Throwback Thursday

One of the oh so many joys of living in Rome was taking a walking tour with Nancy.  She is an American art historian who has lived most of her adult live in Italy and has a wealth of knowledge – both technical and anecdotal – on Italy ancient and modern. And she also seems to have access to things that you just don’t see on the average tour. On one occasion she managed to set up a private evening tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. After visiting it in a group of only 20 I was never able to go back during the crush of regular opening hours.

On another occasion she arranged a peek into the rare book collection of the Biblioteca Angelica – one of the first public libraries in the Western world. I thought I’d reblog three posts I wrote back in 2010 after that visit. At the end of this first repost there are links to the other two. I had several others in the works that were left unfinished and languishing in that very large “drafts” folder.

Willy Or Won't He

A week ago Tuesday I spent the morning at the public library here in Roma – well okay not just any old public library but one of the earliest public libraries in Europe. Biblioteca Angelica was founded in 1604 by Bishop Angelo (hence Angelica) Rocca, a writer and collector of rare books. He was also in charge of the Vatican Printing House during the pontificate of Pope Sextus V. He entrusted the care of some 20,000 volumes to the Monks at the convent of St Augustine, provided a building, an annuity, and regulations for its operation: the principle rule being that it was open to all people regardless of income or social status. It has functioned as a public library since 1609 and except for a few periods of renovation and civil upheaval has been a major source of learning and research material to anyone over the age of 16…

View original post 350 more words

Lantern Lights Festival

A link to some wonderful photographs of a colourful Festival.

Walter over at Inquietudes tells us that sometimes 140 characters is not enough. In this case he’s given the characters a pass and spoken through his talented lens to share a bit of the Lantern Festival in Miami.

By tradition the Lantern Festival is the fifteenth day and last day of the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). In the Chinese calendar the night marks the return of spring and symbolizes the reunion of family. And it signals the end to the New Year’s taboos and all New Year’s decorations are taken down.

It is a festival that is said to trace it’s origins back almost 2000 years during the reign of the Emperor Hammingdi, an ardent follower of the Buddha. He was told that to show respect for Buddha that monks lit lanterns in the temples on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. He ordered that all temples, royal palaces and households should follow suit. This Buddhist custom gradually evolved into a grand public festival with games, feasting and, of course, lanterns.

Perhaps that origin history is the accurate one but I choose to believe the version I recounted last year about a trick played on the Jade Emperor.

Whatever the origins the celebration that Walter captured is a bright ray of much needed light in a darkened world

On this day in 1834: US President Andrew Jackson orders first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labor dispute.