Year 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri

with an array of commemorative events programmed throughout Italy and beyond.

Today – March 25th – is “The” day – Dantedì – celebrating the medieval philosopher and poet as highlighted last year by My Country magazine when March 25th was approved as a National Day in Italy.

Dante was born in Firenze but travelled and lived in many places including Verona, Roma, Ravenna, Bologna, Forlì, Pisa and Arezzo amongst others. Dante died 700 years ago but in September; as March 25th represents the day recognised as the beginning of the so-called “journey into afterlife” as described in his poetic trilogy La Divina Commedia – the journey through the three realms of the dead – from Inferno (hell)”, Purgatorio (purgatory) to Paradiso (heaven).

This year’s fantastic Dantedì 2021 anniversary programme involves over 100 projects taking place in over 70 towns in Italy – but the programme also extends to many other countries including the U.K. and U.S.

Dantedì will host various events, digital events, exhibitions, readings and in-depth conferences taking place not only today but throughout the year.

MY Highlights

~ 80 rare drawings of Dante’s Divine Comedy La Divina Commedia – created by the 16th-century Renaissance artist Federico Zuccari – online for free by the Uffizi Gallery of Firenze.

~ “Piazza Dante. #Festivalinrete” is just one of the many interesting projects consisting of 41 Festivals regarding Italian culture through literature, poetry, science, videos and unpublished scripts

For full details see: https://beniculturali.it/dantedì   https://dantesettecento.beniculturali.it

The Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini commented:

“Dante is the unity of Italy.  He represents the Italian language and the very idea of our country.

The celebrations of the seven-hundred years since the death of Dante Alighieri close a three-year period of initiatives made possible by a law specifically intended to commemorate three great personalities of Italian culture: Leonardo, Raphael and, this year, Dante”.

#Dantedì    #Dantedì2021   #Dante700   #Dante2021    #Dantesettecento   #PiazzaDanteFestivalinrete

My Country magazine – My Dates to Remember – March 25th – Dantedì


MARCH 09/03/2021   The colour-coded tier system was updated including higher Covid-19 restrictions last February 21st throughout Italy

Many regions changed classification from lower-risk yellow zones to medium-risk orange zones including Campania, Naples.The Campania region is currently classified as a high-risk red zone, together with Basilicata and Molise.

It is predicted that numerous regions will follow – updating from medium-risk orange to red – considered as a high level of risk with a scenario of maximum severity.

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza signed the recent order based upon a weekly report provided by the Higher Health Institute (ISS) involving increasing concerns about widespread circulation of new and more transmissible variants.

The latest Dpcm Ministerial Decree was signed by Speranza and the Prime Minister Draghi on March 2nd 2021 to combat and contain the virus emergency – to be respected from March 6th to April 6th 2021.
The new restrictive measures confirm numerous urgent provisions already in force for containment of contagion throughout the national territory and introduce a number of new measures.
The colour-coded tier system classifying Italy into white, yellow, orange and red zones has been confirmed and will be updated according to levels of risk.

  • Face masks are obligatory – indoors and outdoors. Children under six years of age are exempt.
  • Social-distancing of at least 1-metre is still in act.
  • The travel ban between regions is confirmed until March 27th 2021. Travel motivated by proven work requirements or health reasons is permitted as is returning to one’s residence.
  • The nationwide night-time curfew from 10 pm to 5 am has also been confirmed.
  • All schools within red zones are now closed.
  • Any form of crowding is prohibited.
  • Visiting relatives or friends or travel to second homes is NOT allowed (even within your own municipality)
  • Throughout orange and red zones catering services are suspended but take-away and delivery is permitted until 10 pm. In all areas Bars and Café’s are available for take-away services until 6 pm only.
  • Throughout red zones any retail/commercial activity is suspended except for necessary foodstuffs and Pharmacies.
  • The national State of Emergency has been extended to April 30th 2021.

Please note: Italian authorities may impose, extend or further tighten any restrictions with little-to-no-notice – in response to developments regarding the Covid-19 strain.

