A PIECE OF ITALY IN WESTMINSTER

In the heart of London, behind the menacing headquarters of MI5, there is Thorney Street. Looking for a guy with that name would be useless because Thorney was the name of the now forgotten island that once hosted that strip of land. It was on this island, probably for security reasons, that in the 1140s […]

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Rembrandt and doctor tulp

It must have been very cold that January 31 1632 in Amsterdam when Adrian Adrianeszoon, known in the slums as “Het Kindt”, was hanged for yet another robbery attempt. Adrian Adrianeszoon had behind him a respectable criminal career made of theft and violence and in the past the Dutch justice had already made him amputate […]

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THE IDEAL CITY OF THE RENAISSANCE

“Ho trovato una città di mattoni, ve la restituisco di marmo”Ottaviano Augusto in Svetonio, Vite dei Cesari, Aug., XXVIII, 3 “Quante Città vedevamo noi mentre eravamo fanciulli fatte tutte di asse, le quali hora sono state fatte di marmo?”Leon battista Alberti, De re aedificatoria, VIII, 5 The serene dream of the ancient, with its pacifying regularity, […]

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