The amount of positive news from Italy in 2020 is often drowned out by a sea of negative headlines.
By Andy Devane
Some in Italy will deny 2020 was a bad year, but looking back horribilis dose It is important not to forget the abundance of good and interesting news that is too often buried by doom and gloom.
This welcome light window was snatched by Wanted in Rome where we always prefer to see the glass half full. Here are some of the positives that have happened in Italy during 2020.
Important restoration projects continue at the country’s museums and archaeological sites, whose extended closures provide the opportunity to carry out important work without visitor distraction.
It was a busy year for the archaeological park to be in Pompeii which reopened several buildings after restoration, incl House of Lovers and House of the Orchard, along with the discovery a ‘monopolist’ and the skeletal remains of two very well preserved men, believed to be a master and slave, perpetuated by molten lava nearly 2,000 years ago.
One of the most significant restorations to be completed is Augustus Mausoleum which has been abandoned for decades. It will finally reopen to the public on March 1 and will remain free for residents of Rome for 2021.
Rome also restored a new section of Trajan’s Forum, at Via Alessandrina, at the completion of excavations funded by the Republic of Azerbaijan with € 1 million and led to the excavation of a marble head depicting Dionysus and Augustus.
Parco Archeologico del Colosseo undertook work to restore and strengthen many sites including the Temple of Vesta and the House of the Vestal Virgin, the base of Trajan’s Column, Arch of Titus, Domus Tiberiana, Horti Farnesiani and inside the Colosseum itself.
Three days before Christmas, the Italian Ministry of Culture announced an ambitious plan to build a new floor above the Colosseum arena, while Parco Colosseo is the director Alfonsina Russo was told Wanted in Rome restoration on the Arch of Septimius Severus will begin in the coming weeks.
Although tested to its limits, the Italian art sector fought back against obstacles, adapting as much as possible to the almost impossible rules.
Rome’s opera house, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, holds an outdoor production at Circus Maximus during the summer and since then – along with many others in the performing arts including S. Cecilia Academy – embracing all things virtual and moving online.
Two of the world’s largest exhibitions this year opened in Rome: a lavish tribute to the High Renaissance master Raphael on the 500th anniversary of his death, and a collection of Torlonia Marbles that hasn’t been seen in 70 years.
That Torlonia Marbles Show managed to stay open for a few weeks in the fall, with curious Romans heading straight to see the revered collection before returning hidden again, for the time being.
There are some wonderful surprises. Roman archaeologists uncovered the remains of a magnificent Roman villa, or domus, buried for nearly two thousand years under apartment blocks at the foot of the Aventine Hills.
Then there was the discovery of a Roman mosaic floor, in clean condition, under the vineyard near Verona in northern Italy. The find comes after decades of searching for the remains of a long lost Roman villa outside the town of Negrar in Valpolicella.
Archaeologists are both excited and confused by the vast discovery rock pool, dating from the fourth century BC, was discovered during a building project between Rome and Ostia Antica.
2020 is an anniversary year in Italy. We celebrate 100 years of the director’s birth Federico Fellini, many of his neorealist films were filmed on the streets of the capital.
It’s been 100 years since the birth of the Roman comic actor Alberto Sordi, a man who made his country laugh a million times.
Italy has also celebrated a century since its birth Gianni Rodari whose books bring joy to generations of children in Italy and around the world.
Then there’s the 600th anniversary Domes of Brunelleschi in Florence; 300th anniversary of the birth of master etcher Piranesi and the oldest bar in Italy, Florian coffee; and 200 years since the Romantic poet John Keats set foot in Italy.
The 10th anniversary of Rome’s 21st Century Art Museum, or MAXXI, indicated by the new Italian postage stamps and planning to open it new museum in L’Aquila, the earthquake-ravaged capital of Abruzzo, in 2021.
Italy has lost several great players over the past year, including composers Ennio Morricone and Ezio Bosso, actor Proietti’s teeth, and a football legend Paolo Rossi, whose legacy is remembered by the Italians.
There are some very significant projects in Italy in 2020. The northern seaport of Genoa is witnessing a major completion new bridge, designed by Genoese architect Renzo Piano to replace the Ponte Morandi that collapsed in 2018 which resulted in 43 fatalities.
In the capital, the biggest breakthrough was the much delayed tunnel Metro C. Subway finally reached Piazza Venezia, after fear that the underground passage of the three cities would not be further from the Colosseum.
But the biggest project of them all is Moss flood barrier in Venice which has been activated, has succeeded, several times since the summer.
This is a real game changer for the canal city but there are still some difficulties to solve, such as agreeing on which water level the barrier has to swing to operate. In addition, he drew a line under a project long overshadowed by delays and corruption scandals.
Union of countries
In October there was much excitement among United Nations agencies in Rome when the World Food Program won Nobel Peace Prize “as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” Another major UN agency based in Rome, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), celebrated it 75th birthday.
In a year when entertainment was lacking, actors Tom Cruise dashing through Rome in a yellow Fiat 500, filming car chases Mission: Impossible 7 in the Spanish Steps and along the back street of Monti.
The Hollywood A-lister added a bit of excitement to the capital this fall as well as injecting an estimated € 18 million into the city’s battered economy.
In a referendum in September, more than 70 percent of Italians voted to cut the size of the country’s parliament and senate, reducing the total number of MPs and senators from 945 to 600.
Then, just at Christmas time, Sicily welcomed the return of 18 fishermen who had been held captive in Libya for more than 100 days.
This article is published in the January 2021 online issue of Wanted in Rome.