Rome: Here lies the head of the patron saint of lovers, St. Valentine.

We are in Rome again, and even in the Italian capital there are some singular “oddities”. After the doll hospital, I talk you about a skull that resides in a glass reliquary in a small basilica, the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, surrounded by flowers. Lettering painted across the forehead identify the owner as none other than of the patron saint of lovers, St. Valentine. However, knowing just exactly whose skull it is, of course, is complicated. First off, there was more than one Catholic saint known as Saint…

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Rome: the Doll Hospital where antique dolls are given new life.

We are in a cobblestone alley near the popular Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy. Here, a weather-striped window showcases porcelain heads, limbs, and bodies of dolls long lost and completely broken. Above the creepy repository of disrepaired faces pressed to the glass, small owl figurines perch menacingly. No. This isn’t Rome’s own little shop of horrors, but it is actually the Restauri Artistici Squatriti, known to Romans as “l’ospedale delle bambole,” which means “dolls’ hospital”. Here, Federico Squatriti and his mother Gelsomina, who is now over 80 years old,…

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All roads lead to Rome: a tangible reality or just an ancient expression?

All roads lead to Rome: the ancient expression used since the Roman Empire, never really fallen into disuse, is it a tangible reality or just a hypothesis without foundation? Moovel Lab’s Benedikt Groß wanted to find out, and enlisted the help of digital geography expert Raphael Reimman and interactive designer Philipp Schmitt. They gave an interactive response that is really surprising. At least for Europe it is obvious: all roads lead to Rome! You can reach the eternal city on almost 500,000 routes from all across the continent. The bolder…

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