La Settimana Santa (Holy Week) will be different this year, especially in Italy. I recall the chants of the crowd at St. Peter’s on Palm Sunday, the Pope’s recital of the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday, the explosion of bells and shouts of “Alleluia!” on Easter morning. But nothing touched me more than the commemoration of Christ’s passion in a town in Sicily.
On the first morning of the coronavirus lockdown, San Francisco Bay was empty of its usual nautical traffic. No sailboats glided across choppy waters. A foghorn barreled out a low E-minor sounding like a tenor warming up. The Bay glimmered like a millpond calling for ducks instead of whales. Seagulls flew overhead and cried among puffy clouds in a blue sky void of airplanes. Trucks hot-rodded across the Golden Gate Bridge like Ferraris. From our living room window, I looked at our New Abnormal Normal.
Le Sorelle Fontana (the Fontana Sisters), three dressmaker’s daughters from a small town near Parma, defined alta moda (high fashion) before anyone else, including the Italians, realized that a homegrown form of haute couture even existed.
If one taste captures the essence of passion, it would have to be chocolate, especially Italy’s most famous—Perugina chocolates. They were created by Luisa Spagnoli, born in 1877 and truly a woman ahead of her time.
Italy’s first female race driver lived up to the title of a biography of her extraordinary life by Luca Malin: Indomita (Indomitable).
This year marks the 340th anniversary of the death of one of Italy’s most passionate and productive artists: Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Over his long career he emerged as the Michelangelo of his time, a master sculptor, architect, painter, city planner, draftsman, engraver, and playwright.