La Festa di San Silvestro is celebrated December 31 on New Year's Eve. As with most Italian festivals, food plays a major role. Families and friends get together for a huge feast. The star of the dinner is lentils, symbolizing money and good fortune for the coming year.
Italian Rita Levi Montalcini, who won the Nobel Prize in 1986 with American Stanley Cohen for their discovery of nerve growth factor, died Sunday. Montalcini was a well-known figure in Italy, known for encouraging young women to study science.
This tiny medieval spa-village was first established by the Etruscans, developed by the Romans and visited by Renaissance royalty. Today you will find a handful of houses built around a huge piazza containing an arcaded, stone-lined pool constructed by the Medici (the water flows at 52Â°) It is comprised of 36 hot sulfurous springs gushing to the surface from a volcanic source 1000 meters underground.
Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings - the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe - were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles.