Italy’s north-east corner has a varied and rich history, and Trieste expresses that identity too. The articulated city offers multiple sources of interest to residents or visitors alike.

Piazza Unità d’Italia by night.

The city sprawls along green hills’ valleys rolling down to the Mediterranean Sea. The very different topographical characteristics — hard-edged karstic hills overlooking (and sometimes overhanging) the usually placid Bay of Trieste — are both metaphors and actual representation of the different cultures, history, and activities one can find.

Constantly awarded the title for the most underrated city in Italy, or Europe, or even the world that one should visit, Trieste is a multifaceted gem sitting under the radar unless you live somewhat nearby.

I won’t delve into the details of its history. There are many books dedicated and specialized…


Brighton is a lively city surrounded by the uninterrupted pebble beach on one side and a National Park on the other, which offer a variety of activities and scenery.

The Palace Pier offers interesting views in special times of the day.

The miles long, white-hazelnut-rusty coloured pebbled beach of Brighton, in the south-eastern coast of England, is a pleasant sight any time of the year. But this is just one aspect of the city is dubbed ‘London by the sea’, about one hour in a straight line south from the capital, and officially called Brighton & Hove after the incorporation of the two into one.

Brighton is not symmetrical but it can be divided into east and west depending on which side of the Palace Pier you refer to, with the centre above the Pier. …


Cyclopean Walls have been found across the World, with questions surrounding the enhanced construction knowledge if not the builders’ identity itself.

The famous Lion Gate, the main entrance of the citadel of Mycenae, Greece. Photo by Christos Vassiliou.

Overview

Cyclopean walls are structures built with the ‘polygonal masonry’ technique, which sees more-or-less regularly-worked stone blocks placed on top of each other without the use of mortar. The walls of the Mycenaean citadel or Machu Picchu might be the best known of the imposing construction of huge blocks erected without the use of mortar. But there are quite a few others.

The Egyptian Cyclopean masonry found in the valley temple of Giza’s Khafre pyramid complex (2,520–2,494 BC) is a combination of oldness, refinement, and extensive (so to speak) use. …


Although they have left countless unusual buildings over a span of 2,000 years, and had contact with most of the civilizations of the Mediterranean, little is known about the ancient Nuragic people.

It is common to find Nuraghe on strategic locations, which create scenic views. Photo by Uwe Post.

The history of the proud inhabitants of Sardinia is long. Their strong culture followed its own evolution and maintained a lot of independence. Being an island did not however impede the interaction or reception of influences from the western (Iberian peninsula), central (France), and eastern (Italian peninsula) Europe.

Nevertheless, although all of them have left clear if not extensive artifacts and buildings, little is known about the people per sé. What is known about them has been extrapolated, if not speculated, by the tools, inscriptions, and buildings found, as well as literary references from other cultures. …


Ancient Romans were the first major bridge builders. Through extensive use of the arch and concrete they perfected, they built the biggest and longest-lasting bridges of antiquity.

The Puente Romano de Mérida in Spain, completed in 117 AD, is the world’s longest surviving bridge of the ancient times. Ángel M. Felicísimo from Mérida, España, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Stone arch after stone arch. That is the basics of an Ancient Roman bridge. Their shape and form don’t change much from that. Although it doesn’t sound fancy presented like this, it is yet another of the Ancient Romans' exceptional engineering feats. I’ll explain why.

The key to the Ancient Roman bridge was the “true” arch, built with stone, and the concrete they so expertly perfected, the Roman concrete or opus caementicium. Yet, alongside these two key components were important technological features and design details.

Origins

Arches were the first evolution away from the post-and-lintel structure that had existed for thousands…


Old town has a network of underground tunnels used in the past for stocking, furnaces, illegal activities, and human trafficking

One of the countless sections of the underground tunnels. Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Overview

Portland is a neat city with rapid growth in a very natural region. It was founded in 1845 on the west bank of the Willamette River, a tributary of the Columbia River, in what came to be the state of Oregon of the United States of America (USA).

The city’s connection to the Willamette and Columbia rivers, as well as to the adjacent Tualatin Valley heavily used for farming, turned it into a busy deepwater port with rapid growth. …


Execution and torture were carried out at the rhythm of an orchestra’s music in the Janowska concentration camp

The Janowska concentration camp orchestra between 1941 and 1943. Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Inhuman conditions, forced labour, torture, summary executions, and mass graves. When talking about concentration camps, these are some of the horrors (unfortunately there are more) that come to mind.

There were designated and specific Schutzstaffel (SS) units to run the camps, such as the infamous Einsatzgruppen (‘deployment groups’ or ‘task forces’) and specific SS-Sonderkommando (‘special unit’, different from the prisoner-formed Sonderkommando within a camp).

These units were composed of the most depraved and malicious of fervent Nazis or ultra far-right people across Germany-occupied Europe. Some even volunteered for the tasks of genocide and ethnic cleansing and sanctioned violence in general.

Nazi-occupied Ukraine


The Collector- Finalist for November Writing Challenge

Art influences and is influenced by culture. Art portrays the history, which in turn records it. Art depicts the feelings of its time, and in turn sentiments affect it.

‘La Pietà’, the awe-inspiring, stupendous, and moving sculpture by Michelangelo in the Vatican. Photo by Torbjorn Toby Jorgensen.

Overview

The ‘influence of art on history and culture’ is a beautiful topic but to fully understand it one needs to first keep in mind it is actually a two-way relationship. We might be able to spot certain instances in which art affected cultural trends in a significant way, standing out among other occurrences. But it always goes the other way around too.

Another aspect that personally makes this topic very interesting is that the general agreement on “what is art” developed through the millennia and will keep doing that. Literature for example is a fairly recent category of artistic expression.


Hundreds of tram rails used to cross dozens of Italian cities for decades. Now they’re mostly gone, but stories, movies, and songs remain.

Trams are still running in Milan with a vintage look. Photo by Giorgio Stagni.

Tram, streetcar, trolley, these are names for basically the same transportation method of a ‘car’, or ‘coach’, traveling along rails, the ‘tramway’, mostly for localized public transportation and sharing the road with cars. There aren’t many left around the world.

Most trams are characterized by a slow speed and most are limited to city boundaries, although they can connect different cities at times. For longer routes, the transportation is called a light-rail, which is mostly a modern term for a somewhat “upgraded” streetcar. The light rail is halfway between a tram and a train. Its main differences are the possibility…


I understand the benefits to my mind and body. Water fasting is now part of my lifestyle.

Photo by Stephan Müller.

I’m an elite athlete and I’m interested in historic cultural custom as well as traditional wellness practices. I started with a 24-hour water fast once a week more than four years ago, and after a few times it became part of my weekly routine. I would like to do it more, in a reasonable way. I definitely notice its benefits.

There are many types of fasting and in the last few years there has also been an increased interest in the topic, with a number of apps, social media groups, and books regarding this practice. …

Richard Bruschi

Freelance writer, photographer, architect, and Executive director at Finding Italy. Culture, nature, sports, Italy, England, and the Pacific Northwest.

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