Friday, February 5, 2016

The Most Romantic Bridge in the World - The Bridge of Locks - Ponte Milvio

The Ponte Milvio was built over the Tiber River in Rome in the year 206 B.C. and instantly became a romantic icon.  It drew fame because of its famous for its nocturnal attraction.  In fact, it is said that Emperor Nero visited the famous bridge to conduct his famous debaucheries. 

Author Federico Moccia wrote a love the story between two young Romans entitled I Want You.  In the story, the hero tells the girl he is enamored with about a legend where the lovers wrap a lock and chain with their names on it around the third lamppost on the Ponte Milvio Bridge’s northern side.  The lovers then locked it and threw the key into the river to ensure their eternal love.

Moccia's story became popular and soon, young couples came to the bridge to padlocks with their names on it on a lamppost on the bridge and throwing the key into the river.

Soon, thousands of locks and chains appeared on the bridge’s lampposts.  The lampposts had partially collapsed because of the weight of all the padlocks and officials condemned the practice in order to preserve the ancient bridge.   This incited some public backlask and officials installed new posts on the bridges specifically for couples to safely hang their padlocks for all to see.

If Rome is too far for you to travel to lock your own lover's padlocks to, you can add a virtual lock of your own to Ponte Milvia by visiting:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Puncetto Lace

"Puncetto lace” is traditionally from the Valsesia area, a mountain valley in northern Italy. 

Its exact origins are not known, but it is believed the lace came about as a result of the invasion of Saracens in the 10th century because it closely resembles the delicate filigree decorative patterns of Arab art from that time. 

The first known example of puncetto lace dates from the 16th century when a man named Gaudenzio Ferrari, a very famous and reknowned artist from Valsesia adorned a statue of the Virgin Mary with this lace. 

Years later, artists working in the Varallo Sacred Mountain Chapel painted examples of this lace to embellish the plain costumes the figures appearing in the popular every day life scenes they were creating. 

The popularity of the lace reached its height during the XIXth century, when Queen Margaret of Savoy, an admirer of Valsesia district, introduced it at her court, among her ladies-in-waiting.  The lace soon spread to France and Great Britain. 

Centuries later, puncetto remained well known only in Valsesia Valley.  Women continued to make the lace to decorate their clothing or mothers made it to refine their daughter's trousseaus.  

Most recently, puncetto is enjoying a re-emergence in part due to the interest of local public institutions and of many other people fond of this lace who are keeping this 450 year old art alive. 


The History of the "Egg Castle" (Castel dell'Ovo

Castel dell'Ovo (in Italian, "Egg Castle") is perched on an island on the Gulf of Naples, Southern Italy.  According to legend, the castle's name comes from medieval times.  Virgil, a great sorcerer and poet took the first egg laid by a particular chicken.  He placed the egg inside a carafe through the very tight aperture of that vessel.  Then he had the entire carafe, egg inside, put inside a cage of the finest wrought iron. 

He had the cage fastened with sheets of iron under a beam of oak that was placed leaning against the walls of a little room, made particularly for this occasion, with two grooves through which the light could enter.  He had it kept with great diligence and solemnity in that little room in a secret place and had it secured by doors and locks of iron, since the entire fate of the castle depended on that egg.