Top 10 most popular articles in February 2013.

1.- Levanto: searching for a new identity.

In order to understand the present day Levanto, we must behave like we do with the people we love: learn its story, give a historical depth to the landscape of today and learn about the vocations and the identities that have followed one another in time.
We can distinguish at least three of them:
- the feudal and agricultural-pastoral identity of the Bardellone mountain, which is linked to the contrai of the passes and the Communications by land, as well as to the centres of Ceula and Zolasco that have now vanished;
- the communal and mercantile-maritime identity, which is centred around the village of Levante and experienced through a complete devotion to the Republic of Genoa but not without feeling the great importance of the agricultural economy: from the charm of the agriculture of the villa to the constellation of the rural centres in the valley.
2.- The Sassi di Matera situated in the old town, they are composed of the Sasso Caveoso and the later Sasso Barisano.

The Sassi di Matera (meaning "stones of Matera") are prehistoric cave dwellings in the Italian city of Matera, Basilicata. Situated in the old town, they are composed of the Sasso Caveoso and the later Sasso Barisano.
Matera has gained international fame for its "Sassi". The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy
Matera was developed by its inhabitants over the centuries in a manner that is now called "Spontaneous Architecture" due to the way the city conforms to the natural environment while revealing many very sophisticated and elegant styles. This form of architecture strikes the attention of visitors arriving in the city, as it creates a surreal landscape reminiscent of the emotions stirred before certain modern abstract paintings.

3.- Portofino is a small Italian fishing village, comune and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera.

Portofino (Ligurian: Portofin) is a small Italian fishing village, comune and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is crowded round its small harbour, is closely associated with Paraggi Beach, which is a few minutes up the coast. Other nearby beaches include Camogli, Chiavari, Lavagna, and Sestri Levante.
According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.
The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttoso di Capodimonte. In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction. After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa. The town's natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa.

4.- A beautiful mountain lake in the Dolomite Mountain Range.

The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. It is a part of Southern Limestone Alps and extends from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley (Val Sugana). The Dolomites are nearly equally shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino.
There are also mountain groups of similar geological structure that spread over the River Piave to the east - Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave; and far away over the Adige River to the west - Dolomiti di Brenta (Western Dolomites). There is also another smaller group called Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites) located between the provinces of Trentino, Verona and Vicenza (see the map).
One national park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites. In August 2009, the Dolomites were declared a natural heritage site by UNESCO.

5.-The regions of  the first-level administrative divisions of the state, constituting its first NUTS administrative level.

The regions of Italy are the first-level administrative divisions of the state, constituting its first NUTS administrative level. There are twenty regions, of which five are constitutionally given a broader amount of autonomy granted by special statutes.
Mere administrative districts of the central state during the Kingdom of Italy, Regions were granted political autonomy by the 1948 Constitution of the Italian Republic.
Nevertheless, the actual implementation of regional autonomy was postponed till the first Regional Elections of 1970, as the ruling Christian Democracy party didn't want the opposition Italian Communist Party to gain government in many of them where it was historically rooted (the red belt of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche).
The regions acquired a significant level of autonomy following a constitutional reform in 2001 (brought about by a centre-left government and confirmed by popular referendum), granting them with residual policy competence.

6.- Gran Paradiso is the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park, the homeland of friendly capricorns.

The Gran Paradiso is a mountain group between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions of north-west Italy.
The peak, the 7th highest mountain in the Graian Alps with an elevation of 4,061 m, is close to Mont Blanc on the nearby border with France. On the French side of the border, the park is continued by the Vanoise National Park. The Gran Paradiso is the only mountain whose summit reaches over 4,000 metres that is entirely within Italian territory.
The highest summit was first reached on September 4, 1860 by J. J. Cowell, W. Dundas, J. Payot and J. Tairraz. Today it is generally considered an easy climb, except for the last 60 meters to the top. Climbs normally start from either the Rifugio Chabod or the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele Secondo. The latter is named after Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy who created the Gran Paradiso royal reserve in 1856, presently Gran Paradiso National Park.

7.- The Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini is one of the most important historic gardens in Europe.

Villa_Durazzo-Pallavicini_-_Chinese_pagodaThe Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini is a villa with notable 19th century park in the English romantic style and a small botanical garden. The villa now houses the Museo di Archeologia Ligure, and is located at Via Pallavicini, 13, immediately next to the railway station in Pegli, a suburb of Genoa, Italy. The park and botanical garden are open daily.
The estate was begun in the late 17th century by Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi, who established the Giardino botanico Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi at that time. Today's remarkable park was created by her nephew Ignazio Alessandro Pallavicini after he inherited the property.
The park was designed by Michele Canzio, set designer for the Teatro Carlo Felice, and built between 1840 and 1846. It covers some 97,000 m² of hillside behind the villa. Although recognizably in the English romantic style, the garden is highly theatric, to the point of being organized as a series of scenes forming a play with prologue and three acts (Return to Nature, Memory, Purification). Structures and statues through the garden form focal points to this libretto.

8.- Royal Palace of Caserta, the best example of Italian Baroque.

There are some walks that are unforgettable, which remain a lasting memory.
It happens when we are completely surrounded by beauty.
This year, the park oft he Reggia di Caserta has been awarded the prize as the most beautifulpark in Italy, it has already beenproclai-med a World Heritage Site by Unesco, and is one ofthe most char-ming places in Italy.
The driveway which runs from thè main entrarne leads to the Royal Palace and is three kilometres in length, and along the driveway there are water displays, cascades andpools alternate with splendid fountains.
The best example of Italian Baroque, such as the Fountain of Dolphins which is nearly 500m in length, or the Eolo fountain, the project was done by Vanvitelli, or the Fountain of Diana and Actaeon, behind which is a large artificial waterfalls.
One ofthe reasons which persuaded the jury to award this prestigious prize is thè recent restoration of the flourishing English Garden. Hills, glades, lakes and canals have aver the years been enriched by new plants from ali aver the world.

9.- Arte Sella, Art and Nature International Meeting.

Arte Sella is an international exhibition of contemporary art which began life in 1986. It takes place in the open, in the fields and woods of the Sella Valley (Borgo Valsugana municipality, in the Province of Trento).
Since 1996 the Arte Sella project has been laid out along a path in the woods on the southern slope of the Armentera Mount. The ideal route, named ARTENATURA (“Art in Nature”) which has taken shape in this way is designed to enable visitors to observe the works of art and at the same time to enjoy the natural site itself with its different types of woods, rocks and monumental trees.
The idea of the exhibition is not just to display works of art but also to show the creative process involved in them: the works are followed day by day in their development as they are created and the artists are called upon to express their respectful relationship with nature from which they draw inspiration.

10.- Leonardo Da Vinci, the universal genius, Rome exhibition.

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention.
He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.
According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote".
Marco Rosci points out, however, that while there is much speculation about the man himself, Leonardo's vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.

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