Culture Archive

  • A heart-shaped book holds music, poems, a journal—and a 500-year-old mystery. “Here,” says the librarian as she passes it to me. “Hold it.”

    Restoring the Heart of History

    By Mikayla Francese
    A heart-shaped book holds music, poems, a journal—and a 500-year-old mystery. “Here,” says the librarian as she passes it to me. “Hold it.”

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  • A soft whirring of propeller blades breaks the silence of the sunny, late May afternoon in the Italian Marche countryside. Archaeologist Oscar Mei, hovering in a helicopter, peers down to observe the Archaeological Park of Forum Sempronii, the site of a partially excavated ancient Roman colony...

    In the Footsteps of Ancient Rome

    By Megan Northcote
    A soft whirring of propeller blades breaks the silence of the sunny, late May afternoon in the Italian Marche countryside. Archaeologist Oscar Mei, hovering in a helicopter, peers down to observe the Archaeological Park of Forum Sempronii, the site of a partially excavated ancient Roman colony...

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  • We sit like children waiting for a magic show to begin. The trunk creaks open, and one by one he reveals his treasures: masks of Italy’s traditional <em>Commedia Dell’Arte</em>.

    Behind the Mask

    By Allison Butler
    We sit like children waiting for a magic show to begin. The trunk creaks open, and one by one he reveals his treasures: masks of Italy’s traditional Commedia Dell’Arte.

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  • Where to see more ancient books restored by Vincenzo Santoro.

    Santoro’s Books

    By Mikayla Francese
    Where to see more ancient books restored by Vincenzo Santoro.

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  • Visitors to Italy typically think art, wine, cheese, and, of course, pizza. Few imagine cycling alongside a sandy beach. But if you’re based in Urbino and want to explore a different side of Le Marche...

    Sea By Cycle

    By Pachia Lee
    Visitors to Italy typically think art, wine, cheese, and, of course, pizza. Few imagine cycling alongside a sandy beach. But if you’re based in Urbino and want to explore a different side of Le Marche...

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  • The smell of paint fills the quiet, wide room. This is the art restoration lab of the University of Urbino, where professor Michele Papi teaches...

    Healing the Cracks

    By Sofia Lugo
    The smell of paint fills the quiet, wide room. This is the art restoration lab of the University of Urbino, where professor Michele Papi teaches...

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  • Michele Papi and his sister, Federica Papi, established their own restoration business, Il Compasso, in 1983. Here are some of the works they have restored...

    Restoring Urbino

    By Sofia Lugo
    Michele Papi and his sister, Federica Papi, established their own restoration business, Il Compasso, in 1983. Here are some of the works they have restored...

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  • The palace doesn’t seem that big from the courtyard. It is only when I go underground to the cavernous kitchens and storerooms, where the air gets at least 10 degrees cooler, and when I walk up the wide, grand staircases that I truly understand...

    Paradise Lost

    By Erica Demson
    The palace doesn’t seem that big from the courtyard. It is only when I go underground to the cavernous kitchens and storerooms, where the air gets at least 10 degrees cooler, and when I walk up the wide, grand staircases that I truly understand...

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  • The painting <em>La Citta Ideale</em> (The Ideal City), contains many signs of Urbino's "mathematical Renaissance." Find them using our guide.

    An Annotated “Ideal City”

    By Erica Demson
    The painting La Citta Ideale (The Ideal City), contains many signs of Urbino's "mathematical Renaissance." Find them using our guide.

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  • It’s true, Italians do eat a large amount of pizza and pasta, but authentic Italian cuisine is much more than boiled noodles and tomato sauce...

    The Truth about Italian Cooking

    By Leah De Graaf
    It’s true, Italians do eat a large amount of pizza and pasta, but authentic Italian cuisine is much more than boiled noodles and tomato sauce...

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  • The first thing I see when I walk into Tonti Agostina’s Urbino house is a cobalt blue mushroom as large as a flattened bowling ball. Until Tonti’s discovery, <em>Ganoderma</em> had gone unseen in the Le Marche region for 50 years...

    Mushroom Madonna

    By Stephanie Strickland
    The first thing I see when I walk into Tonti Agostina’s Urbino house is a cobalt blue mushroom as large as a flattened bowling ball. Until Tonti’s discovery, Ganoderma had gone unseen in the Le Marche region for 50 years...

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  • You may not personally know any mushroom-hunting champions like Tonti Agostina. But you can still experience the adventure yourself with overnight excursions in the Marche ranging from a few days to more than a week.

