probably just bonfires on the beach and, since raising the fire would improve the visibility, placing it on a platform became a practice that led to the development of our modern beacons. Lighthouses historic beginnings stretch right back to Egypt, where…

Read More

Old City Wall of Berlin: the last remnants of a massive medieval wall that once encompassed the city

November 2019 marked 30 years since the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Berlin for more than 25 years, fell. But Berlin is a city which has been surrounded by walls since its very beginning. Maybe not everyone knows that, centuries before Berlin’s most notorious wall epitomized the Iron Curtain, another wall defined the german capital’s cityscape. It is the Berlin Stadtmauer, or City Wall, that was erected sometime during the 13th century as a defensive barrier to fortify the city. Spanning about 2.5 kilometers, the wall encompassed Berlin’s…

Read More

Pfunds Molkerei: in Germany, the world’s most beautiful dairy shop!

Imagine walking into one of most adorned room at Versailles…to buy a piece of cheese. Maybe it sound unlikely, but that’s the feeling you get when you step into the Pfunds Molkerei, officially know as “Schönster Milchladen der Welt”, or the most beautiful dairy shop in the world, according to 1998 Guinness Records. Located at Bautzner Straße 79, in Dresden, Germany, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the beautiful German city, with over 500,000 tourists stopping by every year. Of course, that’s fairly unusual for a…

Read More

Historical Regatta: in the Grand Canal the ancient Venetian maritime tradition between races and historical re-enactments

The Historical Regatta is the most traditional among the venetian events. It is a show that, each year the first Sunday of September, brings the ancient boats of the glorious past of Venice to the Grand Canal including passionate competitions and historical re-enactments. And, in 2020, this was the event that probably has repopulated the beautiful Venice, after a lockdown that saw the city completely free of tourists (and people). For a city born on water, boats have always been indispensable means of survival, since it was with these that…

Read More

Créac’h: the most powerful lighthouse in Europe

The Créac’h lighthouse, in Breton Tour-tan ar C’hreac’h (translated as Tour-tan: lighthouse and C’hreac’h: promontory) is a lighthouse in the island of Ouessant, in Brittany, France. It was built in 1863 and is 53 m high. It is located on the north western tip of the island and guides ships in the dangerous and busy stretch of the Atlantic which becomes, from that point, the English Channel. For this reason it is the most powerful in Europe and one of the most powerful in the world, visible up to a…

Read More

The legend of the haunted house known as Villa Clara

Each place has a more or less known heritage of curious stories, legends and mysteries, and Bologna, Italy, is no exception. Among these, the presumably haunted house in Casalecchio di Reno, and Villa Clara. The villa a little outside Bologna, not far from Trebbo di Reno, is located in the open countryside, surrounded by fields where are not even street lighting and where, sometimes, thick banks of fog arise. The exact date of its construction is not known, although it is likely that it took place between 1572 and 1585.…

Read More

Stiff lighthouse: the oldest lighthouse in Brittany that is still working

“Further west than the west”, Ouessant is the westernmost island in Finistère, a department of France in the extreme west of Brittany. The island is well known for its treacherous seafaring heritage and for its indigenous sheep. It’s also a land of many legends, including the story of Lampaul Bay and the clash between Saint Guénolé and Saint Gildas, which led to the creation of the great rock (or grande roche) right in the middle of the two coastal points. Ouessant is regarded as the entrance to the English Channel,…

Read More

Saint-Louise – Sète’s historic Lighthouse

This lighthouse proudly stands at the end of Le Môle Saint-Louis, Sète’s pier. The jetty, 650 metres long, was the first structure to be built when the city was founded in 1666. Walking to the pier, you can still spot portraits of seafarers, painted by the German artist Klaus Dauven during the Escale à Sète in 2018. Eventually, these portraits will fade away and, interestingly, they are something like reverse graffiti. More clearly, instead of spray painting the portraits on the wall, the artist etched out murals on dirt-encrusted surfaces…

Read More

Italy’s Moka Coffee Pot: why the iconic item has become an endangered species

Bialetti, the Italian maker of the historic moka pot, a stovetop coffee machine and one of the most iconic kitchen appliances ever created, announced recently that the company is in major trouble, with tens of millions of Euros in debt, unpaid salaries and taxes. In a press release, the company even said there are “doubts over its continuity”.The moka pot is an iconic symbol of Italy and you can see it in several museums, including Museum of Modern Art, but also in the Guinness Book of World Records as the…

Read More

Francesco Petrarca’s house: a modest museum in the final home of Italian poet

“In the Euganean Hills, I had a small house built, decorous and noble; here, I live out the last years of my life peacefully, recalling and embracing with constant memory my absent and deceased friends.” (Petrarch, Senili, XIII, 8, Letter to Matteo Longo, January 6 1371). Francesco Petrarca, one of the first humanists, was a founding figure in the Italian Renaissance, but also the poet who helped solidify modern Italian. He spent his final years tending vegetables in this incredibly old house, which predates even his own residence there. Years…

Read More

Saint Mathieu Lighthouse | France

Located on Pointe Saint-Mathieu in Plougonvelin, around Brest in Finistère, Saint-Mathieu lighthouse was built in 1835 among the ruins of the ancient Abbaye Saint-Mathieu de Fine-Terre. The Abbey gives the cape its name, and It was dedicated to Saint Matthew the Evangelist, whose skull it housed. It was a Benedictine abbey, but was revived and reformed by the Maurists in the mid-17th century. According to legend the first abbey here was founded in the 6th century by Saint Tanguy, chosen for its isolated location among the lands he had inherited.…

Read More