Rules of conduct in case of any symptoms or doubts about health conditions:
If you have any symptoms such as fever (over 37.5°), breathing difficulty or coughing – stay at home and limit all contacts.  Do NOT go to the hospital or Doctor but call your local Guardia Medica or contact the regional or toll-free numbers:
Information line from Italy 1500
From abroad +39 02 32008345/ 02 89619015
Campania region 800 90 96 99
Use the national emergency numbers 112/118 only if strictly necessary


Latest update 09/03/2021

Latest Covid-19 situation in Italy
*updated: March 15th 2021

As expected, the health minister Speranza has signed the latest decree classifying the regions of Lazio, Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Piemonte, Puglia, Marche and the province of Trento as high-risk red zones from today March 15th 2021 (Campania and Molise remain classed as red)
The regions of Abruzzo, Calabria, Tuscania, Liguria, Puglia, Sicilia, Umbria, the Aosta valley and province of Bolzano are now classed as medium-risk orange zones. Sardegna remains categorized as the only lowest-risk white zone.
Current restrictions will remain in place until Easter weekend when the the whole country (except Sardegna) will be classed as high-risk red – even though April 3rd, 4th and 5th will supposedly include the possibility to visit relatives or friends – once per day.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic swept over Italy one year ago, over 100,000 people have died – prompting long lockdowns and forming what may be regarded as the worst recession since WWII. Tightened restrictions in force throughout red zones have also ordered all schools to close and obviously residents have been asked to leave home only for necessary reasons.

Over 6.2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered throughout Italy as of March 12th 2021. It is important to underline that two doses are necessary for the vaccine to be fully effective. So, basically just 1.9 million people in Italy can now be considered as being fully protected against the virus. Obviously this situation and various solutions with a new vaccine programme are at the top-of-the-list – and hopefully a rapid exit from the pandemic.
If you are interested about vaccine news and so much more – then why not take a look at some real details and interesting views from our friend Susan Levenstein MD – “The straight dope on Italian health and medical care” on her active blog www.stethoscopeonrome.com 

(That’s also the frequently highlighted book – Dottoressa An American Doctor in Rome)

My Country magazine

will be updating any useful current information

… for more details follow our Facebook page  www.facebook.com/paesemiomycountry




Time change in Italy 29 March 2020, 02.00 One-hour Forward. The EU summertime and the Daylight Saving Time (DST) was regularly standardised in 1996 by the European Union to run forward by one-hour on the last Sunday in March and back onehour on the last Sunday in October. Apart from various trials including Double Summer Time during the Second World War and the British Summer Time GMT + 1 hour in the late 1960’s – the current clock-changing system has been in place since 1972.
The idea is believed to have begun in 1907 with a publication entitled “The Waste of Daylight” written by William Willet – who sadly died in 1915, just one year before his plan was adopted in Germany and then by the United Kingdom. The “Summer Time Act of 1916” was quickly passed by Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time on May 21st 1916 was widely reported by the press. In those years the hands on most clocks could not be turned back without breaking the mechanisms.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts this year on Sunday, March 29th when clocks are turned forward 1 hour from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM

Palazzo Reale Giardini Pensili

Garden Guided Tours
CoopCulture Guided Tours “Passeggiata con vista sul Golfo. Il giardino pensile di Palazzo Reale” include a brief introduction to the history of the Palace and of the Garden.
WHEN – Saturdays and Sundays 11.00 am – 11.45 am – 12.30 pm. Tours last approx. 40 minutes with max. 30 visitors each tour.

HOW – Purchase Tour tickets directly up-to 15 minutes before each tour (due to availabilty) or call to book: CoopCulture 848 800 288 or +39 06 39967050 from mobiles or outside Italy
WHERE – The Royal Palace of Naples Palazzo Reale di Napoli is situated in the main square Piazza Plebiscito – just a short walking distance from the central Montesanto train station.

The Royal Palace Palazzo Reale di Napoli is open daily except Wednesdays from 9 am to 8 pm.
Last admission is by 7 pm. Audioguides are available (€ 4.00)
Entrance Fees: Standard € 6.00,
Reduced € 3.00, Ages from 18 to 25 € 2.00, Free for Under 18’s.

Murat – from humble origins to the King of Naples

So, who was Joachim Murat?
Murat was born from humble origins in southwest France – La Bastide-Fortunière (known as Labastide-Murat today) on March 25th 1767. Considered as “The great military man” it was obviously thanks to his so-called “bravery” that he steadily climbed the military ladder. Murat commanded the cavalry of the French Egyptian expedition of 1798 and became Marshal and “First Horseman of Europe” in May 1804, participating in all of Napoleon’s campaigns including Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau and Borodino (1812).

Murat was considered as a brave soldier by Napoleon even though often too impulsive. He married Napoleon’s youngest sister Caroline Bonaparte after returning from Egypt in 1800 bearing four children – Achilles, Laetizia, Lucien and Louise, and became prince during March 1806 – before arriving to Naples. Napoleon nominated Murat as King of Naples after ousting the Bourbons two years later in 1808. Murat was noted as a charismatic cavalry officer but also as “The Dandy King” thanks to his flamboyant style of dressing.