    Make Your Own Mushroom Expedition

    By Stephanie Strickland
    You may not personally know any mushroom-hunting champions like Tonti Agostina. But you can still experience the adventure yourself with overnight excursions in the Marche ranging from a few days to more than a week.

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  • Stepping into the main dining room of the agriturismo Il Guiso was almost like diving into a glass of beer, the amber hue of the room matching the tones of the frothy liquid. Filippo Isotti greeted me with a smile, a handshake, and a bottle of Riserva Speciale...

    Apecchio: Where Beer Maketh Glad the Heart of Man

    By Milana Katic
    Stepping into the main dining room of the agriturismo Il Guiso was almost like diving into a glass of beer, the amber hue of the room matching the tones of the frothy liquid. Filippo Isotti greeted me with a smile, a handshake, and a bottle of Riserva Speciale...

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  • At the restaurant La Trattoria del Leone, located on Via Cesare Battisti in Urbino, the traditional Le Marche dish <em>passatelli in brodo</em> reigns supreme. Made from a mixture of grated bread, mixed pecorino cheeses, parmesan, eggs, and a bit of salt and nutmeg...

    Pass the Passatelli, Please

    By Milana Katic
    At the restaurant La Trattoria del Leone, located on Via Cesare Battisti in Urbino, the traditional Le Marche dish passatelli in brodo reigns supreme. Made from a mixture of grated bread, mixed pecorino cheeses, parmesan, eggs, and a bit of salt and nutmeg...

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  • An alogastronomic lunch is a must, but let these tips help shape the rest of a fantastic day in Apecchio...

    Your Daytrip to Apecchio

    By Milana Katic
    An alogastronomic lunch is a must, but let these tips help shape the rest of a fantastic day in Apecchio...

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  • The Ducal Star, a glass lampshade based on a mathematical design that dates back to the 1400s, is a symbol of Urbino’s Renaissance.

    Divine Light

    By Sofia Lugo
    The Ducal Star, a glass lampshade based on a mathematical design that dates back to the 1400s, is a symbol of Urbino’s Renaissance.

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  • Want to know a little secret about Urbino’s infamous Ducal Palace? Legend has it that university students believe this site is cursed, and refuse to enter the palace for fear of never graduating...

    Debunking the Curse of the Ducal Palace

    By Stephanie Strickland
    Want to know a little secret about Urbino’s infamous Ducal Palace? Legend has it that university students believe this site is cursed, and refuse to enter the palace for fear of never graduating...

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  • “It's a way of life,” says Giovanni Garbugli, co-owner of Urbino’s Sugar Café, as he explains why coffee in Italy is the best in the world. Want to order coffee like a native?

    Order Coffee Like an Italian

    By Mikayla Francese
    “It's a way of life,” says Giovanni Garbugli, co-owner of Urbino’s Sugar Café, as he explains why coffee in Italy is the best in the world. Want to order coffee like a native?

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  • Gated storefronts, dark grocery stores, and deserted streets might not be the greeting you’d expect upon arrival in Urbino, the quintessential Renaissance city. But if the time is between 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., this is the likely scene.

    Pause for Pausa

    By Leah De Graaf
    Gated storefronts, dark grocery stores, and deserted streets might not be the greeting you’d expect upon arrival in Urbino, the quintessential Renaissance city. But if the time is between 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., this is the likely scene.

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  • Pasta so good you’ll die? Rumor has it that a certain type of pasta, <em>strozzapreti</em>, was so good that it once strangled a priest.

    Pasta to Die For

    By Allison Butler
    Pasta so good you’ll die? Rumor has it that a certain type of pasta, strozzapreti, was so good that it once strangled a priest.

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  • Traces of ancient architecture, including curved Roman arches and triangular Medieval arches, can still be found incorporated into Urbino's modern-day buildings.

    Roman Remnants Revealed

    By Megan Northcote
    Traces of ancient architecture, including curved Roman arches and triangular Medieval arches, can still be found incorporated into Urbino's modern-day buildings.

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  • Join the annual party for Federico da Montefeltro: jousting, dance, poetry, soccer, and more.

    Federico Fest

    By Nandi Alexander
    Join the annual party for Federico da Montefeltro: jousting, dance, poetry, soccer, and more.

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  • Tips to help you e-mail and text like an Italian.

    Lingua Digitale

    By Erica Demson
    Tips to help you e-mail and text like an Italian.

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  • The story of Via Giuseppe Mazzini.

    A Street for Italy’s “Beating Heart”

    By Azia Toussaint
    The story of Via Giuseppe Mazzini.

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  • A guide to greeting, continental-style.