But what did Murat – the new sovereign actually do to win favour of the population and take place as one of the statues at the entrance of the Royal Palace Palazzo Reale di Napoli?
Well, apart from generally giving priority to the populations most critical conditions and attempting to raise the kingdom’s economy, Murat also tried to restore the public debt, forgave the “deserters” and abolished executions. After the foundation of the Banco delle due Sicilie he not only declared that his own expenses would not influence state income but confiscated all ecclesiastical property. These confiscations clearly did not prove popular at all to the clergy – and things did not improve when he introduced the Napoleonic Code which included the legalisation of divorce for the first time in Italy. Murat also dealt with education involving engineering, bibliography, professorships and public works.

As Murat became more and more “Neapolitan” and the kingdom was less tied to France, Napoleon continued his project. Murat signed the pact of alliance with Austria after fighting for Napoleon in the last battles of Dresden and Leipzig but was convinced to keep the Neapolitan crown. During March 1815 he invaded the papal state fighting against the Austrian army who had the upper hand. Murat was defeated and the Bourbons returned to the throne. Murat dreamt not only the Kingdom of Naples but Italy – asking the entire population to turn against foreign power to then issue the proclamation of Rimini.
A number of his troops convinced him to organize another expedition to regain control of Naples – leaving Ajaccio in September 1815 – expected to land in Salerno, Napoli.
It is believed that bad weather conditions forced him and the expedition to land at the port of Pizzo – situated on the Calabrian Coast. As one of his battalions landed, they handed him over to the Bourbon Gendarmerie who sentenced him to death for treason. His former allies whom he had deserted campaigned for his arrest in Calabria. The dominant castle of Pizzo was where he was imprisoned and then shot – after his last proud words: «Soldats! Faites votre devoir! Droit au coeur mais épargne le visage. Feu!» “Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face. Fire!”

PALAZZO REALE DI NAPOLI My Country magazine recently highlighted the Royal Palace Palazzo Reale di Napoli. It’s a pleasure to take another visit to the Palace, with the magnificent series of statues and of course its garden – Giardino Pensile (pictured right). The National Library was transferred here by 1925, but was damaged due to WWII bombings and the subsequent military occupation. The external statues dominating the western side of the palace facing Piazza del Plebiscito portray the rulers of the Kingdom of Naples dating from the 10th-century and are positioned in chronological order (see this month’s cover page). The Palace was enriched by Murat and his wife Caroline Bonaparte with rich Neoclassic decor and furnishings during the Napoleonic occupation. It is notable that no statue along the façade of Palazzo Reale refers to the Bourbon reign – not even Carlo di Borbone, engraved as Carlo III – Charles III the King of Spain. During the 17th-century the Garden, originally named “Giardino del Belvedere” was enriched and expanded including a large terrace by the wish of Carlo di Borbone, who arrived to Naples in 1734. Known as the “Giardino Pensile a Palazzo Reale” today, the Garden has recently re-opened to the public following reconstruction works, also offering a fantastic view of the unique Gulf – Golfo di Napoli.


Source ©My Country magazine – March 2020 (pages 8-9)


The Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini recently announced the approval of the directive regarding March 25th as a National Day dedicated to the genial poet Dante Alighieri – entitled Dantedì.
Many events will involve scholars, students, cultural institutions and associations. More than 400 major events and numerous exhibitions are being programmed for next year’s 2021 national celebrations marking 700 years from Dante’s death, dated September 14th.
Minister Dario Franceschini commented that “Dante will be celebrated annually on March 25th – the day recognised as the start of the journey into afterlife as described in the Divine Comedy – Divina Commedia. Dante is the unity of Italy. He represents the Italian language and the very idea of our country

The European Parliament voted in favour of backing the EU Committee draft directive to stop the one-hour clock change in the European Union last March 2019. DST proved unpopular in the EU by a 2018 public survey, with more than 80% of 4.6 million respondents voting to put an end to seasonal clock changes.
Soon after, the European Commission issued a draft directive to permanently scrap DST in the EU by April 1st, 2019 – no joke!
The original draft proposed that the last EU-wide clock change would be setting clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 31, 2019. In the meantime, each Member State should have decided whether to remain permanently on “summer time” or to change their clocks back one final time to permanent standard time on Sunday, October 27, 2019.
However, basing an EU legislative change merely on a popular vote caused several Member States to raise timely concerns. The initial plan proved to be too ambitious as several EU Member States called for more time before putting an end to the practice. The main issue voiced in the draft compromised the proposal that the April 1st 2019 deadline was “too ambitious”.
A number of EU Member States called for more time and impacted assessments to be conducted before putting an end to setting clocks back and forth for Daylight Saving Time (DST). In the compromise, this deadline has been pushed two
years ahead, to April 1st 2021. The aim is still to end DST by repealing Directive 2000/84/EC.

171, Via Aniello Falcone

The Museum Museo Duca di Martina was originally used as a summer season residence constructed by the King Ferdinando di Borbone in year 1817. The entire complex was renovated and included a casino that now sites the Museum and a coffee house Villa Lucia. The surrounding Park Villa Floridiana was entrusted to the architect Niccolini from 1817 to 1819. Following the death of the Duchessa di Floridia, numerous transformations were made dating from 1826. The Museum Museo della ceramica Duca di Martina in Villa Floridiana was established in 1927 and is considered to display one of the most important and prestigous Italian collections of Decorative Art.
The heirs of the Duca di Martina, who was born in Naples in 1829 donated a personal collection consisting of over seven-thousand objects ranging from porcelain to enamels, maiolica, crystal, glass, coral and bronzes. The first floor holds a collection of Eighteenth-Century European porcelains.
Apart from the vast selection of original ceramic collections, exhibits range from Medieval to Renaissance art, including paintings, furniture, items of worship and personal accessories. Niccolini also designed and reconfigured the English landscape gardens within the Park Villa Floridiana, taking advantage of the natural slopes facing towards the sea and creating unique features such as an open-air theatre, greenhouses, ponds, a temple and a shelter for exotic animals.
The Villa Floridiana was then entrusted to the gardener Dehnhart who elegantly enriched the area by introducing more than 150 different plant species, including oaks, pines, palms, camellias and a ginkgo specimen. Today, the Villa has become an urban park covering over 8 hectares and is popular for all ages.

Archaeological Tours – Percorso Archeologico Admission on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm.
Reservation IS necessary by phone +39 081 / 19936286 – 19936287 or directly from the InfoPoint – situated at the Rione Terra entrance on the right-hand side.
Entrance Fees: Standard € 5.00, Reduced for groups (minimum 15) and ages from 18 to 25 years € 2.50, free of charge for Under 18’s.

Percorso Archeologico Rione Terra, Pozzuoli
2. THE SEA – The Port of Pozzuoli in Roman times with ships and goods on the waves
3. THE ANCIENT CITY – Including excavations allowing the reconstruction of the ancient city as it was
4. THE POZZUOLI FISH MARKET – The market’s ancient origins including Medieval cisterns
5. THE STRATIFICATIONS – The History of Rione Terra, its origins and building structures frequently transformed according to necessities. To be noted – the advanced
Spa’s and the areas Tiepidarium and Frigidarium
6. THE SATURNALIA CELEBRATION – One of the most popular religious celebrations originating from ancient Rome celebrated annually from December 17th to the 23rd to honour Saturn 7. THE GOODS – A typical representation within the original Granaries including suggestive audio effects 8. THE RUINS – An enchanting environment full of important archaeological discoveries including the head of Athena Lemnia and other statues – together with various revealing waste residues
9. THE PISTRINIUM – What may be considered as a bakery revealing how slaves transformed wheat to flour

The ancient fortress overlooking the gulf of Pozzuoli – Rione Terra has been frequently highlighted by My Country magazine – including the first project of guided archaeological tours scheduled from October back in 2015 – strolling down the streets from 2,000 years ago…
ON THE ROAD – The My Country team visited this fantastic project at its beginning a few years ago, during tours then organised on an experimental basis. After booking a visit by e-mail we received the confirmation including date and expected time of arrival. That morning we arrived early to take some photographs before being greeted by our guide called Raffaela. She proved to be not just a simple guide – but a passionate archaeologist. So, what could be better – as she guided us along this fascinating underground route – giving life to taverns and workshops, describing the surroundings and typical daily atmospheres of the ancient Puteoli – commercial and cosmopolitan city of the Roman world – with detailed explanations – enhanced with multimedia audio and visual effects?
The ancient fortress of Rione Terra is situated 33 metres above sea level between Nisida and Baia and was Pozzuoli’s first urban settlement – a Roman town and fishing village overlooking the sea with its acropolis, castrum fortifications, market, residences and religious areas.
In March 1970 the entire population was forced to evacuate the area of Rione Terra – totally abandoned due to major bradyseismic events – to then suffer further structural damage in 1980. Many years followed involving works of redevelopment and restoration regarding both the Cathedral and the fascinating underground archaeological route dating from the Roman era – that was finally opened to the public in 2014.