    Cheek Kissing 101

    By Pachia Lee
    A guide to greeting, continental-style.

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  • Maria Carobini, 69, spends her days tending to the delicate grains growing in the small orchard of the Station School, a school that just four years ago she was fighting to save. That fight was a community-wide revolution.

    Saving the Station School

    By Michelle Franks
    Maria Carobini, 69, spends her days tending to the delicate grains growing in the small orchard of the Station School, a school that just four years ago she was fighting to save. That fight was a community-wide revolution.

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  • The retired art professor sitting at his 1884 Merganthaler Comet 300 linotype resembles a modern-day Johannes Gutenberg. With his milky white hair and beard neatly trimmed, Egiziano Piersantini is demonstrating this massive metal letter-setting machine used by newspapers for most of the 20th century.

    Court of the Mine

    By Sabrina Khan
    The retired art professor sitting at his 1884 Merganthaler Comet 300 linotype resembles a modern-day Johannes Gutenberg. With his milky white hair and beard neatly trimmed, Egiziano Piersantini is demonstrating this massive metal letter-setting machine used by newspapers for most of the 20th century.

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  • The mummies of Urbania are all about keeping up appearances. Pinned to the wall in awkward standing positions, the 18 dessicated bodies have yellowed skin that hangs off them like deflated and torn paper balloons encasing dehydrated organs.

    Trick or Treat

    By Maddaline Liotta
    The mummies of Urbania are all about keeping up appearances. Pinned to the wall in awkward standing positions, the 18 dessicated bodies have yellowed skin that hangs off them like deflated and torn paper balloons encasing dehydrated organs.

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  • “Si Parla, Si Canta; we speak, we sing,” is the motto and name of an Italian operatic and language program in the Marche,180 miles north of Rome. Here vocal students from around the world gather in June for four to six weeks to learn Italian, and to improve their singing as they immerse themselves in Italian culture.

    Hitting a High “C” in Urbania

    By Morgan Kuster
    “Si Parla, Si Canta; we speak, we sing,” is the motto and name of an Italian operatic and language program in the Marche,180 miles north of Rome. Here vocal students from around the world gather in June for four to six weeks to learn Italian, and to improve their singing as they immerse themselves in Italian culture.

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  • The city tops a hill in the Apennine Mountains of central Italy. It emerged as an experimental center for Renaissance architecture in the middle of the 15th century. Yet it still occupies a special place today as a model of town planning and construction of the period.

    Keeping the Faith

    By Emily Lucas-Fitzpatrick
    The city tops a hill in the Apennine Mountains of central Italy. It emerged as an experimental center for Renaissance architecture in the middle of the 15th century. Yet it still occupies a special place today as a model of town planning and construction of the period.

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  • Urbino students train to help preserve Italy’s artistic memories. URBINO, Italy – Sitting on a short stool in a small, crowded laboratory inside the 15th century Ducal Palace, Daniela Pesca...

    Art Restoration: Passion – and a Bit of Madness

    By Timothy Reuter
    Urbino students train to help preserve Italy’s artistic memories. URBINO, Italy – Sitting on a short stool in a small, crowded laboratory inside the 15th century Ducal Palace, Daniela Pesca...

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  • He was an educator, seismologist, astronomer, botanist, scholar of languages and a Catholic priest. In the 19th century, Padre Alessandro Serpieri was a well-known figure in Italy, and honored especially in Urbino, the ancient hill town where he ran the Collegio Raffaello – at that time a progressive school that provided free college-preparatory education for local youth.

    Father Serpieri: Urbino’s Amazing, Forgotten Scientist

    By Stephany Holguin
    He was an educator, seismologist, astronomer, botanist, scholar of languages and a Catholic priest. In the 19th century, Padre Alessandro Serpieri was a well-known figure in Italy, and honored especially in Urbino, the ancient hill town where he ran the Collegio Raffaello – at that time a progressive school that provided free college-preparatory education for local youth.

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  • Silvio Biagini lifts a newly made ceramic plate off his shelf. He runs his fingers around the surface and prepares to adorn its blank face, paintbrush in hand. In an instant, images from Renaissance history start to form on it. “It is an activity that requires passion,” he says in Italian through a translator. “If you have passion, everything is easier.”

    Cracks in the Art of Ceramics

    By Michelle Lee
    Silvio Biagini lifts a newly made ceramic plate off his shelf. He runs his fingers around the surface and prepares to adorn its blank face, paintbrush in hand. In an instant, images from Renaissance history start to form on it. “It is an activity that requires passion,” he says in Italian through a translator. “If you have passion, everything is easier.”

    Continue Reading...